Image: Screenshot off the Sputnik website
Sputnik Romania Denies the Massacre at Srebrenica and Glorifies a Former Military Commander Who was Convicted of Genocide
On Wednesday, July 11, Sputnik Romania published an article written by Dragoș Dumitriu in which Serbian military commander Ratko Mladić, convicted of genocide by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, is glorified.
Entitled, “Famous Serbian Military Commander, Total Courage – Turns NATO to Dust right in The Hague!”, the author copies an article that was initially published by the Agence France-Presse and taken over by France 24 as well as the Romanian agency Agerpres. Sputnik’s article distorts the meaning of the original publication.
What the original news item states
On July 10, 2018, Ratko Mladić appeared before the Hague Court in a preliminary hearing. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
At the hearing, the 75-year-old former military commander of Bosnian Serbs stated that his medical condition was deteriorating in prison, that he had heart problems and that he had even experienced heart attacks which had not been recorded.
Mladić accused NATO of destroying both his country and his health and finally, he demonstrated that he does not recognize the legitimacy of the tribunal before which he was standing.
The Agence France-Presse’s article discusses NATO’s role in ending the Bosnian war: the Alliance’s troops were responsible for the air strikes that were launched on the Bosnian Serb positions and the commissioning of the peacekeepers who came thereafter.
The article also mentions the Srebrenica massacre, where forces led by Mladić killed more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims of all ages, in an attempt to eliminate a segment of the population.
What Sputnik’s analysis states
The author of this analysis deliberately distorts the meaning of the article he copied from the news agency. While the Agence France-Presse and Agerpress articles present Mladić as a war criminal who launches accusations against NATO, Sputnik claims that his statements are “total courage.”
According to the author, Mladić does not give up and brings NATO to its knees.
Moreover, he does not acknowledge the existence of the Srebrenica genocide, calling it “a so-called ‘genocide’.” And this is done precisely around the time that the victims of the massacre are being commemorated, some 23 years later.
What the Hague Tribunal says
To understand the level of falsity, it is important to understand what the Srebenica massacre was. An official ruling by the International Criminal Court shows that in July 1995, Srebrenica was conquered by the armed forces of Bosnian Serbs, led by Ratko Mladić, even though it was deemed a “protected area” by the UN.
They implemented a plan to execute any Muslim man who could enlist in the army. Subsequent reports show that children, youth and men over the age of 65 were also killed.
In only a few days, thousands of locals were executed solely on the grounds of belonging to the community of Muslim men. The cited decision states that the genocide was committed intentionally, according to a previously established plan.
More than 8,000 men, adolescence and children disappeared in a few days and were later discovered in mass graves. Over 4,000 deceased who had been identified with the help of DNA tests were later reburied in individual graves s at the Potočari Memorial Center.
Victims of the massacre continue to be identified to this day. For example, 35 victims were reburied this week.
Getting back to the topic of Sputnik, this is not the first time that Kremlin’s propaganda institutions have made an attempt to rewrite history in favor of criminals.
For example, in November of 2017, during the President of the Czech Republic’s visit to Moscow, the TV station belonging to the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 was a saving act.
Details of Kremlin’s propaganda methods can be found on a report located on the EU’s anti-propaganda division of their website.