TUE, 16 JAN 2001 22:23:07 GMT
AIM Athens, January 16, 2001
"In my life, twice did I feel a shame that I am a human being: first, when Nazi crimes were revealed in the end of the Second World War; then today with the revelations on uranium bombs in neighboring Yugoslavia" ("Avghi" 10/1/2001). Such a vastly exaggerated statement reflects the mood of Greek public opinion today. This resulted from the debate over the use of depleted uranium weapons during NATO-strikes, that led to the large majority of journalists, intellectuals and politicians to "use scare-mongering about radioactivity, as they are simply trying to take revenge for the defeat of Milosevic, whom they had been supporting for years," to quote critical columnist Dimitris Psychogios. He also charged all of them of "hypocritical pacifism that remained silent during the decade that various Arkan-like heroes had been carrying out massacres" ("To Vima" 10/1/2001).
Because equating -certain- the unnecessary suffering and -likely serious- damage caused by these weapons with Nazi crimes, and considering it much more important than the Red Khmers' and the Rwanda genocides, to take the most important crimes after the Second World War, and not considering it at least as important as the various massacres and other forms of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the (mostly Serb) warring parties in the Yugoslav conflicts is worse than hypocrisy. When, however, that statement is made by a person who prides herself to be a human rights defender, Professor Aliki Yotopoulos-Marangopoulos, President of both a homonym NGO and the National Human Rights Commission of Greece, one can only feel sad about the prevailing way human rights are perceived in Greece.
So as not to leave any doubts, a few days later, Professor Marangopoulos struck again, announcing that she was willing to testify as a defense witness for Biljana Plavsic in the Hague Court. The newspaper story carrying this astonishing statement claimed that she wanted to raise the case of the rapes of Moslem women that were, according to her, investigated by the EU's "Warburton Commission." According to Greece's top human rights official, the Commission was not allowed to investigate allegations about rapes of non-Muslim women in the Bosnian conflict, and even questioned that the latter had ever happened. So, Professor Marangopoulos wants to testify to the Hague to set the record straight according to her view. Two days later, she clarified in the newspaper that she did not question the work of the Commission and confirmed its conclusion was accurate, but she maintained that the EU did not allow it to investigate other allegations; most importantly, she did not deny she intended to testify in Plavsic' defense.
These two newspaper articles follow. There has been no reaction by anyone to these statements, while the related newspaper coverage was fully approving.
Shocking evidence that will assist at the judicial hearing before the Hague Tribunal is to be provided by Professor Aliki Yotopoulos-Marangopoulos, President of the homonymous Foundation for Human Rights and President of the International Women's Union, etc.
In 1993 Ms. Marangopoulos was the Greek government representative to the EU commission to investigate the matter of rape of Muslim women in the former Yugoslavia.
The president of that commission, which was formed in December 1992, when Great Britain had the presidency, was Ann Warburton, British Ambassador to the EU.
The commission was made up of women from the 12 member-nations of the EU. Well-known Simone Veil represented France. The EU presidency then passed from Britain to Denmark. The commission one-sidedly examined only the "alleged" rapes supposedly suffered by Muslim women at the hands of the Bosnian Serbs.
To protest that biased approach, Ms. Marangopoulos requested that the investigation be conducted in depth in all directives, and that rape victims of all religions and nationalities, not just Muslims, be examined.
Ms. Warburton, the commission's president, forwarded her request to the EU presidency in Copenhagen. "The reply was explicit and unconditional," Ms. Marangopoulos recalls. "You are to proceed according to the directives you have received. Rape victims of religious dogmas and nationalities other than Muslim are not to be examined. This event caused Simone Veil to stay away from the commission and never return. I myself kept attending to see to what lengths of audacity of those plotting the situation would go. Meanwhile, I had sent two letters to the Greek Foreign Ministry advising them of the situation (Foreign Minister at the time was Michalis Papakonstantinou.) The result of this plot schemed up by the non-European centers," says Ms. Marangopoulos, "was that the Commission's findings reached the UN. There it was ruled that the Bosnian Muslims were suffering and being raped, even pregnant women, and entire structure of the intervention was set up." Ms. Marangopoulos intends to make available her correspondence from that period as well as other important documents in support of Ms. Plavsic, the truth, and history in order to demonstrate that all these charges were and are "murky" and fabricated.
[Ms. Marangopoulos' photo caption: "Many charges against Plavsic will be countered if necessary: Professor and President of Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights Aliki Yotopoulos- Marnagopoulos]
In response to our article of 13.1.2001, "Marangopoulos Supports Plavsic", Ms. Yotopoulos-Marangopoulos has written to us regarding the efforts of the 1993 "Warburton Commission" to record the rapes of Muslim women in Bosnia.
In her letter she wished to stress yet again how conscientiously the commission worked, despite the directives they had from the Danish presidency of the EU to not broaden their investigations to include women of other ethnic groups.
Ms. Marangopoulos writes: "The commission worked conscientiously and the facts reported in their memo on the rapes of Muslim women are accurate. These data, however, do not convey the entire picture of the phenomenon because, despite our protests, our directive from the EU presidency at the time made the investigation one-sided. We were not permitted to investigate the rapes of non-Muslim women as well."