International protest at public role for Mladic friend
Author: Concerned Bosnian citizens and others
Uploaded: Monday, 12 May, 2008
Information about the outraged reaction in B-H and elsewhere in the work at the decision by the well regarded Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to invite a prominent friend and supporter of Ratko Mladic to chair an important public event in Athens
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 ).
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
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) - electronic
link available at
and a similar piece from the Washington Post (7 August 1996: ‘Athens Criminal
Lawyer Wants to Defend Mladic’, by Jonathan C. Randal) - electronic link
Mr. Lykourezos boasted that he would defend General Mladic pro bono, and
that he considers him ‘more a friend’ than a potential client.
(2) See the Dutch documentary in which Mr. Lykourezos questions
Srebrenica genocide committed by Serb troops under the direction of General
Mladic: Op z'n Grieks [The Greek Way], Director : Ingeborg Beugel, IKON,
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
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?
Response sent to Mr. Michas from WWICS:
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
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 Scholars
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 pri