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

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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.

Sincerely

 

Footnotes:

(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

http://www.nytimes.com/specials/bosnia/context/0804yugo-greece.html,

and a similar piece from the Washington Post (7 August 1996: ‘Athens Criminal

Lawyer Wants to Defend Mladic’, by Jonathan C. Randal) - electronic link

available at

http://listserv.buffalo.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9804&L=TWATCH-L&D=0&T=0&P=269565

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,

2002;

http://www.ikonrtv.nl/factor/index.asp?oId=402#.

 

 

 

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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?

Sincerely

Takis Michas

 

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

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.

Regards,

Sharon McCarter

SHARON A. McCARTER

Director, Outreach & Communications

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

202.691.4016

sharon.mccarter@wilsoncenter.org

 

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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

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