Stephan Karganovic, head of Hague-based (Holland) NGO, The Srebrenica Historical Project is upset because the upcoming Belgrade Book Fair has banned him from promoting his and his associates work at the fair. Mirjana Lukic the chief coordinator for this year´s fair explained the decision to ban Karganovic by saying in a written statement that those participating in the fair should refrain from texts actions that: “might offend people on the basis of religion, nationality, personal and all other rights of the citizens” It is that part that has upset Stephan Karganovic who demands in a written statement that was recently published by several Serbian portals that Mirjana Lukic explains herself, since Karganovic could not possibly see what he or his team might have done wrong at the 2012 Belgrade Book Fair.
Well, while Karganovic might be bewildered by Mirjana Lukic´s decision, for those of us that know the history of Stephan Karganovic and The Srebrenica Historical Project, it´s really not that hard to understand why Mirjana Lukic felt that it was inappropriate that he and his NGO had their own booth at the prestigious Belgrade Book Fair.
Prior to his role as the head of The Srebrenica Historical Project Karganovic mostly known at the Hague as a lawyer a translator and a member of convicted war criminal Momcilo Krajisnik´s defense team. Krajisnik was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the ICTY for crimes against huminty, such as: persecution, deportation, and forced transfer. Krajisnik was once a close associate of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. The two men had founded the Bosnian Serb nationalist Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) together.
One could say that Karganovic´s rise to prominence as a the uncrowned king of the Srebrenica genocide denier lobby coincided with that of the president of the Bosnian entity Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik´s shift from a west-indorsed moderate to a hard-line Serb nationalist, separatist and a Srebrenica genocide denier. At a pre-election rally in Srebrenica, the very site of the massacre, Dodik exclaimed in September 2010, “that genocide did not take place here” “We will not accept claims that what happened here was genocide, because it was not,” Dodik told the mostly Serb crowd in Srebrenica.
In 2011 he announced that he would be setting up a fund in order to help those Bosnian Serbs that were on trial at the ICTY including Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. He also complimented Karadzic, saying he (Karadzic) ”made mistakes, but should be credited for establishing Republika Srpska. RS was founded because of his courage.” it´s worth adding that both Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are today on trial for crimes commited in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war of aggression on the country. Both men are facing charges of crimes against humanity and genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Staying true to his form the last few years, Dodik has countiniued to be an outspoken genocide denier most recently, in September of 2012 during an election rally for his party SNSD in yet again in Srebrenica, he stood at the podium and said that he did not believe that what had happened in the very town that he was in, was in fact genocide. In the very same town there 13 years prior Ratko Mladic had stood and proclaimed in front a TV-camera to the world that: “We give this town to the Serb people as a gift, the time has come to take revenge on the Turks in this region”
Ratko Mladic and the Bosnian Serb Army, police and other security forces then proceeded to execute some 8000 Bosniaks ( Bosnian Muslims) of the region, in what was the single biggest massacre on European soil since the Second World War.
Dodik´s ties to Karganovic and his outfit have been known for a long time in Bosnia, but it was in July 2012 that United States Holocaust Memorial Museum ( USHMM) and their Mladic Files published a story about what was for some a revelation and for others common knowledge. Under the title : Wages of Genocide Denial, USHMM showed that Srebrenica Historical Project was engaged in genocide denial and that it had over the course of five years received over 1 million dollars from the government of Republika Srpska:
It turns out that genocide denial has a price tag — and a hefty one at that. Financial records from the Bosnian Serb entity known as Republika Srpska reveal that a Hague-based group of pseudo-experts that calls itself the ”Srebrenica Historical Project” has received more than $1 million from the cash-strapped mini-state over the past five years. Question, and in many cases deny, basic historical facts concerning massacres carried out by Bosnian Serb forces under the command of General Ratko Mladic in July 1995.
An exhaustive international investigation of the Srebrenica events, involving teams of forensic pathologists, DNA specialists, demographic experts, and detectives has established that Bosnian Serb forces murdered around 7,000 Muslim prisoners in a series of massacres between July 12 and July 16, 1995. A further 1,000 or so Muslim men and boys were killed as a result of ambushes and armed clashes as they tried to reach Muslim-controlled territory north of Srebrenica.
What is most alarming about the Srebrenica Historical Project is not that there are people out there claiming that black is white, but that the denial industry is being financed by the Bosnian Serb authorities. A rough analogy might be the German government and parliament voting every year to fund the research of David Irving and other revisionist Holocaust historians.
While I certainly don´t want to deny any rights to Karganovic and rest of the Srebenica genocide denial lobby, nor do I deny them the right to a continued pursuit to spread falsehoods and misrepresentations about the genocide in Srebrenica. However if one were to speculate as to why Mirjana Lukic felt that Stephan Karganovic presence at the Belgrade Book Fair was inappropriate and offensive. Well one might come to the conclusion that it´s precisely because he and rest of the creepy-crawlies of the genocide denial lobby have via various Serb nationalist sites, anonymous websites, anti-Muslim blogs etc, engaged in well, spreading lies, historical revisionism, and trying to shift the blame on what happened in Srebrenica on the victims.
In short, Karganovic and his colleagues have spent a great deal of time and in the case of The Srebrenica Historical Project tax-payers money in trying to spread falsehoods about the genocide in Srebenica. The most offensive part being the fact that money that should be going into education, construction, building roads, clean water etc, is being spent on insulting the victims and survivors and returnees who themselves are by their role as tax-payers in the entity unwillingly contributing to that denial and that the denial is being endorsed by Milorad Dodik, the president of the entity.
There is of course, more to be said about Karganovic, and it has been said in the past. By USHMM, by the authorative Srebrenica Genocide Blog, a site dedicated to disabusing Srebrenica genocide deniers. A few years back they did a thorough dissection of Karganovic´s methods and his listed his shady anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim friends and fellow travellers. What we are seeing now is of course a direct result of Karganovic´s actions. It´ss not really surprising, people like Karganovic, like Robert Faurisson, and like David Irving have a specific audience. It is when their methods are exposed in the cold light of day, that we really see what they are all about. Karganovic has in his efforts to re-write history finally reached the the level of infamy that Faurisson and Irving reached. One could argue that Karganovic, like Ed Hermann and David Peterson have become Milosevic´s Karadzic´s and Mladic´s very own Faurissson and Irving.
As I wrote in the last paragraph, Srebrenica Genocide Blog wrote a thorough dissection of Karganovic´s methods a few years back. It can be accessed here.
In june this year I wrote a comprehensive article about Bosnian genocide denial where I tried to show Karaganovic´s and other deniers methods. the article can be accessed here.
Uppdate : Two weeks ago media outlets in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia reported that authorities in Republika Srpska, one of Bosnia´s two entities, more precisely the Banja Luka Prosecutors Office had started an investigation into the funds received by the Srebrenica Historical Project. Authorities in RS have during a number of years given large sums to the Hague-based NGO and Karganovic has enjoyed open support from amongst others MIlorad Dodik, premier of the entity. According to reports, during the period from 2008 to today, authorities in RS had allocated from their budget close a million Euros, more accurately: 970 892.15 Euros. As I wrote above this is tax payer money, which has in this case gone to denying basic facts about the genocide in Srebrenica as well Stephan Karganovic attempts at re-write the history of the Bosnian War and genocide.