Jovan Gvozdenovic (John Kennedy)

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Jovan Gvozdenovic (John Kennedy) was a Serbian lobbyist prominent in British politics in the early 1990s. He is now the Grand Chancellor of the Royal Montenegrin Order of Danilo, as well as the recipient of that same Montenegrin order.[1]

According to the BBC, Gvozdenovic arranged a 1993 visit by MPs David Clark and John Reid to the Richemond Hotel in Geneva, "...where both met Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Dr David Owen and other players in the bid to end the war in Bosnia." The MPs were later censured for having failed to declare the trip in the Register of Member's Interests. According to the BBC, it was "...claimed that [Gvozdenovic] settled the bills. But Dr Clark says that he believed then that the United Nations had paid for the hotel and he still believed that now. The ministers said if they were mistaken, then they regretted this."[2]

The Serbo-Croat transliteration of Kennedy's English name is Džon Kenedi.[3]


Lobbying for Serbia

1992: a close adviser to Karadzic

Kennedy and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic held a press conference at the House of Commons on July 15, 1992, where they presented a dossier titled "Concentration Camps In The New Europe, 1992".[10] According to the Yugoslav News Agency, monitored and translated by the BBC,

"John Kennedy, a member of the British Conservative Party, presented to the news conference a documentation proving the existence of concentration camps for Serbs in Bosnia-Hercegovina. There are 20 such camps, and 6,000 Serbs have been held at the stadium Kosevo in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo alone, Kennedy said..."[11]

An Associated Press report identifies Kennedy as an adviser to Karadzic who was actively involved in the peace negotiations with the Bosnian Croats and Muslims at the time:

"Croat leader Mate Boban and John Kennedy, an adviser to Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, said the cease-fire was to begin at 6 p.m. Sunday."[12]

A Point of Order

In January 1995, Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay raised the following point of order in the House of Commons:[7]

"Have you received a request from the Secretary of State for Defence to make a statement later today, or would you allow him to do so, to clarify the apparent conflict and embarrassment that arises from the fact that his parliamentary private secretary, the hon. Member for Norfolk, North-West (Mr. Bellingham), has declared in the Register of Members' Secretaries and Research Assistants that Mr. John Kennedy of John Kennedy Associates, a public relations firm, is his researcher or secretary? I draw the matter to your attention because John Kennedy has been the spokesperson for the unrecognised Bosnian Serb Government and for Radovan Karadzic in London. Clearly, on the face of it, there is an acute conflict of interest and it is an embarrassment to the Secretary of State..."

And later that year, the London Evening Standard claimed that Gvozdenovic had

"...long been a frequent visitor of both Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic. He has organised trips to Belgrade with parties of British MPs and - acting in conjunction with Ian Greer Associates - lobbied on behalf of Serbian industrialists until stopped by the imposition of UN sanctions. Sadly, Ian Greer Associates may not be too keen to throw its unique spin-doctoring skills behind Kennedy's election campaign. For despite IGA severing its links with him in 1992, Kennedy continued to list the lobbyist on the Commons register of those with parliamentary passes until earlier this year, when the company found out and asked him to desist from claiming any association."[8]

SourceWatch resources


  2. "Ministers Failed to Declare Expenses When in Opposition", BBC News, 1997.
  3. A recent mention of Jovan Gvozdenovic ("Džon Kenedi"), Standard Magazin (Serbo-Croat), August 11-12, 2006.
  4. "John Kennedy (United Kingdom)", Intelligence Newsletter, February 16, 1995. Available via Lexis-Nexis.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Alan Hamilton, "Palace denies involvement in royal aide blackmail case", The Times, January 28, 1995. Available via Lexis-Nexis.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Nigel Dempster, "From Prince to a Princess", Daily Mail, December 12, 1995. Available via Lexis-Nexis.
  7. 7.0 7.1 House of Commons Hansard Column 589, January 27, 1995.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Passing shot", Evening Standard, November 30, 1995. Available via Lexis-Nexis.
  9. Tom Carter, "Belgrade's UK Lobby Decimated", Bosnia Report, The Bosnian Institute, June - August 1997.
  10. Radovan Karadzic and John Kennedy, "Concentration Camps In The New Europe, 1992", July 15, 1992. Hosted at the Balkan Repository Project.
  11. "Reports on mediation in brief; Karadzic in London Serbs ready for cease-fire, backing from Conservative MP", Yugoslav News Agency in Serbo-Croat via BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, July 16, 1992. Available via Lexis-Nexis.
  12. John Daniszewski, "Three Sides Sign Cease-fire Accord", Associated Press, July 17, 1992. Available via Lexis-Nexis.

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