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ALEXANDROS LYKOUREZOS: SREBRENICA GENOCIDE DENIER

May 15, 2008 7 comments
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has invited Srebrenica genocide denier and a close friend of an indicted war criminal to preside over an important public event.

Srebrenica genocide claimed at least 8,106 and up to 10,000 lives – many of them children. Thousands of women were forcibly expelled (ethnically cleansed), while many women were violently raped.

Here we present information about the outraged reactions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere in the world at the decision by the well regarded Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to invite a Srebrenica genocide denier Alexandros Lykourezos to chair an important public event in Athens, Greece. Alexandros Lykourezos a prominent friend and supporter of an indicted war criminal and a mastermind of Srebrenica Genocide – former Serb General Ratko Mladic.

PHOTO CAPTION: Srebrenica genocide denier Alexandros Lykourezos (in white shirt) shakes hands with a mastermind of Srebrenica genocide, his close friend and a former Serb Gen Ratko Mladic. Ratko Mladic is an indicted war criminal and a fugitive from the international justice. Lykourezos’ Greek company web site is located at Lykourezos Law Offices.

VIDEO: Srebrenica genocide denier Alexandros Lykourezos.

I. Model letter sent to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars by numerous concerned Bosnian citizens and a number of international journalists

(For further information and to express support, contact Jasmina Burdzovic Andreas at Jasmina_Burdzovic_Andreas@brown.edu ).

Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing this letter to express both my astonishment and my disappointment concerning your selection of Mr Alexandros Lykourezos as the dinner chair for the presentation of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Athens later this Spring.

Even though Mr Lykourezos’s function here is minimal, it is nevertheless under the auspices of a respected United States governmental institution – The Wilson Center. Thus, it came as a shock to see Mr Lykourezos – a defense lawyer and self-described ‘friend’ of an indicted war criminal, the Serb General Ratko Mladic (1) and a denier of the internationally recognized Srebrenica genocide (2) – being in any capacity affiliated with the Woodrow Wilson Center.

For the sake of international justice and your institution’s reputation, I beg you to reconsider your decision to involve Mr Lykourezos in any of the Center’s activities.

Sincerely

___Your_Name___

Footnotes:

(1) See the New York Times piece on Mr. Lykourezos (4 August 1996: ‘Greek Lawyer Pleased to Defend Bosnian Serb’, by Raymond Bonner), and a similar piece from the Washington Post (7 August 1996: ‘Athens Criminal Lawyer Wants to Defend Mladic’, by Jonathan C. Randal) . Mr. Lykourezos boasted that he would defend General Mladic pro bono, and that he considers him ‘more a friend’ than a potential client.

(2) See the Dutch documentary in which Mr. Lykourezos questions Srebrenica genocide committed by Serb troops under the direction of General Mladic: Op z’n Grieks [The Greek Way], Director : Ingeborg Beugel, IKON, 2002; http://www.ikonrtv.nl/factor/index.asp?oId=402.

II. Letter sent to the WWICS press representative by Takis Michas:

Dear Mrs McCarter

I am Takis Michas, staff journalist of the Greek daily Eleftherotypia and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal Europe. I understand that the Woodrow Wilson Center will be organizing an event on the 15 of May in Athens to honor Mr Bartholomew and Mr Parakevaides. In this event Mr Alexandros Lycourezos will serve as the dinner chair.

While Mr Lycourezos is undoubtedly a prominent lawyer in Athens, he also happens to be one of the most fervent supporters of the late Slobodan Milosevic and the indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic. Througout the war in Bosnia, Mr Lycourezos repeatedly expressed, in interviews in the Greek and international media, his admiration, respect and total support for Mr Mladic as well as the politics of Milosevic. I would like ask you in the context of a journalistic investigation the following:

a) Were you aware of Mr. Lycourezos’s politics when you invited him to serve as the dinner chair in such an important event?

b) Given that Mr Lycourezos has never said that he regretted his past statements in support of Mr Mladic, does your invitation to Mr Lycourezos also imply that the Woodrow Wilson Center endorses the war crimes committed by the Serb fugitive in Srebrenica and elsewhere?

Sincerely

Takis Michas

Response sent to Mr. Michas from WWICS:
Dear Mr. Michas,

Reference your question about the Woodrow Wilson Center Awards and the dinner chairman for the event in Greece: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the living, national memorial to President Wilson.

The Center is a nonpartisan institution of advanced research, supported by public and private funds, engaged in the study of national and world affairs. The Center establishes and maintains a neutral forum for free, open, and informed dialogue on issues that affect our globalized societies.

The Center’s mission is to commemorate the ideals and concerns of Woodrow Wilson by providing a link between the world of ideas and the world of policy, by bringing a broad spectrum of individuals together to discuss important public policy issues, by serving to bridge cultures and viewpoints, and by seeking to find common ground.

The Woodrow Wilson Awards are among the most prestigious given throughout the world and have been given internationally to leaders, entrepreneurs, peacekeepers, and policymakers, to show gratitude for the positive impact their accomplishments have had on our global culture.

As you have mentioned in your email, Mr Lykourezos is ‘undoubtedly a prominent
lawyer in Athens’, with a significant presence in Greek society and in that context he has been asked to chair and support this internationally acknowledged event in honor of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Mr Paraskevaides. We are pleased to have the benefit of his leadership, and both awardees are enthusiastic about his role in this event.

Although we at the WWICS respect any and all opinions, the Center does not endorse any actions against the principles of freedom, justice and democracy.

The Woodrow Wilson Center respects others’ opinions and personal choices, and it does not represent or endorse particular political views. Mr Lykourezos was not asked his political views when he was asked to be a dinner chairman for an event honoring two extraordinary individuals. The Center notes that Mr Lykourezos’s views on the Bosnian crisis of the 1990s are views shared by much of the Greek population and that in fact he has indicated that he had no direct or indirect contact with General Mladic after 1997 or with Slobodan Milosevic after 2000.

Regards,

SHARON A. McCARTER
Director, Outreach & Communications Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars

Phone #: 202.691.4016

III. Letter sent to the WWICS press representative by Noel Malcolm

Dear Ms McCarter,

I have seen a copy of the reply you sent to the prominent Greek journalist Takis Michas, responding to his e-mail about your invitation of Mr Alexandros Lykourezos to your award ceremony on 15 May. I am surprised and disturbed by some of the things you say.

You write that you are ‘pleased to have the benefit of his [Mr Lykourezos’s] leadership’; that you ‘respect any and all opinions’; and at the same time, that ‘the Center does not endorse any actions against the principles of freedom, justice and democracy’.

Mr Lykourezos has publicly stated his warm feelings of personal friendship for a mass murderer, Ratko Mladic (see, for example, the New York Times, 4 August 1996); he has also publicly questioned the reality of the mass murder of 7,000 people which occurred at Srebrenica. That genocide did occur there has been established by an international court of justice. That Mladic was directly responsible for it is something for which the prima facie evidence is overwhelming – evidence which was in the public domain long before Mr Lykourezos expressed his friendly feelings for him in 1996.

Your statement that you respect ‘any and all opinions’ is so general as to defy belief: it is just not credible, for example, that you would respect the opinions of a Holocaust denier, or of a person who expressed admiration for Hitler. You must surely set some limits of acceptability, and it is impossible to see why admiration for Mladic should fall within those limits. Your wording also suggests that you think you can make a neat distinction between ‘opinions’ and ‘actions’; but what is at issue here is Mr Lykourezos’s action of expressing his opinion. Mr Lykourezos’s ‘leadership’, to which you refer, consists of his adoption of a prominent role on public issues, and the issue of Mladic is one of them. When he stood for election to the Greek Parliament, he included a photograph of himself and Mladic in his election materials. Is that really the sort of ‘leadership’ of which the Woodrow Wilson Center is ‘pleased to have the benefit’?

(I note, from your website, that your awards are given to ‘individuals who have shown a special commitment to seeking out informed opinions and thoughtful views’. I find it extraordinary that the award-giving occasion should be chaired by someone who has so conspicuously ignored informed opinions and thoughtful views on a major international issue in the recent past.)

No less troubling is your statement that ‘the Center notes that Mr Lykourezos’ views on the Bosnian crisis of the 1990s are views shared by much of the Greek population’. I do not know whether this is a correct statement where his warm feelings for Ratko Mladic are concerned; but if it is, why do you suppose that the fact that extreme and offensive views are widely shared makes them unobjectionable?

You say that ‘Mr Lykourezos was not asked his political views when he was asked to be a dinner chairman.’ You also say, however, that ‘he has indicated that he had no direct or indirect contact with General Mladic after 1997 or with Slobodan Milosevic after 2000’, which suggests that you did at least make subsequent inquiries. But if you thought it was relevant to make those inquiries, presumably on the grounds that a connection with Mladic could disqualify him from presiding at your ceremony, why do you think that these pieces of chronological information exonerate him? Would it not be more relevant to ask him at what date he publicly retracted, and apologised for, the warm feelings of friendship for Mladic which he expressed in 1996? And if the answer to that question is that he has never retracted or apologised for them, why should the mere fact that he has not recently had contact with Mladic make any difference?

My impression is that you simply did not know the relevant facts about Mr Lykourezos when you invited him to take part in this event, and for that I do not blame you. But you surely know now. It is not too late for you to disinvite him, thereby saving the Woodrow Wilson Center from serious blame, and the damaging of its reputation in the eyes of many scholars and human rights activists around the world – to say nothing of many thousands of ordinary Bosnians, whose grief and suffering Mr Lykourezos has, in effect, so grossly insulted.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Noel Malcolm
Fellow of the British Academy;
Senior Research Fellow, All Souls
College, Oxford University

IV. Letter from Dr Marko Attila Hoare to the WWICS event organizer

From: markohoare@hotmail.com
To: a.costopoulos@foresight.gr
CC: sharon.mccarter@wilsoncenter.org

Re. Alexandros Lykourezos
7 May 2008

Dear Mr Costopoulos,

I am writing to express my shock at the decision of the WWICS to invite Alexandros Lykourezos to chair its awards dinner on 15 May. As you may be aware, Mr Lykourezos has openly spoken of his friendship with Ratko Mladic, a terrorist and war-criminal indicted for genocide by the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Mr Lykourezos has gone on record to deny that the Srebrenica massacre took place, although it has been recognised to have occurred, and to have been an act of genocide, by two international courts – the International Court of Justice and the ICTY. It is highly discrediting to the WWICS to be providing a platform to a friend of terrorism and genocide. I shall be writing to my colleagues among the international community of scholars of the Balkans and of genocide to make them aware of this outrage.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Marko A. Hoare
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Kingston University

THE UNITED NATIONS ON SREBRENICA’S PILLAR OF SHAME

May 5, 2008 10 comments

Need assistance with the purchase of this book?
Then, E-mail srebrenicagenocide@live.com

The United Nations on the Srebrenica’s Pillar of Shame
104 testimonies about the role of the UN in genocide against the population of the UN “Srebrenica Safe Haven”

ISBN:978-9958-802-72-0

Total of 418 pages, available in English (212 pages) and Bosnian (204 pages)
Published in 2007 on the 11th Anniversary of the Genocide Committed Against the Bosniaks of the “UN Safe Zone” of Srebrenica.

The book can be purchased directly from the NGO Association Women of Srebrenica. If you need more information you can contact them at:

Mailing address:
Women of Srebrenica / Zene Srebrenica
Filipa Kljajića 38, 75000 Tuzla
Bosnia-Herzegovina
(EUROPE)

Office Phone #: ++387 (0)35 251 498
E-mail:office@srebrenica.ba

(click photo to see higher resolution image)

(ORIGINAL) FOREWORD FROM THE BOOK:

The book of statements (testimonies) named “The United Nations on the Srebrenica’s Pillar of Shame,” which speaks about responsibility of the international community, is only a bit of what has happened and we have been through in the “UN Srebrenica Safe Haven.” The “Women of Srebrenica” Citizens Association has worked on this project for nearly two years in order to question responsibility of some individuals from the international community, to hand over the book to the Hague Tribunal, and to make possible that responsible individuals be indicted.

The book was handed over to Carla Del Ponte, the Chief Prosecutor at the Tribunal, and yet no individual from the international community was indicted. We met Carla Del Ponte and asked whether she had studied the material and whether she had found any grounds for indictments against individuals who could have prevented genocide in the “UN Srebrenica Safe Haven,” but they would not do it; she responded that there was no grounds for indictments and that is how it all ended.

The fact is that the Association was not optimistic in first place that there would be any indictments, knowing that the Tribunal was founded by the UN, so as the UN itself would have to be indicted, as well as some countries involved in the events in Srebrenica area.

Our gratitude for the book – “The United Nations on the Srebrenica’s Pillar of Shame, 104 testimonies about the role of the UN in genocide against the population of the UN Srebrenica Safe Haven” = goes to the IKV NGO in Netherlands, which has been giving us moral and financial support for a few years.

This collection of the statements made by the 107 witnesses, that is, persons who survived the genocide, is only a tiny bit of what happened there in sigh of the UNPROFOR’s Dutch battalion; the battalion had a mandate to protect the Srebrenica’s population during the war, and yet they turned a blind eye and did nothing to protect the suffering people of the Srebrenica enclave.

The witnesses’ statements were collected between January of 2001 and June of 2002.

This book’s aim is to present the role of the international factors – such as UNPROFOR, UN, NATO, EU, the British SAS, the French Government and Ministry of Defence, and the Dutch Government and Ministry of Defence – in the events that took place in the “UN Srebrenica Safe Haven” during July of 1995.

Each statement has an audio record and a hard copy transcript signed by the witness, and it is altogether kept in the Association’s archive.

Hidajet Kardasevic, who himself survived the genocide and who knows other survivors, lives now in the United States. With cooperation and guidance of the “Women of Srebrenica” Citizens Association, Hidajet interviewed the 104 witnesses.

The collection of the 104 witnesses’ statements confirms responsibility of the international factors. However, the investigations at the Hague Tribunal have not so far addressed the issue of responsibility and guilt of the international factors, either those present in the field and involved in the events or those having direct or indirect influence over the events.

As an appendix to this book, there are the last two screams for help of Nihad Nino Catic, a radio reporter from Srebrenica who reported on a daily basis about an alarming situation in Srebrenica that was getting worse by the minute; he was begging for help for people who died at each step being unarmed, hungry, thirsty, and barefoot.

Listening to Nino’s report form 10 of July 1995, I cannot help it to make another note. Reporting for the BiH Radio, he said that the Chetniks had already entered a Srebrenica suburb, which was correct (I was there myself). However, two hours later, in a 12 o’clock news, the UN observers reported that ‘the situation was calming down.’ It was another lie in a series of thousands that the UN observers reported to their superiors at the UN offices in Sarajevo, Zagreb, New York, and who knows where else.

“Women of Srebrenica”
Citizen Association, Tuzla 2007

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

May 2, 2008 1 comment
Today is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed every year since 1959 by Jewish and other people around the world to never forget the murder of six million Jews in the Second World War.

Holocaust Remembrance Day is a day that has been set aside for remembering the victims of the Holocaust and for reminding the World of what can happen to civilized people when bigotry, hatred and indifference reign.

Please remember Holocaust victims. May their souls rest in peace.

PHOTO: Open air burning of bodies at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
(The largest of Nazi Germany’s concentration camps)