October 5, 2008

People Behind Dutchbat Srebrenica Genocide Denial Project: Marco Van Hees and Alexandar Gavrilovic. Plus, Two New Srebrenica Genocide Denial NGOs: Serbian Investigation Society and Historical Project Srebrenica.

PHOTO: Meet two Srebrenica genocide denial activists:
Aleksandar Gavrilovic (left) and Marco Van Hees (right).

Marco Van Hees (34), a former Dutch peacekeeper who was stationed in Srebrenica in 1995, is the driving force behind the recent Srebrenica genocide denial activism. He runs Dutchbat III web site used to twist facts and recruit like-minded activists to join him in his genocide denial evangelism [update: Dutchbat III veterans have condemned Marco Van Hees’s Srebrenica genocide denial activism, read here]. As a Serbian war crimes apologist, Van Hees disagrees with what he calls “the version of events imposed by the Western mainstream media.” His mother is reportedly of Serbian ethnic origin, while his father is Dutch – although we could not confirm this independently.

Recently, Marco Van Hees and 15 former Dutchbat members met with the Belgrade-based Srebrenica genocide denier, Milivoje Ivanisevic, and offered to testify on behalf of Radovan Karadzic – former Bosnian Serb leader who publicly wowed to destroy the Bosnian Muslims from the face of Earth. Activist Dutch veterans, led by Van Hees, told Ivanisevic they had to “protect themselves from the Muslims, rather than protect Muslims from the Serbs” in Srebrenica. What they failed to mention is that Serb soldiers wore Dutch helmets and disguised themselves as UN peacekeepers to trick Bosniak men and boys of Srebrenica into surrendering. Then, they killed them.

His Dutch friend of Serbian orgin, Alexandar Gavrilovic (22), recently formed the so called Serbian Investigation Society in Tilburg, Netherlands. According to Serbia’s daily Vecernje Novosti, Gavrilovic’s parents – originally from Cacak, Serbia – came to the Netherlands 25 years ago. The Serbian Investigation Society is NGO active in translating Milivoje Ivanisevic’s genocide denial material and distributing it in the Netherlands.

“My main mission is for the people to learn the truth about suffering of Serbs, not only in the latest wars, but in the entire 20th century,” Aleksandar Gavrilovic said and added that “For starters, the Society will translate into Dutch the book by Milivoj Ivanisevic, Director of the Center for Research of the crimes against the Serb nation, ‘Srebrenica, July 1995, In Search for the Truth.'”

Their friend, Stefan Karganovic (info), is not by coincidence head of the so called Historical Project Srebrenica (Istorijski Projekat Srebrenica) – another Srebrenica genocide denial NGO located in the Netherlands. He recently announced a lawsuit against the UN and Netherlands because of the alleged “suffering of the Serb population in the UN safe haven.” The Serbs, who never demilitarized around Srebrenica, were not even located inside the U.N. enclave known as ‘Safe Haven’ of Srebrenica. Instead, they were located in ethnically cleansed Muslim villages around Srebrenica. The Serb Army used those villages around the enclave to keep Srebrenica under the brutal siege, frequently preventing humanitarian aid from entering the enclave, as well as bombarding the town and killing its civilians.

Marco Van Hees is more popularly known by his outrageous claims that “no Dutchbat soldier saw or heard of either the killing or raping of the Muslim civilians in Bosnia,” a claim Srebrenica genocide survivors fiercely disagree with (read this book: The United Nations on Srebrenica’s Pillar of Shame: 104 testimonies). The Dutch ‘peacekeepers’ cowardly abandoned the people of Srebrenica in 1995 and left disgusting material behind themselves (see photos of Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica).

In a well scripted Srebrenica genocide denial propaganda, Van Hees twists facts and effectively blames victims for genocide,”There was a lot of crime among the Muslims themselves in Srebrenica… We could see the kind of atrocities Muslims were committing against the Serbs,” – he said to Serbia’s Vecernje Novosti.

Of course, he conveniently fails to mention that Serb-held villages around Srebrenica were military bases from which Serbs launched daily attacks on Srebrenica. Furthermore, in three years of war, Serbs suffered 151 civilian victims around Srebrenica – a figure not even comparable to the crime of genocide their army had committed against the Bosniak population of the enclave. In fact, in 1992 ethnic cleansing campaign, Serb Army attacked Podrinje region in Eastern Bosnia and slaughtered 1000 civilians in that area alone. The campaign forced thousands of Bosniak civilians to find themselves trapped in the enclave of Srebrenica besieged by genocidal Serb forces led by Serb General Ratko Mladic – an indicted war criminal and a fugitive on the run.

According to Marco Van Hees’ twisted mind of genocide denial, “There’s lots of problems with the Muslims”, but “With Serbs there are ‘no problems,’” Dutchbat veteran said to Serbian Vecernje Novosti daily.

Srebrenica genocide resulted in the summary executions of 8,000 Bosniaks, including at last 500 children, and forcible deportations of thousands of women and children. Women would not be spared, but Serbs were sensitive to the public opinion so they opted for forcible deportations instead (read more here) – as concluded by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague.
  1. Anonymous
    October 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Marco van Hees is NOT the owner of http://www.dutchbat3.nl. The man who runs that website is devastated that his name is linked to genocide deniel.
    Marco van Hees is a sad sick dumb dutchman who likes to provocate to get attention. No matter in what way.


  2. Owen
    October 7, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Dutchie, is there any information in the Dutch media about van Hees’s background or about the rest of the group that Ivanisevic claimed were prepared to testify in Karadzic’s defence? How solid is the figure of 15 that has been cited?

    Are there examples of other members of Dutchbat3 speaking out in public in reaction to Ivanisevic’s initiative? Or are former members of Dutchbat3 (1 and 2 as well?) under official instructions not to speak publicly on the subject of Srebrenica?

    Has the Dutch Ministry of Defence made any comment concerning van Hees’s involvement with Ivanisevic?

    Sorry to ask all these questions but it is difficult to now what the Dutch-language media are reporting.

  3. Anonymous
    October 8, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Well, that’s just like your opinion, man.

  4. Anonymous
    October 8, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Marco van Hees is a bloody shame!

  5. Anonymous
    October 8, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Marco van Hees is a pathetic loser, who wasn’t even around when it all happened.

  6. Anonymous
    October 8, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    this boysoldier was during the srebrenica slaughter already back home fromarmyduty back in the netherlands, so he is lying to say he was there at that specific time and there are many witnesses for more information go to geenstijl.nl and google translate what they say there!.
    greetings to all people overthere except pattriottic extremists.k from holland.

  7. Anonymous
  8. Anonymous
    October 8, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Start looking over your shoulder marco …
    The Dutch 13th bataljon does not like you very much

  9. peter
    October 10, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    There is nothing written about van Hees background in the dutch press.The dutch media just shouted that ex dutchbatt3 members would testify.All the members of Dutchbat3 i have spoken to are taking far distance form the words of that pathetic lier.
    He tried to get some db3 members to testify via the website. He was thrown of the website, so probably this is his revange by telling he is the owner of that website. It was prime time news for a day or two. Nobody did know who that man was and the dutch media is now chasing on him. Everybody fell over DB3 again.Some of them were invited in talkshows, but it was quickly clear that it was a one person action.
    There are no instructions from official institutes to speak about Srebrenica. You can tell what you want here.

  10. Owen
    October 10, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Thanks very much, Peter. It’s starting to sound as though this may a bit of a stunt concocted between Milivoje Ivanisevic, van Hees and Gavrilovic.

    But it’s puzzling. Ivanisevic is putting himself across as an “adviser” to Karadzic’s defence. If the story of 15 DB3 members prepared to testify doesn’t stand up at least until the trial is under way Ivanisevic is going to be left with a lot of egg on his chin.

    He’s had a lot of success disseminating his propaganda about the number of Serb civilian deaths around Srebrenica, but that seems to have worked on what you might call a “viral” basis. With this venture he must have been aware that a group of 15 couldn’t remain anonymous for long, so the story was bound to be put publicly to the test sooner rather than later.

    So the question is, what is he up to? Dan, you’ve tried to follow Ivanisevic and his tricks. Do you have any idea why he’s built an apparent house of cards?

    Perhaps Ivanisevic has done us all a service in provoking this reaction from Mr Thijsen and the Dutchbat Reunion Association and other individuals.

    Peter, I hope you understand when you read my fairly brutal comments about Dutchbat at this blog that I’m not holding forth out of any sense of moral superiority. The eyewitnesses tell how some of the Dutchbat soldiers cooperated with the Bosnian Serb Army. But some reported what was going on to their officers and took photographs. And others seem to have been simply overwhelmed by a terrible tsunami. I’m not entitled to pass comment on those individuals from my armchair.

    Nevertheless the basic issue remains. The genocide took place. As long as the Dutch government and the UN continue to hide between immunity and untruth, what Dutchbat did or didn’t do to intervene will remain at the heart of the issue, above all as far as the relatives of the refugees told to leave the base are concerned.

    People who rely on second-hand evidence will almost inevitably at some stage get something wrong. As far as I can I try to rely on what I have heard from people that I trust. If we are to have any hope of the Genocide Convention eventually having real preventive force we have to pursue the issue of accountability for the genocide at Srebrenica with determination. If in the process I mistakenly say something that unfairly maligns any individuals, I hope I’ll be corrected.

  11. Daniel
    October 11, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    I just don’t believe Milivoje Ivanisevic’s claims that he met with 15 Dutch soldiers, so most likely he just quoted poll results from Dutchbat3.nl and Vecernje Novosti used it for propaganda purposes. If 15 Dutch soldiers came to visit Milivoje Ivanisevic, then why Ivanisevic hasn’t provided photo proof? It is obvious that Marco Van Hees and Milivoje Ivanisevic engaged in a major Srebrenica genocide denial campaign and no surprise – they used distortions, untruths, and manipulations.

    Remember: radical Serbian ultra-nationalists control Vecernje Novosti daily.

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