Letter to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
CARL SAVICH IS GENOCIDE DENIER AND UNRELIABLE SOURCE FOR THE HOLOCAUST RESEARCH
Robert H. Bruininks, President
University of Minnesota
202 Morrill Hall
100 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
University of Minnesota
100 Nolte Center West
315 Pillsbury Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Esteemed President Bruininks and Faculty and Staff members at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies:
The Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB), an umbrella organization representing American and Canadian Bosniaks, is appalled that an esteemed institution such as the University of Minnesota has published Serbian propaganda on its web page.
Please refer to the web address: www.chgs.umn.edu/museum/memorials/bosnia/ where the topic of Holocaust and the recent genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina are viewed from a single and unfortunately extremely biased source – that of one Carl Savich. Moreover, the references he makes to serbianna.net reveal just what an ultra-nationalist Savich is.1
Instead of relying on the abundance of material and research done by highly respected international / US historians and academics such as Dr. Noel Malcolm, Dr. Marko Attila Hoare, Dr. Ivo Banac, Michael A. Sells, Dr. Robert J. Donia, Dr. John V. A. Fine to mention just a few, your institution chose to promote the personal agenda of the obscure and biased Savich who does not even list genuine verified historical evidence and even goes so far to add falsehood to his claims stating that the “Entire Jewish and Serbian communities in the Sarajevo region were destroyed.” As post-war Yugoslav censuses have already proven, this was not the case and the Jewish-Bosnian community remained in Sarajevo where it coexisted and prospered with all others for the previous 500 years – until the most recent 1992 brutal aggression on Bosnia forced Jews and Bosnian Muslims to flee as refugees which resulted in a sharp decline in numbers.
Bosnian historians and academics such as the late Dr. Muhamed Hadzijahic, Dr. Atif Purivatra, Dr. Branko Djurdjev, and Valdimir Dedijer studied the topic of the Holocaust within the wider context of WWII and Balkan wars. In more recent times Nihad Halilbegovic, Dr. Paul Cohen, and Dr. Smail Cengic wrote extensively on Holocaust in Bosnia and all its often unknown and denied victims. In particular, very thorough research from the Nazi archives presented in the following books Zijo Sulejmanpasic “13. SS Handzar Division: the truth and lies”; George Lepre “Himmler’s Bosnian Division” Rolf Michaelis “Gebirgsdivisionen der Waffen-SS”. These are all available today in English.
The French town Villefrance-de-Rouergue has honored Bosnian soldiers every year on September 17th as anti-fascists for the past 6 decades.
Furthermore, Savich deliberately skates over the fact that in October 1942, in the midst of Nazi-occupied Europe and alone on the Balkans, thousands of Bosnian Muslims signed a petition, submitted to Croatia’s Nazi regime requesting legal and physical protection for their Jewish and Roma neighbors. Therefore individuals mentioned in Savich’s quotes and on the UoM web page are rather the exceptions than the rule for Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims). In fact, many Bosniak Muslims hid their numerous Jewish neighbors and their most prized treasures, causing many of these valiant Muslims to become persecuted themselves – by Croatian Nazi and Serb Communist regimes alike. The example of Dervis Korkut’s family is only one such among many.1
What Carl Savich and Bosnia genocide deniers all have in common is a desire to re-frame Serbian war crimes as heroic acts while demonizing the Muslim inhabitants of the Balkans, “thereby countering the perceived brainwashing of the human race by imperialist propaganda” as Savich likes to call US media. Please refer to the attached articles from Serbianna.net web site. Such a radical position as that has no place in an institution of higher learning. Furthermore, members of Carl Savich’s circle often seem genuinely unable to distinguish between the recent Balkan wars and World War II and for this reason, more than any other part of the world, the former Yugoslav federal state of Bosnia-Herzegovina is portrayed as the place of “civil war” and “ancient hatreds” instead of “bridge between the cultures” as Bosnians themselves call it.
It is terrifying to read the claim quoted on Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies page that temples of faith and compassions, “the churches, the cathedrals, the mosques, and the synagogues are the remaining symbols of this battle and conflict between cultures and empires.” For Bosnians these institutions have always been a place for interfaith dialogue, ancient wisdom and learning and any hate preached from the pulpit was brought from the outside, not conceived by Bosnians.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has already become a moral battlefield, a “world war” if you like, “in terms of the focus, money, alliances formed (Russia, Serbia, and Greece against the West) and alliances discredited (such as NATO, the OSCE, the European Community, and the UN).”
Please do no allow the name and the history of the Bosnian people to become victimized by Serbian propaganda via so called “Holocaust education.” The denial of the genocide against Bosniaks puts the credibility of the entire University of Minnesota at stake and we as the representatives of Bosnian Diaspora in North America must protect Bosniak honor from bigotry.
Thank you for your consideration.
On behalf of the CNAB
President of the Board of Directors
Cc: Faculty and Staff at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
1. This is an excerpt from Carl Savitch’s article “U.S. Presidential Election 2008” from November 2, 2008; “Like Obama and Biden, McCain and Palin seek to continue the anti-Serbian, anti-Russian, and anti-Orthodox policies that have characterized U.S. foreign policy since the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992. McCain and Palin seek the expansion of NATO in the Balkans and in the Caucasus. Like Obama and Biden, both seek the military and strategic encirclement of the Russian Federation and both seek to maintain anti-Serbian policies, preventing a resurgence of Serbian “nationalism” and drastically restricting Serbian sovereignty over its own territory. http://www.serbianna.com/columns/savich/105.shtml
2. Sarajevo Haggadah http://povcrystal.blogspot.com/2009/05/sarajevo-haggadah.html
RESPONSE FROM THE CENTER FOR HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDE STUDIES
I apologize for this mistake. I have sent a request to our website team asking them to remove the link to the Carl Savich article and also to remove the reference to Carl Savich in the first paragraph. This should be done either today or tomorrow.
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
University of Minnesota
101 Nolte Center
315 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis MN 55455
Ljiljana Bulatovic-Medic, the author of several ‘books’ celebrating indicted war criminals and denying genocide in Srebrenica, is a Serbian extremist writer and a ‘source’ without any credibility.
PHOTO: You’re looking at a face of Ljiljana Bulatovic, Serbian extremist writer and Srebrenica genocide denier. In May 2005, Ljiljana Bulatovic participated in Milivoje Ivanisevic’s Srebrenica genocide denial “panel discussion” titled “Truth about Srebrenica” at the law school at the University of Belgrade. She said that “there was no genocide in Srebrenica” and that “Karadzic and Mladic are truly heroes of Serbian nation.” She called for graves of Srebrenica genocide victims to be removed from ‘Serbian’ Srebrenica to the Bosniak-Croat Federation entity, because the graves “occupy a very productive part of land which should be used in agricultural production.”
FACT #5: The Serbs never demilitarized around Srebrenica. Instead, Bosnian Serb military and paramilitary troops continued using surrounding Serb villages to launch attacks on Srebrenica and kill trapped civilians. In 1993, for example, 62 Bosniak children were massacred and 152 wounded as a result of a single attack coming from surrounding Serb-held villages. (see: U.N. Report: The Fall of Srebrenica)
Buyer Beware: Here is a short review of “Krici i Opomena,” the latest book written by a radical Serbian ultra-nationalist writer Ljiljana Bulatovic-Medic:
There is a new Srebrenica genocide denial / Srebrenica genocide justification book written by discredited Srebrenica genocide denier Ljiljana Bulatovic (aka: Ljiljana Bulatovic-Medic). The book ‘Screams and the Omen’ (Krici i Opomena) contains depressingly familiar rhetoric of manufactured lies and distortions fabricated by the ultra-nationalist Srebrenica genocide denial factories in Serbia. As respected British historian, Dr Marko Attila Hoare, once noted: “The average MPhil student here at Cambridge would be embarrassed to produce the sort of rubbish churned out by Michael Parenti, Diane Johnstone, Kate Hudson and other ill-informed genocide deniers…“ We agree.
In Ljiljana Bulatovic’s twisted mind, Ratko Mladic is a ‘hero’ and the symbol of everything ‘good’ Serb people have to offer. On the other hand, crimes like Markale market massacres in Sarajevo (see Q/A #12) and Srebrenica genocide are just another examples of ‘western conspiracy’ against ‘courageous’ Serb people. In fact, this is not the first extremist book she published. Ljiljana Bulatovic wrote a number of radical ultra-nationalist books celebrating genocide and Bosnian Serb war criminals.
In 2002, Ljiljana Bulatovic published another book titled “Radovan” (2nd edition). The book follows usual war-crimes apologist agenda and radical ultra-nationalist rhetoric praising the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as being the best among Serbs. Karadzic is currently in prison facing two separate counts of genocide, and other crimes against humanity.
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]
He wasn’t even present during the terrible events of July 1995 but still feels qualified to pronounce about them and is anxious to testify before the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in defence of Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader who publicly vowed to commit genocide by destroying Bosnian Muslims from the face of Earth.
Did Dutchbat troops witness crimes against Bosniaks at Srebrenica?
Recently Marco Van Hees met with Srebrenica genocide denier Milivoje Ivanisevic in Belgrade and informed him that no Dutch soldier had witnessed any crimes committed against the Bosniak (Muslim) population of Srebrenica – a claim easily dismissed by evidence previously offered by Dutch soldiers.
“One of the Dutchbat soldiers, during his brief stay in Zagreb upon return from Serb-held territory, was quoted as telling a member of the press that “hunting season [is] in full swing… it is not only men supposedly belonging to the Bosnian Government who are targeted…women, including pregnant ones, children and old people aren’t spared. Some are shot and wounded, others have had their ears cut off and some women have been raped.”
In another incident recorded in the ICTY’s 260 page-ruling in the case of Prosecutor vs. Krstic, “a Dutch Bat medical orderly came across two Serb soldiers raping a young woman:
“[W]e saw two Serb soldiers, one of them was standing guard and the other one was lying on the girl, with his pants off. And we saw a girl lying on the ground, on some kind of mattress. There was blood on the mattress, even she was covered with blood. She had bruises on her legs. There was even blood coming down her legs. She was in total shock. She went totally crazy.”
Hans Thijsen, now President of Reünieverband Dutchbat 3, the association of Dutchbat 3 veterans who served in Srebrenica in 1995, has angrily condemned former Dutchbat member Marco Van Hees for denying genocide at Srebrenica and also for misrepresenting the Dutchbat III web site in Vecernje Novosti. This is Thijsen’s press release translated into English:
We Got You – Fraud Unveiled!
Dutchbat troops,This week in the Serbian media an interview was conducted with the so-called Dutchbat 3 member who has claimed that he represents 15 Dutchbat troops wanting to testify on Karadzic’s behalf and deny genocide at Srebrenica. He also passes himself off as someone associated with our web site. His name is Marco Van Hees (who served in Dutchbat2 from June 1994 to January 1995). The board of the Reunion Connection for Dutchbat 3 members wish to make it clear that this Marco DOES NOT and MUST NOT speak for us. On behalf of all our members we distance ourselves from this individual and his claims about us, and we will take the necessary steps to prevent any repetition.
Voorzitter reünieverband Dutchbat 3
We would like to thank Hans Thijsen for his heartfelt support. Hans Thijsen appeared in a documentary “Monument to Unresolved Grief” commemorating the tragic events and his emotional visit to Srebrenica 10 years after the genocide. For more information, click here.
Updated Version: July 2nd, 2008.
Rebuttal to James Bissett’s Denial of Srebrenica genocide…
PHOTO CAPTION: James Bissett, Canadian conspiracy theorist and discredited Srebrenica genocide denier. He is a former Canadian ambassador to Belgrade, close friend of a late Serbian dictator Slobodan Miloseivc, and a long time pro-Serbian war crimes apologist…
James Bissett doesn’t seem to realize that Srebrenica genocide is a judicial fact recognized by the two highest U.N. World Courts.Srebrenica genocide is not a matter of his opinion or anybody’s opinion. Opinion is cheap, everybody has it. Srebrenica genocide is a fact.
Many of these so called ‘Serb’ villages were pre-war Muslim villages, from which Muslims were ethnically cleansed. Serbs from surrounding villages blocked humanitarian convoys and bombarded Srebrenica civilians. Furthermore, Serbs around Srebrenica never demilitarized. Instead, Serb military and paramilitary troops continued using surrounding Serb villages as a base for attacks on (and brutal siege of) Srebrenica. The genocide justifiers have consistently ignored the strong VRS (Serb) military presence in Bosnian Serb villages around Srebrenica. For example, the village of Fakovici was used as a military outpost through which Bosnian Serb forces launched massive attacks on Srebrenica civilians.
James Bissett Plagiarizing Other Srebrenica Genocide Denial Sources… Here are some facts about Srebrenica Genocide victims that he doesn’t want to know…
James Bissett uses outdated Red Cross data of 7,079 Bosniak victims of genocide. In fact, on June 5, 2005 Federal Commission for Missing Persons issued a list of the names, parents’ names, dates of birth, and unique citizen’s registration numbers of 8,106 Bosniak Muslim individuals who have been reliably established, from multiple independent sources, to have been killed in and around Srebrenica in the summer of 1995. Here is a copy of this list in PDF format. Two years later, on June 21 2007, the Research and Documentation Center released the results of the three year study compiling the largest database on Bosnian war victims in existence – the Bosnia’s Book of the Dead (covering period 1992-95). An international team of experts evaluated the findings before they were released. The team worked for three years with thousands of sources, collecting 21 facts about each victim, including names, nationality, time and place of birth and death, circumstances of death and other data. The commission established that 8,460 Bosniaks died in Srebrenica.
James Bissett’s Diatribe About Naser Oric and One of Favorite Serbian Propaganda Quotes
James Bissett claims that Naser Oric“proudly displayed to western journalists videos of his forces decapitating Serb civilians.” First of all, those were not Serb civilians, and second of all, Bill Schiller – the Toronto Star journalist who allegedly met Srebrenica defender in 1994 – hadn’t even referred to them as “civilians” in his ’95 Toronto Star story.
As Schiller claimed in 1995, “There were burning houses, dead bodies, severed heads, and people fleeing.” Nothing unusual for a war zone.So we have dead Serb soldiers and severed heads from grenade shrapnels, but no word that many of those so called ‘Serb villages’ were filled with Muslim mass graves; and many of those so called ‘Serb villages’ where in fact villages from which Muslims were ethnically cleansed earlier in 1992? It seems to us that ‘the West,’ and journalists like Schiller, as well as pro-Serbian propagandists such as James Bisset, hoped that the Bosniaks in Srebrenica would sit silent without responding to deadly Serb attacks. So according to this reasoning, Serbs were okay to bombard Srebrenica enclave and cut off humanitarian aid, but Bosniaks were wrong to defend themselves? Naser Oric had every right to attack and recapture those ‘Serb villages,” which were used as a base for attacks on Srebrenica. Schiller failed to focus on a bigger picture, and write a story or two about the human catastrophe facing starving Bosniak population of Srebrenica. Needles to say, in 1992, Serbs expelled Bosniaks from their villages around Srebrenica, and used those villages to set up military bases from which they launched brutal attacks on Srebrenica enclave. It would be beneficial for James Bissett to focus on Serb war criminals, Gen Ratko Mladic and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. They are charged with genocide, and still on the run from justice. But of course, James Bissett doesn’t care about them, because he is one of the most pathetic Srebrenica genocide deniers and pro-Serb oriented war crimes apologists in Canada.
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.
(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.
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?
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.
SHARON A. McCARTER
Director, Outreach & Communications Woodrow Wilson
International Center for ScholarsPhone #: 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.
Dr Noel Malcolm
Fellow of the British Academy;
Senior Research Fellow, All Souls
College, Oxford University
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.
Dr Marko A. Hoare
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
What does the second-largest human rights organization in Europe say about Dr Darko Trifunovic?
OPEN LETTER (ORIGINAL COPY)
Society for Threatened Peoples International (GfbV)
The second-largest human rights organization in Europe
Dr Darko Trifunovic – Serb Nationalist, Supporter of Greater Serbia and Genocide Denier
To all participants of the International Police Congress; the EU Justice ministers and Ministers of Foreign Affairs; EU-, US and Serbian institutions in Serbia and the Republic of Srpska; the Bosnian government and Bosnian institutions
Our human rights organisation wishes to draw your attention to the dubious activities of Dr Darko Trifunovic, of the Faculty of Security Studies of the University of Belgrade.
Dr Trifunovic is a self-proclaimed “expert on Islamist terrorism” in the Balkans. Among other things he claims that Islamist terrorism has deep roots in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country now largely at peace with itself once again but which he maintains is the base of what he refers to as the “White Al-Quaeda”. These claims have been dismissed as frivolous and unsubstantiated not just by Bosnia’s state-level special police agency, the State Information Protection Agency (SIPA), but also by EUFOR (the European Union Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina) and EUPM (the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina). Not surprisingly Trifunovic was recently obliged to withdraw from the 11th European Police Congress in Berlin (29-30 January 2008) which he had been invited to address.
Dr Trifunovic has been guilty of misleading the public on a number of occasions. In a report published in 2002 he accused the wives and mothers of Srebrenica of filing falsified reports about missing relatives and alleged that “less than 100 Muslim soldiers” had been executed at Srebrenica. These observations flew in the face of the finding by the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), subsequently confirmed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), that the killing of over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys by Serb firing squads at Srebrenica in 1995 constituted an act of genocide. To date 2907 victims have been interred in the cemetery at Potocari and more bodies continue to be found.
Since the start of the Yugoslav wars our international human rights organisation has been campaigning on behalf of the victims of expulsion, genocide and other war crimes. We continue to work closely with the Mothers of Srebrenica and other victims’ organisations. We speak for them as well in expressing our outrage at the way international bodies refer to Dr Trifunovic, a man who publicly denies that genocide was perpetrated in Bosnia and undermines efforts to bring about reconciliation and achieve closure for the crimes committed there, as a “security expert”.
Our protest is supported by Lord Paddy Ashdown, former High Representative of the international Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who has remarked to us “I am appalled that Trifunovic is still able to do so much damage”.
Accordingly we urge you to end all contact and co-operation with Dr Trifunovic with immediate effect.
Desk Officer for South-Eastern Europe
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– GfbV International, Press Release (original copy)
Biography of Dr Darko Trifunovic:
1. Dr Darko Trifunovic / Part I. Biography /
2. Dr Darko Trifunovic / Part II. Biography /
3. Dr Darko Trifunovic / Part III. Biography /
4. Dr Darko Trifunovic / Part IV. Biography /