Here we go again, but at least it’s from the top — Radovan Karadzic now accuses ITN and the Guardian of fabricating the gulag of concentration camps that we revealed in 1992, after meeting the then Bosnian Serb president.
He accuses us of a “media conspiracy” which has somehow led to the discovery of mass graves containing real human remains and thousands of bereaved real-life families.
On August 5 1992 we entered the Omarska camp in northern Bosnia, since found by The Hague war crimes tribunal to have been a hellish place of mass murder, torture, mutilation and the beating of Bosnian Muslims and Croats by Bosnian Serb guards. The camp was run by authorities directly answerable to Karadzic.
We were bundled out after this cursory but terrifying first sight and taken to Trnopolje camp, where we found men, some skeletal, behind a barbed-wire fence, in a compound under guard. They had come that day from another murderous place, Keraterm. War crimes at all three camps have since been the subject of numerous convictions at The Hague.
After the war Thomas Deichmann, a Karadzic supporter, wrote in 1997 that ITN’s pictures of the Trnopolje camp were fake. We were inside a compound looking out at “refugees” waiting to register with the Red Cross.
As with Holocaust revisionists who talk about the thermal capacity of bricks at Auschwitz, the argument revolved around minutiae — it was all about which side of a pole wire was attached to.
Deichmann’s denial was enthusiastically followed by the magazine Living Marxism in London, which ITN sued. The magazine’s argument became voguish, attracting support from Fay Weldon, Harold Evans, Doris Lessing, Harold Pinter and Noam Chomsky. A high court jury found for ITN in 2001 but the denial of the camps — amazingly — refused to go away, even though forensic scientists working for the International Commission on Missing Persons were assembling the remains of those who perished in them and uncovered one mass grave containing 373 bodies from Omarska.
Successive defendants at The Hague have tried Karadzic’s argument. The prosecution destroyed the “fake pictures” claim.
Denial of the camps continues to run like a bacillus through the internet. What most concerns me is the searing pain the denial causes to the survivors and bereaved. —