News 10 Jul 14

Croatian Serbs ‘Controlled by Yugoslav Army’ During War

Slobodan Milosevic and the Yugoslav People’s Army were in control of the wartime campaign in Croatia, not local Serb leaders, Goran Hadzic testified at his trial in The Hague.

Marija Ristic
Goran Hadzic. Photo: ICTY.

During Hadzic’s week of testimony in his own defence, he denied having any real power in decision-making, alleging that the Yugoslav People’s Army was running everything, under the guidance of Milosevic and Serbian security chief Jovica Stanisic.

“The JNA [Yugoslav People’s Army] had all the power,” said Hadzic, who is on trial for war crimes during the 1991-95 conflict in Croatia.

“I didn’t have absolutely anything, neither the people nor the authority,” he added.

Hadzic, the former president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, a self-proclaimed Serb statelet in Croatia during wartime, is accused of a series of crimes including the deportation of tens of thousands of non-Serbs and the murders of hundreds more from June 1991 to December 1993.

According to the indictment, he was part of a joint criminal enterprise together with the Yugoslav People’s Army, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Serb paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznatovic, alias Arkan, with the aim of permanently expelling the Croatian population from Serb-controlled parts of Croatia.

Despite being charged with war crimes in 1996, Arkan never faced trial as he was killed in Belgrade in 2000. Milosevic also died during his trial in 2006, while Stanisic was acquitted in the first instance verdict for all crimes.

He also said that despite being leader of the local Croatian Serbs, he didn’t have executive power over local Serb troops.

According to Hadzic, Serb territorial defence forces and Arkan’s paramilitary units also acted together with the JNA and under its control.

“There was no difference between the JNA and Arkan. This was like one body… I saw how they were cooperating in the field, they were communicating constantly,” Hadzic said.

He also said that Arkan was Milosevic’s man on the ground.

“He told me, ‘How can someone not listen to our president Milosevic?’” Hadzic recalled.

The trial continues.

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Goran Hadzic at the Hague


Gravest Crimes in Croatia

The Hague Prosecution charges Goran Hadzic, former President of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, with crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war in Croatia in 1991 and 1992.

Timeline: Goran Hadzic

Timeline of events leading up to the arrest of Goran Hadzic.

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