Yugoslav Army Aided Serbs In Aggression Against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Serbian tactics of denial of its aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and of war crimes committed in the early 1990’s never cease to shock, infuriate and rivets sharp chill-spikes into the spine. The tactics range from playing the victim (when in fact the aggressor), blatant denial, and twisted justification to appearing to discover and rediscover the same thing over and over again that might shift blame to someone else…

The Humanitarian Law Centre (HLC) in Belgrade presented Friday 15 June a dossier/report (“Dossier: Yugoslav People’s Army in the Wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina”) (click for full PDF Dossier here) on documenting the role of Yugoslav People’s Army, JNA, after the Serbian leadership headed by Slobodan Milosevic took over control of the army in order to accomplish its wartime goals.

While by using the “Yugoslav People’s Army” (JNA) tag, Serbia may even within this frame try and wriggle out of its responsibility of aggression and war crimes committed as matter of systematic enforcement, even if the fact remains that at the time when the war of aggression commenced against Croatia (1990/1991) the Yugoslav People’s Army was made up 90% of Serbs and Montenegrins the above said report states that by the beginning of 1992, 90% per cent of all JNA recruits were Serbs.

The HLC’s Dossier, gives examples of war crimes perpetrated or assisted by the JNA, but fails to give a full list of all its wartime operations.

While this Dossier may not be seeing as delivering much new ground regarding Serb aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, it does offer a valuable insight, with factual documentation, how the JNA, the army of all nations and nationalities of former Yugoslavia, transformed from that Yugoslav army into the Serbian army from the end of the ’80s and especially in the early 1990s to support, embolden and strengthen only one side in the war conflict that would last years after – the Serb side; commit ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs, genocide, mass murder, torture, rape, pillage and plunder across Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Furthermore, the Dossier contributes significantly to lifting the veil off the confusion parts of the outside world may have held about the differences between the Yugoslav and Serb armies/aggressors. The Dossier in no uncertain terms portrays the fact that the two were Serb dominated and controlled. JNA maintained an impression of being neutral during the conflict, but the Dossier confirms that it was never as such. JNA was, in fact, a part of Serb aggression.

“The intention was… to point out the pattern by which the supposedly Yugoslav army participated in achieving the war goals of only one side, the Serbian one,” the HLC said in the Dossier.

According to the HLC’s research, by the early 1990s the ethnic composition of the JNA was heavily restructured, with the number of Serb officers rising and officers of other ethnicities leaving the army. In early 1992 remaining Bosniaks and Croats in the JNA were fired from high-ranking positions, and in some cases they were pressured to retire from duty, the Dossier maintains.

By April 1992, around 90 per cent of all JNA officers were Serbs and Montenegrins, while by the start of that same year 90 per cent of all recruits were Serbs, according to the report. (As a reminder, Serbia and Montenegro joined forces into the so-called Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, while aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina raged, while all other republics of the former Yugoslavia declared independence and secession from communist party controlled Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; it was only in 2006 when the two went their separate ways, after Montenegro’s referendum ended the union with Serbia.)

The first part of the HLC’s Dossier addresses the war in Croatia, showing how the JNA initially created buffer zones between the battling sides, only to relinquish control over those zones to enable the leadership of rebel Croatian Serbs to take over.

After that, the JNA sided openly with the Croatian Serb rebel forces, shelling Croatian cities and participating in battles together with Serb paramilitaries and the army of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (within Croatian territorial borders), a self-proclaimed wartime Serb-led statelet in Croatia, the Dossier says.

The Dossier describes examples of military operations from 1991 in which the JNA committed war crimes or “prepared the field” for crimes committed by Serb units with which it cooperated.

These include the indiscriminate shelling of Croatian towns and cities such as Dubrovnik, Vukovar, Zadar and Sibenik, as well as attacks on areas of Croatia during which ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs was carried out. The section of the Dossier concerning the participation of the JNA in the war in Croatia, there is information on the sites in Croatia and Serbia under the control of the JNA, in which crimes were committed against Croats who were taken into various concentration camps and the like.

The Dossier outlines the pattern of JNA operations during the most vicious acts of aggression and conflict against Croatia, and part of the same against Bosnia and Herzegovina. I.e., how JNA functioned until May 1992 when it withdrew from the conflict and Serbs remained relentless in their slaughter of non-Serbs. JNA at the beginning of the conflict, says the Dossier, was a force that was between two sides and acted as some buffer between the warring sides, however, even in that period and the buffer zone that JNA on face created in Croatia between the Croatian and Serbian sides it had handed over to the Serbs of Krajina and Eastern Slavonia – even though those territories were occupied by Serbs but within Croatia’s sovereign territory.

The Dossier also summarises the evidence on JNA’s role in arming Serb formations in Croatia and Bosnia before the conflict and the assistance it provided to Serbian armies in Croatia and BiH after the JNA units were officially withdrawn from these republics.

“It is apparent that after the decision to withdraw the JNA from BiH in May 1992, its units simply changed their name and became units of the Republika Srpska Army without changing the command structure, the number and weapons,” HLC says in the Dossier summary, and concludes that “the newly-formed Bosnian Serb army started with a significantly stronger position than any other military structure within BiH (led by other ethnic groups/ Croats and Bosniaks).” These findings are supported by military documents.

The Dossier says that the JNA, while still involved in conflicts in Croatia, established cooperation with the Serb Democratic Party in Bosnia and Herzegovina, SDS (Serb Democratic Party), which was founded by Radovan Karadzic, an ICTY convicted war criminal.

“After retreating from Croatia in the first months of 1992, the JNA shifted its military activities to Bosnia,” the HLC says.

In its second part the Dossier concentrates on how the JNA helped the SDS take power in six Bosnian municipalities that would be included in the territory of the self-proclaimed Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, later renamed Republika Srpska. The part of sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina occupied by Serbs, which brutal occupation ended with the Srebrenica genocide of Bosniaks.

The Army of Republika Srpska’s command was formed mostly of members of the JNA’s 2nd Military District Headquarters, whose commander Ratko Mladic, ICTY convicted war criminal, was named commander in chief of the Bosnian Serb military force.

It will be quite a sight to watch when Serbian leaders, digest this Dossier and try referring to it in some new twisted, contemptible way of attempting to hold onto their delusions that Serbia was never an aggressor against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ina Vukic



  1. Reblogged this on Ace News Desk.

  2. Great post Ina and able to know exactly when you post as l follow so many l can now add in notifications and they come up on my feed in comments so you can pick the best of those to reblog …. Ian ⭐️😊👍

  3. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  4. The tactic of the Serbian is believed only by Russia and Romania

  5. Salim Kumar Das says:

    nice post

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