Germany ditches plan to award historian medal following criticism

31.12.2021, 16:02

Germany has cancelled plans to award an Order of Merit to a controversial pro-Serbian Israeli historian following criticism from Bosnia-Herzegovina, dpa has learned.

Originally, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was due to present the award to Holocaust researcher Gideon Greif, who is considered a denier of the Srebrenica genocide, in which Bosnian Serb troops murdered more than 8,000 Muslims in eastern Bosnia in July 1995.

Greif chaired an international commission of historians that denied the genocidal nature of the Srebrenica massacre in a more than 1,000-page report in July.

The commission was appointed by a leading lawmaker Milorad Dodik, who is pressing for the secession of the the Serb part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republika Srpska.

Several judgements by the International War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague classify the Srebrenica massacre as a genocide.

The high representative of the international community in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, who held office until the end of July this year, made the denial of the Srebrenica genocide - and other war crimes in the 1992-95 Bosnian war - a criminal offence in one of his last official acts.

Although mainly a Holocaust researcher, for many years Greif has also researched in Serbia and published works that seem to exaggerate the number of Serbian victims in World War II.

The German presidential office and Foreign Ministry said they would review the plans for the award in October.

News of the German president's change of plan was first reported by klix.ba, a Bosnian news site, citing a letter from the German Foreign Ministry dated December 7.