Inside the Serbian War Machine - The Miloševic ́ Telephone Intercepts, 1991-1992
Clare College, University of Cambridge
East European Politics and Societies Volume 23 Number 1 February 2009 86-104 © 2009
Sage Publications 10.1177/0888325408326788
This article examines the arguably most interesting pieces of evidence used during the trial of Slobodan Miloševic ́ at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia—more than two hundred recordings of intercepted conversations that took place in 1991 and 1992 between Miloševic ́, Radovan Karadžic ́, Dobrica C ́osic ́, and various other protagonists on the Serbian side of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
Analysis of the intercepts presented in this article makes several important contributions to the interpretation of events in former Yugoslavia during that period. First, it identifies the ideological foundations of Miloševic ́-led Serbian war campaigns in the political influence of Dobrica Cosic ́ and his platform of “unification of Serbs.”
Second, it contributes to the vigorous debate regarding the possible deal between Miloševic ́ and the Croatian president Franjo Tudjman for the division of BiH. It confirms that negotiations took place, but that Miloševic ́ and his associates had no intention of respecting any agreement and wanted the whole of BiH until at least late 1991.
Third, it provides indications that Miloševic ́ held the position of the de facto commander-in-chief in the operations of the Yugoslav People’s Army in Croatia and BiH. And fourth, it establishes that the two institutions of force Miloševic ́ had direct legal control over—Serbia’s State Security Service and Ministry of Interior—were his principal means of control over Croatian and Bosnian Serbs and instruments in the aggression against BiH even after its international recognition.