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Greek journalist on trial for Srebrenica massacre claims July 27, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Bosnia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yunanistan.
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The Srebrenica massacre occurred 15 years ago, several borders and 750 kilometres north of Athens – but a Greek journalist is going on trial on charges that he falsely accused a platoon of Greek volunteers of taking part in it alongside Serb forces.

The libel suit against journalist Takis Michas, the author Unholy Alliance: Greece and Milosevic\’s Serbia, was filed last summer by Stavros Vitalis, a Greek veteran of the Bosnian war.

The suit is reportedly being funded by the Greek ultranationalist organization known as the Panhellenic Macedonian Front, for which Vitalis serves as spokesman.

In the book, Michas points to what he calls the strong support of the Greek state for former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and the country\’s involvement in the Bosnian war, especially in the siege of Srebrenica.

He said that paramilitaries from the country had raised the Greek flag in Srebrenica following the fall of the city.

\’I think that some people want to make a statement with this lawsuit against me, saying that the nationalists are still here,\’ Michas told the German Press Agency dpa.

Vitalis has long admitted to being one of the many Greek volunteers taking part in the Bosnian war and claims that he has been libeled because the journalist described the Greek volunteers as \’paramilitaries who took part in the slaughter of Srebrenica.\’

He said that the Greek volunteers had the full support of leading Greek political leaders and were there to help the people, fighting alongside the Serb army under the command of then Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic.

Greeks and Serbs, fellow Christian Orthodox, have traditionally enjoyed close ties.

The arrest of Mladic, a fugitive for the past 15 years and wanted on war crime charges, including genocide in Srebrenica, remains the main priority of the International Criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, based in The Hague. Mladic is believed to be at large in Serbia.

It is also a priority for the European Union, which has blocked Serbia\’s progress towards membership over Mladic.

Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Mladic killed about 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995 after the United Nations- protected \’safe area\’ fell into their hands near the end of Bosnia\’s 1992-95 war. The massacre of Srebrenica is described as one of the most horrible atrocities since World War II.

The tribunal has indicted Mladic and his political chief, Radovan Karadzic for genocide in Srebrenica. Karadzic is on trial in The Hague.

\’I don\’t think that it is an accident that this trial against me is taking place while so much attention is being placed on Karadzic\’s trial,\’ says Michas.

The trial in Athens has been set for September 20.

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