Protest Letter to Columbia University for hosting genocide denier, Milorad Dodik
October 23, 2011
John H. Coatsworth, Ph.D
Dean, School of International and Public Affairs
14th floor, MC 3328
New York, NY 10027
Timothy Frye , Ph.D.
Director, The Harriman Institute
Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy
Dear Dr. Coatsworth and Dr. Frye:
We are writing to you on behalf of 300,000 Bosnian Americans and 50,000 Bosnian Canadians to protest the planned event organized by The Harriman Institute and SIPA on October 25, 2011, featuring Milorad Dodik, the current President of Republika Srpska (RS).
Milorad Dodik is a genocide denier and tirelessly promotes ethnic division within Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In April of 2010, Mr. Dodik gave an interview to the Belgrade newspaper “Vecernje Novosti” openly stating that “Bosnian Serbs will never accept that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of some 8,000 Muslims was genocide.” Mr. Dodik went further to say that “We cannot and will never accept qualifying that event as genocide.” By denying genocide, Mr. Dodik is actively working against the peace and reconciliation process within BiH. Both the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) have ruled that what happened in Srebrenica was genocide. In addition, the U.S. Congress passed H.R.199, which defined the crime as genocide.
Dodik’s morally reprehensible rhetoric on Srebrenica and his obstructionist attitude towards Bosnia as a unified state threatens the peace, stability and prosperity of not only BiH but also Southeast Europe. Dodik actively supports the defense of Ratko Mladic, the indicted war criminal currently standing trial at The Hague for the Siege of Sarajevo and the genocide in Srebrenica.
Dodik actively encourages a lack of accountability for war crimes committed by the Serbs during the aggression on BiH in the early 1990’s. Furthermore, Dodik has worked to undermine the authority and proper functioning of national intuitions, including the BiH state court system responsible for war crimes prosecution. Mr. Dodik continues to menace the country with the possibility of an illegal secession by the RS, the consequence of which includes the possibility of renewed violence in a society still deeply traumatized by war.
Ultimately, the same parties under Dodik’s leadership within the Republika Srpska who were responsible for the deliberate destruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and who were then rewarded in the Dayton Agreement with territorial and political concessions gained through genocidal violence, are now actively working to impair the reintegration of the country as a unified, sovereign state.
We strongly object to Columbia University providing a platform of legitimacy to Milorad Dodik and urge that his invitation be withdrawn.
Haris Alibasic, MPA, President
The Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB)
Bosniak American Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BAACBH)
Prof. Emir Ramić, Chairman
Institute for the Research of Genocide, Canada (IRGC)
Sanja Seferovic-Drnovsek J.D, MEd, Chair
Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center