White Eagles (paramilitary)
The White Eagles (Serbian: Бели орлови, Beli orlovi), also known as the Avengers (Осветници, Osvetnici), were a Serbian paramilitary group associated with the Serbian National Renewal (SNO) and the Serbian Radical Party (SRS). The White Eagles fought in Croatia and the Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav Wars.
In the 2003 ICTY Vojislav Seselj indictment, the group is included as an alleged party to the joint criminal enterprise to which Vojislav Šešelj is allegedly a party. In the indictment the group is identified as a "volunteer units including 'Chetnik', or 'Šešeljevci' (translated into English as 'Šešelj’s men')". This association has been denied by SRS leader Vojislav Šešelj.
Although the group's members were occasionally referred to as Chetniks, they are not to be confused with the Serbian anticommunist guerrilla group during and after World War II also known as the White Eagles and also referred to as Chetniks. The name White Eagles comes from an anti-communist organisation that was formed during World War II and continued a guerrilla war against Tito’s government after the war. White Eagle refers to the national symbol of Serbia, the double headed white eagle under a crown.
The White Eagles paramilitary group was formed in either late 1990 or early 1991 by Dragoslav Bokan and Mirko Jović. The group split into different fractions as Bokan and Jović went their separate ways in 1991. Jović called for "a Christian, Orthodox Serbia with no Muslims and no unbelievers". Šešelj states that the group was started by Jović but they got out of his control. According to Šešelj the White Eagles and Arkan's Tigers operated with help from the Yugoslav counterintelligence service.
Paramilitary units are responsible for some of the most brutal aspects of "ethnic cleansing". Two of the units that have played a major role in the "ethnic cleansing" campaign in BiH, the "Cetniks" associated with Vojislav Šešelj and the "Tigers" associated with Zeljko Raznjatovic (Arkan), have been active in the Republic of Serbia as well. Seselj's followers have reportedly waged "ethnic cleansing" campaigns against ethnic minorities in Serbia's provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo.
— Report of the United Nations Commission on ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Testimony at the International War Crimes Tribunal indicates that the White Eagles were responsible for a number of atrocities during the Croatian and Bosnian wars, including: the Voćin massacre, Višegrad massacre, crimes at Foča, Gacko and others. Various members of the White Eagles were indicted by the Tribunal. Mitar Vasiljević received a fifteen-year sentence.
In December, 2010 a group called "Beli Orlovi" (White Eagles) took responsibility for the killing of Kosovo's Bosniak leader Šefko Salković in the north of Kosovo. The group also took responsibility for obstructions of the election process in northern Kosovska Mitrovica, as well as for attacking KFOR troops.
- Serb Volunteer Guard, Arkan's Tigers
- Serbian paramilitary
- Serbian war crimes in the Yugoslav Wars
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- ICTY, Vojislav Seselj indictment, 15 January 2003
- "In previous wars (Bosnia, Croatia) there was a small paramilitary organisation called White Eagles, but the Serb Radical Party had absolutely nothing to do with them."Testimony of Vojislav Šešelj, Transcript of 23 August 2005, p. 43081, lines 16-18
- United Nations Commission on Breaches of Geneva Law in Former Yugoslavia
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- Testimony of Vojislav Šešelj, Transcript of 24 August 2005, p. 43128, lines 6-8
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- Testimony of Djuro Matovina, Transcript of 7 October 2002, p. 11049, lines 12-16
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- Testimony of Witness 52, Transcript of 27 March 2000
- Testimony of Witness 192, Transcript of 4 May 2000
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- "Mitar Vasiljević Sentenced to 15 Years’ Imprisonment" International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
- Prison Camps
- VOA News, Kosovo Holds First Parliamentary Election, 12 December 2010. "A Serb group calling itself White Eagles claimed responsibility for the attack - and also said it carried out the killing of a Bosniak election official last week."
- Emg.rs, Serb organization “Beli Orlovi” takes over the killing of Salkovic, 14. December 2010.
- "White Eagles - Serbian Radical Party (SRS)" Federation of American Scientists, 1998
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