DID YOU KNOW?  -- Three years before the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide, Serbs torched Bosniak villages and killed at least 3,166 Bosniaks around Srebrenica. In 1993, the UN described the besieged situation in Srebrenica as a "slow-motion process of genocide." In July 1995, Serbs forcibly expelled 25,000 Bosniaks, brutally raped many women and girls, and systematically killed 8,000+ men and boys (DNA confirmed).

08 November, 2009


Reading Time: 12-15 minutes. [Highly Recommended]


The former Operations Officer for the Belgrade-based Hague Tribunal's Liaison Office -- and the former 'human rights investigator' who is on record for denying the Srebrenica genocide -- is back to his old tricks again. We find James Luko on NolanChart's web site in a self-described profile titled "Confessions of an Ethnic Cleanser." (1)

To quote from his own words, "Actually I've been quite quiet these years about all these issues of the OTP, ICTY [the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia], Srebrenica, UN and ICTY corruption." In his comments, he denied that genocide took place in Srebrenica and he announced that he would testify in Radovan Karadzic's case. Here is what he said:

"The crimes of Srebrenica indeed included-extra-judicial killings and ethnic cleansing by Serb forces. I agree with those charges and they were in my reports and for which I will later testify at Karadzic's hearing. However, I do not agree... that Genocide was intended or committed." (2)

Imagine this discredited genocide denier, James Luko, testifying at the trial of Radovan Karadzic and pretending to be fair and balanced? Based on his history of distortions, he is a perfect fit for the Karadzic defense. We hope Prosecutors first Google his name before they cross-examine him. According to his web site, he is writing a book regarding his 'experiences' with the UN and the Tribunal titled "Inside the Hague Tribunal" - yet another genocide denial garbage, certainly not an academic resource.

This morbidly pro-Serb activist, the former "human rights investigator" was so biased that he even filed false reports back to the U.N. trying to deny that genocide ever took place in Srebrenica. James Luko is also a man who attempted to equalize Bosniak suffering in the besieged Sarajevo with that of the Serbs who kept the city under the siege and killed 10,000 - 15,000 of its residents, 1500 of them children (photo of dead children in Sarajevo morgue, killed by Serbs during the siege of Sarajevo).

It is important to note that James Luko does not posses academic skills, experience and credentials that would enable him to judge/interpret what does and what doesn't constitute a case of genocide; he certainly never worked as an international judge. In this regard, he is incompetent. Consider the following two statement by James Luko:

"In my first report to Geneva, to the UN Centre for Human Rights, that Srebrenica, specifically was NOT Genocide for the fact that the Serb military collected and sent most women and children to Bosniak controlled territory. By no defination can this be labelled Genocide." (3)

In support of his genocide denial diatribe, he used one of the weakest arguments available:

"The genocide will be interpreted 'BROADLY' to encompass ethnic cleansing elements to make the charge stick as I fully agree that by sparing most women and children- Srebrenica simply does not qualify for the generic idea and concept of what genocide is." (4)

Let's review some facts. First of all, the ICTY's definition of what constitutes genocide is not "BROAD" but "very narrow." For example, the Court still has not ruled that genocide occured in municipalities other than Srebrenica. Second of all, women and children were not spared during the Srebrenica massacre, as James Luko would want us to believe. Women and children were forcibly expelled from the enclave, many of women were mistreated and raped. Many boys were killed, many traumatized. (see the account of a survivor of the massacre - "a very young boy emerged from the heap of bodies, covered in blood and mangled flesh"). Also see the account published by Serbian journalist Snezana Vukic at the time of the Srebrenica genocide, on July 18, 1995:

"Zarfa Turkovic says she watched through half-closed eyes, pretending to sleep, hoping she would not be next, as four Bosnian Serb men raped a 28-year old Muslim woman... 'Two took her legs and raised them up in the air, while the third began raping her. People were silent, no one moved. She was screaming and yelling and begging them to stop. They put her a rag into her mouth, and then we were just hearing silent sobs coming from her closed lips. When they finished, the woman was left there.'" (5)

Furthermore, in the Krstic Appeal ruling, the Hague Tribunal revealed why Serbs massacred only men and boys:

31. As the Trial Chamber explained, forcible transfer could be an additional means by which to ensure the physical destruction of the Bosnian Muslim community in Srebrenica. The transfer completed the removal of all Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica, thereby eliminating even the residual possibility that the Muslim community in the area could reconstitute itself. The decision not to kill the women or children may be explained by the Bosnian Serbs’ sensitivity to public opinion. In contrast to the killing of the captured military men, such an action could not easily be kept secret, or disguised as a military operation, and so carried an increased risk of attracting international censure. (6)

(For more facts about the rapes of women during the Srebrenica massacre, see our article, titled: "Were men and boys the only victims of the Srebrenica genocide?")

Blinded by his conviction that genocide never took place in Srebrenica, James Luko continues to use cheap and already highly discredited arguments in which he attempts to dispute the numbers of the killed in Srebrenica. Here is what he said:

"The scale of killings in Srebrenica, well, yes, the 8,000 figure is of course just an exaggerated number from incomplete and duplicate lists, which was VERY common and not entirely the fault of agencies like UNHCR and ICRC. How many bodies does ICTY have ? Well in reality, perhaps 1,500-2,000 separate bodies identified- and of those, approximately 400-500 show evidence of execution... massive crimes took place- but 8,000 ? Can't be proven and highly unlikely. But, as you know, when dealing with this issue- the victors need to work with large numbers." (7)

James Luko apparently does not know (or doesn't want to know) that all duplicate victim's names had already been removed from the list of missing, according to the highly respected Hague Tribunal's expert Ewa Tabeau. (8) Furthermore, the DNA results of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) support an estimate of 8,100 Srebrenica genocide victims. So far, the identities of 6,186 genocide victims have been revealed by the DNA analysis. The DNA was extracted from these bone and blood samples. Additionally, approximately 4,000 DNA-identified bodies have so far been laid to rest at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Potocari.

Consider this distorted statement by James Luko:

"I can also confirm that our UN Office in Bosnia was regularly reporting the direct reports of Bosniak attacks on Serb villages around Srebrenica, but we were repeatedly ignored." (9)

As a matter of the fact, between 1992 and 1995, militarized Serb villages around Srebrenica had been used to attack and destroy nearby Bosniak villages around Srebrenica, as well as to launch brutal attacks on Srebrenica. (10) Serb village of Kravica had a large cache of weapons and was used to stage attacks on Srebrenica and nearby Bosniak villages. Furthermore, Serbs used their villages around Srebrenica to block humanitarian aid coming into the Bosniak enclave, which caused Bosniaks to start dying from starvation and engage in counter-attacks for the purpose of obtaining food and demilitarizing heavily armed Serbs around Srebrenica. According to the U.N. Report (1999) about the Fall of Srebrenica:

"A third accusation leveled at the Bosniak defenders of Srebrenica is that they provoked the Serb offensive by attacking out of that safe area. Even though this accusation is often repeated by international sources, there is no credible evidence to support it. Dutchbat personnel on the ground at the time assessed that the few “raids” the Bosniaks mounted out of Srebrenica were of little or no military significance. These raids were often organized in order to gather food, as the Serbs had refused access for humanitarian convoys into the enclave. Even Serb sources approached in the context of this report acknowledged that the Bosniak forces in Srebrenica posed no significant military threat to them. The biggest attack the Bosniaks launched out of Srebrenica during the more than two years which is was designated a safe area appears to have been the raid on the village of Visnjica, on 26 June 1995, in which several houses were burned, up to four Serbs were killed and approximately 100 sheep were stolen. In contrast, the Serbs overran the enclave two weeks later, driving tens of thousands from their homes, and summarily executing thousands of men and boys. The Serbs repeatedly exaggerated the extent of the raids out of Srebrenica as a pretext for the prosecution of a central war aim: to create geographically contiguous and ethnically pure territory along the Drina, while freeing their troops to fight in other parts of the country. The extent to which this pretext was accepted at face value by international actors and observers reflected the prism of 'moral equivalency' through which the conflict in Bosnia was viewed by too many for too long." (11)

After being confronted with the above facts, James Luko responded the following:

"In this case, I think the details of the village attacks, back and forth, Bosniak vs. Serb- is now irrelevant, it was a dirty war. UN Operation Posts cleary recorded attacks by both sides." (12)

Additionally, James Luko's distortions have already been rebuted by the Trial Judgment in the Naser Oric case. The Oric judgment makes it clear that Serb villages around Srebrenica were heavily militarized bases from which Serbs launched brutal attacks on Bosnian Muslim villages, as well as on the town of Srebrenica itself. As stated in the Judgment, quote:

"Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircrafts. Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance, and destroyed their homes. During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties." (13)

According to the Judgment, the Bosnian Muslim villages around Srebrenica were totally unprepared for war:

"In comparison, it appears that the Bosnian Muslim side did not adequately prepare for the looming armed conflict. There were not even firearms to be found in the BosnianMuslim villages, apart from some privately owned pistols and hunting rifles; a few light weaponswere kept at the Srebrenica police station." (14)

The Judgment makes it clear that Serb village of Kravica was a military base from which Serbs launched deadly attacks on neighbouring Bosnian Muslim villages and town of Srebrenica itself. The Bosniak counter-attack on Kravica on the 7 January 1993 followed as a result of Serb blockade of humanitarian aid and constant attacks on nearby Bosnian Muslim villages. According to the Judgment:

"The fighting intensified in December 1992 and the beginning of January 1993, when Bosnian Muslims were attacked by Bosnian Serbs primarily from the direction of Kravica and Ježestica. In the early morning of the 7 January 1993, Orthodox Christmas day, Bosnian Muslims attacked Kravica, Ježestica and Šiljkovići. Convincing evidence suggests that the village guards were backed by the VRS [Bosnian Serb Army], and following the fighting in the summer of 1992, they received military support, including weapons and training. A considerable amount of weapons and ammunition was kept in Kravica and Šiljkovići. Moreover, there is evidence that besides the village guards, there was Serb and Bosnian Serb military presence in the area. The Trial Chamber is not satisfied that it can be attributed solely to Bosnian Muslims. The evidence is unclear as to the number of houses destroyed by Bosnian Muslims as opposed to those destroyed by Bosnian Serbs. In light of this uncertainty, the Trial Chamber concludes that the destruction of property in Kravica between 7 and 8 December 1992 does not fulfil the elements of wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages not justified by military necessity." (15)

The Judgment also confirms that Bosniak refugees in the besieged enclave started dying from starvation caused by the Serb blockade of humanitarian aid. As a result, Bosniaks had to counter-attack Serb military bases around Srebrenica to obtain much needed food and other necessities for the survival:

"Between June 1992 and March 1993, Bosnian Muslims raided a number of villages and hamlets inhabited by Bosnian Serbs, or from which Bosnian Muslims had formerly been expelled. One of the purposes of these actions was to acquire food, weapons, ammunition and military equipment. Bosnian Serb forces controlling the access roads were not allowing international humanitarian aid – most importantly, food and medicine – to reach Srebrenica. As a consequence, there was a constant and serious shortage of food causing starvation to peak in the winter of 1992/1993. Numerous people died or were in an extremely emaciated state due to malnutrition." (16)

We could go on and on rebutting outright lies promoted by James Luko, but he doesn't deserve more of our time since all of his genocide denial arguments have already been discredited not just by us, but also by the Hague Tribunal, independent human rights organizations, and survivors of the massacre.

James Luko is simply a man who has reduced his life for the purpose of genocide denial. Currently, he makes living by selling wine over the internet and doing some consulting work in Beijing China. (17)

References / Footnotes:

(1) http://www.nolanchart.com/author1111.html

(2) http://www.nolanchart.com/article7012.html

(3) Ibid.

(4) Ibid.

(5) http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2009/08/serbs-raped-bosniak-women-in-potocari.html

(6) http://www.icty.org/x/cases/krstic/acjug/en/krs-aj040419e.pdf

(7) See footnote #2

(8) Conflict in Numbers, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia,

(9) See James Luko's comment (#6) agreeing with the genocide denial article written by Ari Rusila, http://arirusila.cafebabel.com/en/post/2009/07/19/Srebrenica-again-Hoax-or-Massacre

(10) http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2009/07/serb-villages-around-srebrenica.html

(11) Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/35, The Fall of Srebrenica, section: B. Role of Bosniak forces on the ground, see excerpts here:

(12) See footnte #2

(13) Naser Oric judgment, http://www.icty.org/case/oric/4

(14) Ibid.

(15) Ibid.

(16) Ibid.

(17) "Luko Wines" by James Luko http://www.lukowines.com/