I have taken the liberty to contact you on behalf of Congress of North American Bosniaks, an organization which promotes the interests of some 350,000 Bosniaks living in North America, most of them in the United States.
It has come to our attention that among your clients you list an entity called â€œRepublika Srpskaâ€.
While you certainly have the prerogative, right and freedom to conduct your business in the best interests of your stakeholders, it is of concern that a group of people of your obvious and impressive credentials would lend their good name and offices in representing an entity which was created by way of genocide, first and foremost, and which has no constitutional provisions to conduct extraterritorial, international and, in that context, legal activities, including purporting to be acting at the level of a State, which it definitely is not.
Please find attached several extracts from the February 26, 2007, Judgment of the International Court of Justice with references to some of the crimes perpetrated in the name of your client, for which crimes your client feels no remorse.
Sometimes the high principles of ethics, morality and civility ought to outweigh any and all financial considerations. I invite you to reconsider promoting those who do not subscribe to those principles.
Please feel free to contact me should you need more input.
President of the Governing Board of Congress of North American Bosniaks
233. By a â€œsovereigntyâ€ resolution adopted on 14 October 1991, the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared the independence of the Republic. The validity of this resolution was contested at the time by the Serbian community of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Opinion No. 1 of the
Arbitration Commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia (the Badinter Commission), p. 3). On 24 October 1991, the Serb Members of the Bosnian Parliament proclaimed a separate Assembly of the Serb Nation/Assembly of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 9 January 1992, the Republic of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina (subsequently renamed the Republika Srpska on 12 August 1992) was declared with the proviso that the declaration would come into force upon international recognition of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 28 February 1992, the Constitution of the Republic of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina was adopted The Republic of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina (and subsequently the Republika Srpska) was not and has not been recognized internationally as a State; it has however enjoyed some de facto independence
275. The Court further notes that several resolutions condemn specific incidents. These resolutions, inter alia, condemn â€œthe Bosnian Serb forces for their continued offensive against the safe area of GoraÅ¾de, which has resulted in the death of numerous civiliansâ€ (Security Council resolution 913 (1994), Preamble, para. 5); condemn ethnic cleansing â€œperpetrated in Banja Luka, Bijeljina and other areas of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the control of Bosnian Serb forcesâ€ (Security Council resolution 941 (1994), para. 2); express concern at â€œgrave violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights in and around Srebrenica, and in
the areas of Banja Luka and Sanski Most, including reports of mass murderâ€ (Security Council resolution 1019 (1995), Preamble, para. 2); and condemn â€œthe indiscriminate shelling of civilians in the safe areas of Sarajevo, Tuzla, BihaÃ¦ and GoraÅ¾de and the use of cluster bombs on civilian targets by Bosnian Serb and Croatian Serb forcesâ€ (General Assembly resolution 50/193 (1995) para. 5).
288. The VRS and MUP of the Republika Srpska from 12 July separated men aged 16 to approximately 60 or 70 from their families. The Bosnian Muslim men were directed to various locations but most were sent to a particular house (â€œThe White Houseâ€) near the UNPROFOR headquarters in PotoÃ¨ari, where they were interrogated. During the afternoon of 12 July a large number of buses and other vehicles arrived in PotoÃ¨ari including some from Serbia. Only women, children and the elderly were allowed to board the buses bound for territory held by the Bosnia and Herzegovina military. Dutchbat vehicles escorted convoys to begin with, but the VRS stopped that and soon after stole 16-18 Dutchbat jeeps, as well as around 100 small arms, making further escorts impossible. Many of the Bosnian Muslim men from Srebrenica and its surroundings including those who had attempted to flee through the woods were detained and killed.
293. The Court has already quoted (paragraph 281) the passage from the Judgment of the Appeals Chamber in the KrstiÃ¦ case rejecting the Prosecutorâ€™s attempted reliance on the Directives given earlier in July, and it would recall the evidence about the VRSâ€™s change of plan in the course of the operation in relation to the complete takeover of the enclave. The Appeals Chamber also rejected the appeal by General KrstiÃ¦ against the finding that genocide occurred in Srebrenica. It held that the Trial Chamber was entitled to conclude that the destruction of such a sizeable number of men, one fifth of the overall Srebrenica community, â€œâ€˜would inevitably result in the physical disappearance of the Bosnian Muslim population at Srebrenicaâ€™â€ (IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber – 106 – Judgment, 19 April 2004, paras. 28-33); and the Trial Chamber, as the best assessor of the
evidence presented at trial, was entitled to conclude that the evidence of the transfer of the women and children supported its finding that some members of the VRS Main Staff intended to destroy the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. The Appeals Chamber concluded this part of its Judgment as follows:
â€œThe gravity of genocide is reflected in the stringent requirements which must be satisfied before this conviction is imposed. These requirements âŽ¯ the demanding proof of specific intent and the showing that the group was targeted for destruction in its entirety or in substantial part âŽ¯ guard against a danger that convictions for this crime will be imposed lightly. Where these requirements are satisfied, however, the law must not shy away from referring to the crime committed by its proper name. By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the forty thousand Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of the Bosnian Muslims in general. They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity. The Bosnian Serb forces were aware, when they embarked on this genocidal venture, that the harm they caused would continue to plague the Bosnian Muslims. The Appeals Chamber states unequivocally that the law condemns, in appropriate terms, the deep and lasting injury inflicted, and calls the massacre at Srebrenica by its proper name: genocide. Those
responsible will bear this stigma, and it will serve as a warning to those who may in future contemplate the commission of such a heinous act.
In concluding that some members of the VRS Main Staff intended to destroy
the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica, the Trial Chamber did not depart from the legal requirements for genocide. The Defence appeal on this issue is dismissed.â€ (Ibid. , paras. 37-38.)
302. Several Security Council resolutions expressed alarm at the â€œmassive, organised and systematic detention and rape of womenâ€, in particular Muslim women in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Security Council resolutions 798 (1992), Preamble, para. 2; resolution 820 (1993), para. 6; 827 (1993), Preamble, para. 3). In terms of other kinds of serious harm, Security Council
resolution 1034 (1995) condemned â€œin the strongest possible terms the violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights by Bosnian Serb and paramilitary forces in the areas of Srebrenica, Å½epa, Banja Luka and Sanski Most as described in the report of the Secretary-General
of 27 November 1995 and showing a consistent pattern of summary executions, rape, mass expulsions, arbitrary detentions, forced labour and large-scale disappearancesâ€ (para. 2).
The Security Council further referred to a â€œpersistent and systematic campaign of terrorâ€ in Banja Luka, Bijeljina and other areas under the control of Bosnian Serb forces (Security Council resolution 941 (1994), Preamble, para. 4). It also expressed concern at reports of mass murder,
unlawful detention and forced labour, rape, and deportation of civilians in Banja Luka and Sanski Most (Security Council resolution 1019 (1995), Preamble, para. 2).
336. In the TadiÃ¦ case, the ICTY found that â€œ[n]on-Serb cultural and religious symbols throughout the region were targeted for destructionâ€ in the Banja Luka area (TadiÃ¦, IT-94-1-T, Trial Chamber Judgment, 7 May 1997, para. 149). Further, in reviewing the indictments of KaradÅ¾iÃ¦ and MladiÃ¦, the Trial Chamber stated that: â€œThroughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina under their control, Bosnian Serb forces . . . destroyed, quasi-systematically, the Muslim and Catholic cultural heritage, in particular, sacred sites. According to estimates provided at the hearing by an expert witness, Dr. Kaiser, a total of 1.123 mosques, 504 Catholic churches and five synagogues were destroyed or damaged, for the most part, in the absence of military activity or after the cessation thereof.
This was the case in the destruction of the entire Islamic and Catholic heritage in the Banja Luka area, which had a Serbian majority and the nearest area of combat to which was several dozen kilometres away. All of the mosques and Catholic churches were destroyed. Some mosques were destroyed with explosives and the ruins were then levelled and the rubble thrown in the public dumps in order to eliminate any vestige of Muslim presence.
Aside from churches and mosques, other religious and cultural symbols like
cemeteries and monasteries were targets of the attacks.â€ (KaradÅ¾iÃ¦ and MladiÃ¦, Review of the Indictment Pursuant to Rule 61 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, 11 July 1996, para. 15.)