THE SERBIAN VOLUNTEER GUARD
THE bloodiest carnage to blight Europe since the Third Reich was without doubt the handiwork of the Serbian Volunteer Guard, AKA Arkan’s Tigers.
Just like the Nazi soldiers, the Tigers were aggressive, heartless, ruthless and took a gruesomely brutal approach to ethnic cleansing.
But in contrast to Adolf Hitler, their warlord leader was much more hands-on when it came to carrying out some of the most inhumane acts of violence imaginable.
By the time the war broke out in Yugoslavia, Zeljko Raznatovic – or Arkan – was wanted in six European countries for robbery and for murder in Germany.
He’d shot his way out of a Swedish court, escaped from a Belgian jail and spent two years living in London.
A member of the Yugoslav security service, he was also one of a small number of Serbs trusted by tyrant Slobodan Milosevic and was under strict orders to kill rebel Croatians.
Intent on slaughtering his enemies in cold blood, Arkan assembled his unit in 1990, recruiting thugs from jails and football hooligans belonging to Red Star Belgrade’s notorious Ultras.
Equipped with an armoury of weapons, tanks and helicopters, given to them by Serbian police, when the war broke out in Croatia in 1991 the 10,000 Tigers were ready for action.
Members of the unit tore through different territories in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, reportedly massacring hundreds of thousands of people.
Led by Arkan, they swept into unsuspecting towns, villages and communities – raping, beating, torturing and murdering.
Officially, the Tigers disbanded in 1996, when Arkan – who was wanted by Interpol on charges of war crimes and genocide – ordered his loyal troops to join the Yugoslav Army and police to aid the fight against Muslim Albanians in Kosovo.
Arkan was eventually indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal For The Former Yugoslavia in 1997 as his paramilitary unit was charged with crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
Charges included the massacre in a Croatian town of 250 hospital patients and staff, killing 65 people in a remote village, raping a Muslim woman on a bus and holding captive 35 men in a miniscule room and starving them, resulting in two deaths.
Arkan was assassinated in 2000 in the lobby of a Belgrade hotel.