Elliot I. Portnoy, Chief Executive
1301 K Street, N.W.
Suite 600, East Tower
Washington, DC 20005-3364
Dear Mr. Portnoy,
We are writing to you on behalf of 300,000 Bosnian Americans and 50,000 Bosnian Canadians that we represent to protest the planned event on October 21, 2011 showcasing Milorad Dodik, the current president of the smaller of two entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is known for creating negative publicity in and around Bosnia and Herzegovina, and most notably as an open denier of genocide committed by Serbian and Bosnian Serb forces against Bosniaks during the war and aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Milorad Dodik threatens the peace, stability and economic prosperity of the entire Balkans region by purposely undermining Bosnian state authorities and threatening “secession” whenever it suits him politically. The Republika Srpska entity was created by the Dayton agreement through war time policies of genocide and ethnic cleansing while under the leadership of the now imprisoned war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Milorad Dodik’s rhetoric of genocide denial and obstructionism is very similar to Karadzic and remains a threat to long term peace and stability.
Milorad Dodik repeatedly denies genocide against the Bosnian people and said in an April, 2010 interview for a Belgrade newspaper “Bosnian Serbs will never accept that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of some 8,000 Muslims was genocide.” Furthermore, he added that “We cannot and will never accept qualifying that event as genocide.” By denying genocide, Dodik is effectively blocking all attempts at peace and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. The Srebrenica massacre has been ruled as genocide by two international courts — the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague (ICTY). In 2005,the United States congress passed the House resolution 199 recognizing the Srebrenica genocide and demanding that war criminals be brought to justice.
Your company’s social responsibility statement reads that you “are committed to operating in a manner that promotes the business goals of our clients while advancing workplace diversity, environmental sustainability and the well-being of the communities in which we work and live.” By allowing a genocide denier to promote his agenda in a public forum sponsored by your company, you are causing an incomprehensible anguish to thousands of Americans of Bosnian decent who lost thousands of loved ones through a campaign of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and torture.
We sincerely hope you will listen to our serious concerns and look forward to hearing back from you.
Haris Alibasic, MPA, President
The Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB)
Prof. Emir Ramić, Chairman
Institute for the Research of Genocide, Canada (IRGC)
Sanja Seferovic-Drnovsek J.D, MEd, Chair
Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center
cc: Elyse Blazey, Public Relations Manager, SNR Denton
cc: Frederick D. McClure, Partner, Washington office, SNR Denton
cc: Caryn L. Chalmers, Partner, Chicago office, SNR Denton