Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Foreign Minister withdraws proposal to award Israeli historian Gideon Greif with the Order of Merit, following criticism of academics’ denial of Srebrenica genocide.

The German Foreign Minister withdrew his proposal to award the Israeli historian Gideon Greif with the country’s Order of Merit, after the academic widely criticized on a report denying the Srebrenica genocide.

Germany announced earlier this year that it plans to award Greif for its contributions to Holocaust research, which focuses on the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.

A wave of criticism followed, however, as Greif served as head of a commission that published a controversial report in July concluding that a genocide did not take place in July 1995 in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. not, which contradicts rulings by international courts.

Bosnia’s Serb – controlled entity Republika Srpska has instructed Greif to do the report. Serbian leaders openly deny genocide, including Milorad Dodik, the Serbian member of the country’s tripartite presidency who is now seeking separation for the entity.

The award ceremony was supposed to take place on November 10, but Germany postponed the opportunity for further notification and said it was reconsidering its decision.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a letter to Esnaf Begic, president of the board of directors at the Islamic College in Osnabruck, Germany, on Wednesday that the Foreign Ministry had withdrawn its decision to transfer the award to Greif. has.

“The Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs has withdrawn his proposal to award Professor Greif the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany,” reads the letter, published by Bosnian media.

“Professor Greif was therefore not awarded the Order of Merit. “This decision does not diminish the merits that Professor Greif gained in researching the Holocaust and German Jews who emigrated to Israel.”

The now-closed International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Court of Justice (ICJ) have long concluded that the systematic massacre of some 8,000 Bosnian men and boys by Serbian forces in July 1995 was a genocide. – the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

Greif’s work on the Srebrenica genocide has been criticized by many, including Menachem Rosensaft, general adviser to the World Jewish Congress, who said he was “shocked by the report’s shameless manipulation of the truth”.

Emir Suljagic, director of the Srebrenica Memorial Center, told Al Jazeera earlier this month that Greif “was paid for by a genocide that the autocrat denied smuggling falsehoods and flushing Bosniaks from their own history, just because they are also Muslims”.

“And that’s how he should be remembered for the rest of his life and in history,” Suljagic said.

The Canada-based Genocide Research Institute (IGC) called Germany’s decision “another great victory for truth and justice”.

“This is another victory in the fight against genocide deniers; falsifiers of historical, judicial and scientific facts about the genocide; and glorifiers of convicted war criminals, ”said Emir Ramic, director of the institute, in a statement.

“The voice of victims, witnesses of the genocide and genocide investigators must be heard louder.

“IGC will continue to pursue vigilant activities against Bosnia and will insist on justice and truth every time,” Ramic said.

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