STEPHEN KARGANOVIC (STEFAN KARGANOVIC), DENIER OF GENOCIDE IN SREBRENICA
Updated: October 17, 2008.
PHOTO: Srebrenica genocide mass grave at Pilica farm, twenty feet deep and a hundred feet long, was excavated by forensic pathologists in 1996. Photo by Gilles Peress (from The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar [Scalo Books, 1998]). At least 8,372 men, children and elderly were summarily executed and dumped into mass graves during 1995 genocide in Srebrenica. In a U.N. assisted ethnic cleansing, at least 20,000 women were forcibly expelled from the enclave. As the ICTY Judges found, the decision not to kill all women and children may be explained by the Bosnian Serbs’ sensitivity to public opinion.
(Estimated reading time: 15 minutes)
1. Seeking help to deny genocide in Srebrenica
2. Response to Stefan Karganovic, denier of genocide in Srebrenica
3. Generating media attention to deny genocide in Srebrenica
4. Editors’ Pick: Grossly inflated (and UN-discredited) numbers of Serb victims used to deny genocide in Srebrenica
1. Seeking help to deny genocide in Srebrenica
Karganovic is a man of many ‘talents,’ but he is not a lawyer. He is currently in the Netherlands, working as an “interpreter” for the defence of a convicted Serbian war criminal Momcilo Krajisnik at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Previously, he worked as an interpreter for the Salvation Army in Seattle, WA.
Recently, he tried to pass himself as a person with credibility. He told B92 journalists that the Bosniak victims cannot be denied, but that he wants to talk about “the story of the Serb victims during the war in the Srebrenica area between 1992 and 1995.” He added that “the NGO’s goal is to uncover the truth of what happened during the war in the various municipalities of the Srebrenica region.” He even announced legal action against the UN and the Netherlands.
And then we received an E-mail from krajisnikcase@*****.com, signed by Stefan Karganovic himself, asking for assistance to “investigate the allegations of genocide against Moslem prisoners and correct the record on that score.” Note that he used the term “allegations” when he referred to the Srebrenica genocide. According to Google, his e-mail seems to be associated with Darko Trifunovic, another Srebrenica genocide denier who is also involved with the Krajisnik case. Here is a full copy of Stefan Karganovic’s e-mail sent to us:
I am the head of an NGO based in Den Haag, the Netherlands. Our mission is to collect information about the events surrounding Srebrenica in July 1995, as well as the background of those events, but with a focus on crimes committed against Serb civilians by Moslem forces from the enclave. Our parallel task is to investigate the allegations of genocide against Moslem prisoners and correct the record on that score. In that connection, I am very interested in locating Mr. Carlos Martins Branco, a Portuguese UN official who was in Bosnia at the time, and who has written about these events. I believe that he has valuable first hand information to offer and I would like to interview him. I see that you have published a letter by him on your website. Would you be so kind as to give me his contact information if you have it, or ask him to contact me by giving him my email?
Thank you very much.
President Srebrenica Historical Project
Den Haag, The Netherlands
Telephone: + 31 64 878 **** (Four digits edited for privacy reasons)
2. Response to Stefan Karganovic, denier of genocide in Srebrenica:
We’ve never published any letters from discredited Srebrenica genocide denier Carlos Martins Branco nor we are interested in his opinions. First of all, opinions are cheap, everybody has them. Srebrenica genocide is not a matter of anybody’s opinion; it’s a fact first recognized by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and subsequently by the International Court of Justice.
Srebrenica genocide is an undeniable truth and a historical fact that claimed lives of at least 8,372 men, children, and elderly Bosniaks.
Second of all, you should check your facts straight before you knock on the wrong door and solicit people to assist you in denying Srebrenica genocide. Next time you decide to send solicitation E-mails to unknown addresses, just pause for a moment and look yourself in the mirror. What you will see is an individual who has reduced himself to a Srebrenica genocide denier.
Goodbye and do not contact us again,
3. Seeking media attention to Deny Genocide in Srebrenica
Recently, Stefan Karganovic organized revisionist Srebrenica genocide ‘symphosium’ in Banja Luka. He conveniently dubbed it as the so called “International Symposium About Suffering of the Serbs in Srebrenica.” At this ‘symphosium,’ Karganovic said that he would file a lawsuit against the Netherlands, because Dutchbat (Dutch batallion) troops failed to protect Serbs in Srebrenica. What Karganovic does not understand is the fact that Bosnian Serbs were not even located in Srebrenica, but in the surrounding villages which they conveniently used as military bases to stage attacks against the besieged Bosniak population of the enclave. Nonethless to say that many of these “Serb-held villages” around Srebrenica were ethnically cleansed Bosniak Muslim villages. Dutchbat troops were under the U.N. command and in charge of defending Srebrenica from the Bosnian Serb attacks. Unfortunately, Srebrenica was never safe, because the Serb Army never demilitarized around the enclave even they were required to do so.
One might wonder, what’s the point of Karganovic’s lawsuit against the Dutch state? For example, he knows that Bosniak survivors of genocide recently lost their lawsuit against the Netherlands due to diplomatic immunity enjoyed by the United Nations. Serbs don’t even have any case to begin with, since they had not suffered genocide at Srebrenica, but their Army sure did commit genocide against the Bosniak population of the U.N.-designated “safe area.” But, Karganovic speculates he has nothing to lose. At least, the lawsuit will give him something that he badly needs, namely a better exposure to the mainstream media so he could gain some ‘legitimacy’ promoting innacurate and grossly inflated numbers of Serb casualties around Srebrenica, the same numbers doctored and published by his associate Srebrenica genocide denier – Milivoje Ivanisevic (aka: Milivoj Ivanisevic). Continue reading below….
4. Grossly inflated (and UN-discredited) numbers of Serb victims used to deny genocide in Srebrenica
In order to justify Srebrenica genocide, Serbian right-wing nationalist and a prominent Srebrenice genocide denier – Milivoje Ivanisevic – claimed that more than 3,000 Serb civilians were murdered around Srebrenica. What are the facts?
Florence Hartmann, Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague, made the following statement. Asked to comment on the different number of Serb victims in the Srebrenica region published in Belgrade, Hartmann replied that:
“First of all, the OTP is always very careful in the use of the word ‘victim’. Military or Police casualties from combat should not be considered victims in a criminal investigation context, in the same way people are victims from war crimes, such as summary executions. Before speaking about the whole area of Podrinja, including at least the municipalities of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica and Skelani, I would comment on the various figures circulating around the Kravica attack of January 1993. The figures circulating of hundreds of victims or claiming that all 353 inhabitants were “virtually completely destroyed” do not reflect the reality…. For the whole region, i.e the municipalities of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica and Skelani, the Serb authorities claimed previously that about 1400 people were killed due to attacks committed by the B&H Army forces for the period of May 1992 to March 1995, when Srebrenica was under the control of Naser Oric. Now the figure has become 3,500 Serbs killed. This figure may have been inflated. Taking the term “victims” as defined previously, these figures just does not reflect the reality.” (source: ICTY Press Release)
In a “Myth of Bratunac: Blatant Numbers Game” the internationally evaluated findings by the Research and Documentation Center examined Ivanisevic’s claims and concluded the following:
“The allegations that Serb casualties in Bratunac, between April 1992 and December 1995 amount to over three thousand is an evident falsification of facts. The RDC research of the actual number of Serb victims in Bratunac [just outside of Srebrenica] has been the most extensive carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina and proves that the overall number of victims is three to nine times smaller than indicated by Serbia and Montenegro. Perhaps the clearest illustration of gross exaggeration is that of Kravica, a Serb village near Bratunac attacked by the Bosnian Army on the morning of Orthodox Christmas, January 7, 1993 . The allegations that the attack resulted in hundreds of civilian victims have been shown to be false. Insight into the original documentation of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) clearly shows that in fact military victims highly outnumber the civilian ones. The document entitled ‘Warpath of the Bratunac brigade’, puts the military victims at 35 killed and 36 wounded; the number of civilian victims of the attack is eleven…” [source: Research and Documentation Center]
Serbian Human Rights Watch’s made similar conclussions , quote:
“The ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party launched an aggressive campaign to prove that Muslims had committed crimes against thousands of Serbs in the area. The campaign was intended to diminish the significance of the July 1995 crime, and many in Serbia were willing to accept that version of history. But as the Oric judgment makes clear, the facts do not support the equivalence thesis. Take the events in the village of Kravica, on the Serb Orthodox Christmas on January 7, 1993, for example. The alleged killing of scores of Serbs and destruction of their houses in the village is frequently cited in Serbia as the key example of the heinous crimes committed by the Muslim forces around Srebrenica. In fact, the Oric judgment confirms that there were Bosnian Serb military forces present in the village at the time of attack. In 1998, the wartime New York Times correspondent Chuck Sudetic wrote in his book on Srebrenica that, of forty-five Serbs who died in the Kravica attack, thirty-five were soldiers. Original Bosnian Serb army documents, according to the ICTY prosecutor and the Sarajevo-based Center for Research and Documentation of War Crimes, also indicate that thirty-five soldiers died. The critics also invoke unreliable statistics. A spokesman for the ruling Democratic Party of Serbia in the wake of the Oric judgment, for example, claimed that “we have documents showing that 3,260 people were found dead around Srebrenica from 1992-1995.”
However, the book Hronike nasih grobalja (Chronicles of Our Graveyards) by the Serb historian Milivoje Ivanisevic (the president of the Belgrade ‘Centre for Investigating Crimes Committed against the Serbian People’), uses the significantly lower figure, of “more than 1,000 persons [who] died,” and contains the list, mostly made of men of military age. Among those killed, there were evidently a significant number of Bosnian Serb soldiers who died in the fighting, like in Kravica.” [source: HRW in Serbia]