August 1, 2009
Reading time: 5-10 minutes [highly recommended]


Former low-ranking Portuguese UN military observer, Carlos Martins Branco, is a Srebrenica genocide denier whose credibility is nonexistent. In 1998, he published an article, titled “Was Srebrenica a Hoax?,” on two extremist genocide denial web sites – namely Emperor’s Clothes and the Serbian NGO from Toronto, the so called “Centre for Peace in the Balkans.” Since then, his views have been widely cited on web sites that propagate genocide denial, conspiracy theories, extremism, Islamophobia, Bosniakophobia, and ultranationalist Serbian point of view.

Carlos Martins Branco was also a member of a failed distortionist online research group known as the “Srebrenica Research Group” – formed and operated by discredited genocide deniers, notably Ed Herman (aka: Edward S. Herman), and a number of his associates. We will name some of them: Jonathan Rooper, George Szamuely, George Bogdanich, Michael Mandel, Philip Hammond, Tim Fenton, Milan Bulajic, Phillip Corwin, Diana Johnstone, Vera Vratusa, George Pumphrey, Milivoje Ivanisevic, Zoran Stankovic and Srboljub Zivanovic.

Carlos Martins Branco’s Background?

He claims that he was “UNMO Deputy Chief Operations Officers of UNPF (at theatre level)”, which qualifies him for a lower ranking UNMO. In fact, he was a trainee – “at theatre level”, thus far, unqualified to speak on behalf of the United Nations. According to the Selection Standards and Training Guidelines for United Nations Military Observers,

“Upon arrival in-theatre officers are subject to validation testing and additional verification that they meet the requirements as stipulatedin the Notes for Guidance to the mission. Should an officer fail to meet the standards, the Chief Military Observer has theauthority to request immediate repatriation and replacement through the Head of Mission.”

Higher Ranking UNMO Confirms Carlos Martins Branco is a Liar

At the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), a high ranking United Nations Military observer – Colonel Joseph Kigori – testified about events in and around Srebrenica. He confirmed that the Bosnian Army units in Srebrenica were in fact disarmed from heavy artillery weapons. The same could not be said for Serb units around Srebrenica who had constantly and deliberately violated the 1993 demilitarization agreement. Serbs around Srebrenica had never demilitarized. Colonel Joseph Kingori testified there were up to 700 military observers around Srebrenica. It is interesting that one one low ranking (trainee) military observer, Carlos Martins Branco, took upon himself to write discredited genocide denial lies on the internet.

Most interesting parts of Kigori’s testimony came to light when the defence lawyer in a case of Popovic et al. suddenly started questioning Colonel Kingori Carlos Martins Branco. Here is one part of Col. Kigori’s testimony during a cross examination:

Q: Look at the first paragraph, the second — rather, the third sentence: [In English] “I was UNMO deputy chief of operations. Officers of UNPF adhere to level and my information is based upon the briefings of UNMOs who where posted to Srebrenica during those days and some UN reports not to disclose to public opinion.”

A. Yes, I’ve read that.

Q. [Interpretation] Do you recall the person now?

A. Your Honour, that name does not ring a bell at all.

Q. Judging by the sentence we’ve read out, we can conclude that this person also worked as an UNMO, and he specified clearly what his title was. He also specified that he had contacts with military representatives in Srebrenica. One of those was yourself. Did you have any contact with the military observers at this level?

A. Are you — I don’t get what you mean, because if you mean that at the level of the operations officer, chief operations officer at the UNPF, really we were not — we were not operating together, as such, in that we were sending reports from our base in the — in the — in the team to the headquarters through the normal channels. So by the time it got to the headquarters in Zagreb, really, I don’t know who was consuming it. But at least we, at the team level, were just sending the reports — the reports out there. There were very many military observers, so they necessarily may not have known that particular individual. I think, at that time we were 300 or so, if not more, military — I think close to 700 military observers. I’m not very sure, so it’s difficult to know each and every observer.

And then, the defence asked Col. Kigori about a number of other discredited claims that Martins Carlos Branco had made in the past. These claims concerned the Bosnian Army’s (counter)-attacks on militarized Serb villages around Srebrenica, as well as fabricated stories about “heavy casualties amongst the Serbian civilian population.” The United Nations’ already concluded that Serb claims about Bosniak attacks practically amounted to nothing. (See: Grossly Inflated Numbers of Serb ‘Victims’ Around Srebrenica Used to Justify Genocide Against Bosniaks)

In fact, Serbs from heavily militarized villages around Srebrenica had terrorized Srebrenica population and constantly attacked neighbouring Bosnian Muslim villages from 1992-1995 (See: Serb Villages Around Srebrenica). In July 1995 the Bosnian Serb army staged a brutal takeover of Srebrenica and its surrounding area, where they proceeded to perpetrate genocide. Bosnian Serb soldiers separated Bosniak families, forcibly expelled 25,000-30,000 people, summarily executed at least 8,372 boys, men, and elderly, and dumped them into mass graves.

Colonel Kingori confirmed that – contrary to Carlos Martins Branco’s allegations – he had not seen any “heavy casualties” among the Bosnian Serb population around Srebrenica. Here is the testimony:

Q. It is clear that Mr. Branco, who was in Zagreb at the time, learned about these armed attacks on the Serbian villages surrounding the enclave from two sources, the UN military observers in the field and from certain confidential sources, these being the reports of the UN not open to the public. My question is this: Did the UN military observers inform their command in Zagreb about these military attacks of the Muslims in the Srebrenica enclave against the Serb villages surrounding the enclave, causing heavy casualties among the civilians?

A. Your Honour, during my stay there, I never witnessed anything like that.

To be more precise, Col. Kingori stated that other U.N. military observers also did not see anything that could substiantiate Carlos Martins Branco’s exaggerated stories about the Bosniak counter-attacks on militarized Serb villages around Srebrenica.

THE WITNESS: Your Honour, what I meant was not that I did not personally see. What I mean is that during my whole tour, no reports reached us. We did not witness, and we were never – not necessarily me, myself, as a person, but observers – heard anything like that.

We also learn from Col. Kingori’s testimony that Carlos Martins Branco lied when he stated that “Curiously, observers were never allowed to inspect the food reserve deposits.” According to Col. Kingori’s testimony:

Q. Let me draw your attention to the penultimate sentence: [In English] “… observers who were never allowed to inspect the food reserve deposits.” It would seem to follow that a military observer from Zagreb that the UNMOs in Srebrenica had not been allowed to look at or inspect the food reserves in Srebrenica. Is that right?

A. That’s not true.

Q. Was such a report ever sent to the UNMO in Zagreb?

A. It’s not true. We never reported on anything to do with that. And if you look from the beginning of that paragraph, where it says that the military observers to say to the world that the Serbians were using chemical weapons [Editor’s note: Yes, Chemical weapons were used during Srebrenica genocide, click here for background], and that the same gentleman later accused the media. That is a gentleman, I’m taking it to mean “as.” It’s a bit of a distortion in the whole paragraph, because even when we wrote about all that, we said we were told by Mr. Osman Suljic, but we could not verify the information. We could not confirm it. It’s on record we have said that. So even this where he is talking about the humanitarian situation, that we were not allowed to inspect the food reserves, is not correct. We were going to the stores, ourselves, to check the food situation. Also, we were also — we also were getting records from the UNHCR. So we were in constant touch with the situation as it was.

Q. And you also inspected the storage facilities in Srebrenica containing food; is that right, sir?

A. Yes, we were. We were inspecting them. We were going to the stores. We could inspect, and we were even, at times, counting the items, item by item. This is what is
available; this is what is there.

In Conclusion

Low ranking, trainee U.N. military observer (at theatre level), Carlos Martins Branco, has no authority, no experience, no academic background, no factual basis – and certainly, no credibility on which he could base his Srebrenica genocide denial.

With respect to other lies advanced by Caros Martins Branco, it is important to note the fact that, so far, the DNA results of the International Commission on Missing Persons have revealed the identities of 6,186 Srebrenica genocide victims. Furthermore, DNA analysis by the ICMP supports an estimate of 8,100 Srebrenica genocide victims.

Srebrenica genocide is not a matter of anybody’s opinion; it’s a judicial fact recognized by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and subsequenetly by the International Court of Justice. End of story!

Footnote – ICTY Trial Testimony:

  1. Jondja
    August 1, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Dan, thanks for nailing this bastard!

  2. Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor
    August 2, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Thank you. I made some minor grammar/spelling changes.

    Carlos Martins Branco is so irrelevant, I couldn't even find a picture of him on the internet. At the time of his stay in Srebrenica, he was unqualified low-ranking, "trainee," UNMO officer. There were close to 700 military observers in the area and only 1 unqualified trainee officer took upon himself to spread discredited lies and genocide denial.

  3. owen
    August 2, 2009 at 11:51 am

    The anniversary has seen a number of the usual suspects regurgitating outdated material from Ed Herman, Diana Johnstone, and so on – for an example see Ari Rusila's multi-hosted blogging eg at http://arirusila.cafebabel.com/en/post/2009/07/19/Srebrenica-again-Hoax-or-Massacre

    Though Rusila claims that this year he expects that Karadzic's trial will "clarify a bit of this bloody past", but it's not clear why he should take any notice of new evidence when he repeats all the old discredited explanations, mitigrations and denial without refernce to contradictory authoritative evidence widely available in the public domain.

    As long as the likes of Rusila are ready to entertain discredited untruths (1300 Serb civilians massacred around Srebrenica, Bosnian govt attacks on own citizens in Sarajevo – sniping, Markale massacres, Trnopolje a mere transit camp and Fikret Alic's image unrepresentative of conditions, less than 3000 bodies exhumed, including combattants, only a fraction identified, etc., etc.), and as long as the Serb lobby and the friends and supporters of indicted war criminals see a purpose in propagating falsehood, we can expect the likes of Martins Branco, James Rooper, Diana Johnstone and others to continue finding an audience they have never deserved.

    There is a desperate paucity of new arguments to replace the old discredited ones. In the Comments Rusila's riposte falls back on Lewis MacKenzie's time-wasting Globe and Mail article and even Nebojsa Malic's intervention is so lame as to arouse a degree of compassion.

    The one area where something remains to be explained is the matter of politic pressures behind the scenes at the ICTY to which Florence Hartmann has referred. When the apologists quote her on this they invariably ignore her public repudiation of the Ivanisevic propaganda they are so keen to reproduce.

  4. Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor
    August 2, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Ari Rusila has no authority, no credibility, no educational background, and certainly no intelligence to analyze complex topics such as genocide. Furthermore, the report he cited is not a U.N. Report – I am referring to the so called: "Memorandum on war crimes and crimes and genocide in eastern Bosnia (communes of Bratunac, Skelani and Srebrenica) committed against the Serbian population from April 1992 to April 1993."

    The report quoted above is simply a report submitted to the U.N. by the Serbian propaganda machine. I wrote more about that report in the article titled "DISSECTING MILOSEVIC PROPAGANDA," and I invite you all to read it (if you haven't already done so).

    Furthermore, he mistakenly (or deliberately?) linked the above quoted Serbian propaganda report to the real U.N. report titled "Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/35" http://www.un.org/News/ossg/srebrenica.pdf. Is he really that dumb? Of course he is.

    The report he linked to actually refutes most of the Srebrenica genocide denial garbage. I will quote some excerpts from that report:

    "475. Criticisms have also been leveled at the Bosniaks in Srebrenica, among them that they did not fully demilitarize and that they did not do enough to defend the enclave. To a degree, these criticisms appear to be contradictory. Concerning the first criticism, it is right to note that the Bosnian Government had entered into demilitarization agreements with the Bosnian Serbs. They did this with the encouragement of the United Nations. While it is also true that the Bosnian fighters in Srebrenica did not fully demilitarize, they did demilitarize enough for UNPROFOR to issue a press release, on 21 April 1993, saying that the process had been a success. Specific instructions from United Nations Headquarters in New York stated that UNPROFOF should not be too zealous in searching for Bosniak weapons and, later, that the Serbs should withdraw their heavy weapons before the Bosniaks gave up their weapons. The Serbs never did withdraw their heavy weapons."

    — AND —

    "479. A third accusation leveled at the Bosniak defenders of Srebrenica is that they provoked the Serb offensive by attacking out of that safe area. Even though this accusation is often repeated by international sources, there is no credible evidence to support it. Dutchbat personnel on the ground at the time assessed that the few “raids” the Bosniaks mounted out of Srebrenica were of little or no military significance. These raids were often organized in order to gather food, as the Serbs had refused access for humanitarian convoys into the enclave. Even Serb sources approached in the context of this report acknowledged that the Bosniak forces in Srebrenica posed no significant military threat to them. The biggest attack the Bosniaks launched out of Srebrenica during the more than two years which is was designated a safe area appears to have been the raid on the village of Visnjica, on 26 June 1995, in which several houses were burned, up to four Serbs were killed and approximately 100 sheep were stolen. In contrast, the Serbs overran the enclave two weeks later, driving tens of thousands from their homes, and summarily executing thousands of men and boys. The Serbs repeatedly exaggerated the extent of the raids out of Srebrenica as a pretext for the prosecution of a central war aim: to create geographically contiguous and ethnically pure territory along the Drina, while freeing their troops to fight in other parts of the country. The extent to which this pretext was accepted at face value by international actors and observers reflected the prism of “moral equivalency” through which the conflict in Bosnia was viewed by too many for too long."

  5. Sarah Correia
    August 3, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Srebrenica genocide denial is widespread in the portuguese army. I've personally met some portuguese military and it's clear that's what they are taught. I remember one that as a captain worked in Bosnia for 3 years and who even sent me documentation to prove to me that it was impossible that more than 2 thousand had been killed. It's not only within the military, but also within the diplomatic service. As late as 2007, an embassador called José Manuel Arsénio published a book where he treated Mladic as an honorable soldier, said that the men from Srebrenica were killed because the bosnian government had refused to surrender to Mladic, leaving him no alternative, and putting the number of victims below 2 thousand. I've been looking forward to write a post about the portuguese genocide deniers for a long time, but it's something that has to be written carefully and I simply haven't had the time even to write about simpler things. It's good that you wrote this post, Daniel.

  6. owen
    August 19, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Checking the identity of "jesus" above, it's clear that this is a spammer.

  7. Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor
    August 20, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Owen, they are getting more and more creative with spam.

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