Journalist sued for exposing Greek paramilitaries in Bosnia
On July 27, Stavros Vitalis, representing the Panhellenic Macedonian Front, filed a libel suit against Greek journalist Takis Michas, author of Unholy Alliance: Greece and Milosevic's Serbia. Michas' book and work in the daily Eleftherotypia accuse Greek mercenaries in Bosnia of participating in the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre. In a media statement, Vitalis said that the Greek volunteers who fought in Bosnia under the command of Gen. Ratko Mladic were there to help the Serbs, "who were being slaughtered by international gangs that were also stealing their houses, their country and their dignity."
The Panhellenic Macedonian Front is a Greek nationalist organization that up to now has propagandized against the independence of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia on the grounds that the name and historical legacy of "Macedonia" are exclusively Greek.
Vitals acknowledges his own role in Bosnia. Michas told interviewer Daniel Toljaga for Bosniak.org, Aug. 5:
First of all, Vitalis explicitly admits that Greeks (i.e. himself) took part in the planning and execution of the Serb "re-occupation" (as he calls it) of Srebrenica. As he says in his press statement "I was present with a group of senior Serb officers in all the operations for the re-occupation of Srebrenica by the Serbs."
Secondly, Mr Vitalis admits that the recruitment of Greek volunteers for the war against the legitimate government of Bosnia took place with the implicit approval of the leading Greek politicians Andreas Papandreou and (to a lesser extent) Constantine Mitsotakis.
Michas sees the case against him as part of a propaganda campaign in response to the war crimes trial against Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic now underway at The Hague:
Bearing in mind that Karadzic’s trial will also be taking place next year, what they will be hoping is to create an alternative debate in which the substance of what happened at Srebrenica will be called into question. In other words, while the world is trying the war crimes perpetrated at Srebrenica, in Greece they will be putting the critics of the war crimes at Srebrenica on trial!