Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

April 24, 2008 20:43 ET

Statement by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff on Behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 24, 2008) - Allegations have emerged from the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and reported by CTV News, that now Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie received the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for events that did not occur in Croatia in 1995. These allegations are false.

General Leslie's actions in leading the rescue of forty people are beyond refute and well documented in support of the MSM. While a small error exists in the citation regarding the exact identity of the people in peril, there can be no doubt that these forty souls were saved as a result of General Leslie's actions. Furthermore, the rescue operation was cited as but one demonstration of General Leslie's leadership as Chief of Staff, Sector South HQ in Croatia. It was for his overall performance during the operation that General Leslie received the award.

The process for identifying, documenting and awarding high honours is detailed and rigorous. It requires a recommendation from the Commanding Officer to the Commander of Expeditionary Operations. The supported recommendation must then be also supported by the Canadian Forces Decorations and Commendations Advisory Committee, which in turn make a recommendation to the Chief of the Defence Staff. The CDS then makes a recommendation to the Governor General, upon whose final authority the award is granted.

It is not up to General Leslie to defend his receipt of this award. That is the responsibility of this institution and I can say without any hesitation whatsoever, that the events occurred and that General Leslie was properly recognized for his actions. Major-General (ret'd) Alain Forand, General Leslie's commanding officer at the time has been contacted and is unequivocal in his belief that General Leslie is deserving of the MSM.

LGen Walter Natynczyk, VCDS

On behalf of Gen Rick Hillier, CDS

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