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Scorpions (paramilitary)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Active1991–1999 (Disbanded)
CountrySocialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1991)
 Republic of Serbian Krajina (1992–1995)
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1995–1999)
TypeParamilitary unit

The Scorpions (Serbian Cyrillic: Шкорпиони) was a Serbian paramilitary unit active during the Yugoslav Wars. The unit was involved in war crimes during the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. After the wars, four members of the unit were found guilty of killing six prisoners during the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995 and five were found guilty of killing fourteen civilians, mostly women and children, during the Podujevo massacre in March 1999.


The Scorpions were founded in 1991 by Jovica Stanišić, the head of Serbia's State Security Services, who also had a secret relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency.[1] It began as a regular unit of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA).[2] They identified as Chetniks (monarchist Greater Serbia troopers).[3] Dozens of men joined the unit in mid-1991.[4] Initially composed of Serbs from eastern Slavonia, the unit began its operations during the Battle of Vukovar in late 1991. It was led by two brothers, Slobodan and Aleksandar Medić, and was named after their favourite weapon—the Škorpion vz. 61. The unit was one of several hundred armed groups used by Bosnian and Croatian Serb military authorities for the purpose of terrorizing the non-Serb population in the Republika Srpska and the Republic of Srpska Krajina.[5] In 1992, the Scorpions came under the command of the Army of the Republic of Serb Krajina (ARSK).[2]

The Scorpions became part of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs at some point in 1995.[2] They participated in the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995.[5] During the Kosovo War, the Scorpions were placed under the command of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (SAJ).[2] They were involved in the Podujevo massacre in March 1999. The massacre resulted in the deaths of 14 Kosovo Albanians, mostly women and children.[6] Following the Yugoslav Wars, the majority of soldiers who fought with the Scorpions moved to the town of Šid. Some remained in Vukovar.[4]


In 2004, Saša Cvjetan was charged for his role in the Podujevo massacre and was sentenced by a Serbian court to a twenty-year jail term.[7] In 2009, four more Scorpions were jailed in Serbia for their role in the massacre. Željko Đukić, Dragan Medić and Dragan Borojević received twenty-year sentences, while Miodrag Šolaja received a fifteen-year sentence.[8] In 2005, a videotape showing the Scorpions killing six Bosniak prisoners was shown at the trial of Slobodan Milošević. The tape caused an uproar in Serbia and the actions of the Scorpions were condemned by many politicians. Several members of the unit were quickly arrested.[9] Five members of the unit were charged with the murders. In 2007, Slobodan and Branislav Medić were jailed for twenty years, Pera Petrašević was jailed for thirteen years, Aleksandar Medić was sentenced to five years and Aleksandar Vukov was acquitted.[10]

Scorpion Milorad Momić, who lived under the name Guy Monier in France, was arrested by Interpol in 2011.[11]

Slobodan Medić, his wife and son were killed in a car accident in Serbia in December 2013. Medić was returning to prison after having been granted weekend leave by prison authorities.[12]

In popular culture

A fictionalized version of the Scorpions is depicted in the 2013 film Killing Season, starring Robert de Niro and John Travolta.[13]


  1. ^ Greg Miller, "Serbian spy's trial lifts cloak on his CIA alliance" Los Angeles Times, March 01, 2009|
  2. ^ a b c d Gordy 2013, p. 225.
  3. ^ Totten & Bartrop 2008a, p. 68.
  4. ^ a b Nicholas Wood (13 June 2005). "A soldier's past catches up". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b Totten & Bartrop 2008b, p. 390.
  6. ^ "Former paramilitary fighters charged with war crimes in Kosovo". The New York Times. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  7. ^ "BBC NEWS - Europe - Serb jailed for Kosovo killings". Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Serbia jails ex-paramilitaries for killings". Reuters. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  9. ^ Totten & Bartrop 2008b, pp. 390–391.
  10. ^ "Jail for Serb video death squad". BBC. 10 April 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  11. ^ "Guy Monier, la seconde vie du Scorpion serbe Milorad Momic". Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Former paramilitary commander reportedly killed in car crash". B92. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  13. ^ Alissa Simon (30 June 2013). "Karlovy Vary Film Review: 'Killing Season'". Variety. Retrieved 16 February 2014.


This page was last edited on 24 July 2021, at 14:38
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