Beli Orlovi (White Eagles) (Yugoslavia)

Country: Yugoslavia
Details of Formation: Serbian nationalists formed armed volunteer groups, including the White Eagles, in 1991.
Details of Termination: There is no direct termination evidence, but the last reported evidence of the White Eagles dates from when they were pulled out of Kosovo in June 1999. The White Eagles were linked to the Milosevic government; after Kostunica took over power, there is no more evidence about the White Eagles.
Purpose: --
Organisation: There is some ambiguity in sources, as some evidence suggests that the White Eagles were protected by the JNA, while others point to a link with the police force. Likewise there are many accounts of who their leader was. Sources mention that Milan Lukic was the leader, but others mention Veselin Vucelja, Dejan Jeftić, or a man named Charlie (ICTY 2009). The White eagles were the youth organisation of the Serbian National Renaissance (SNO). All volunteer units of the PGM are under the JNA command. One news source says that if he wanted, Milosevic could halt the White Eagles’ activities with a wink.
Weapons and Training: The White Eagles had automatic rifles. According to some evidence, the JNA left weapons and equipment behind for the PGM when they withdrew. (ICTY 2009)
Size: In October 1991, there were around 300-600 White Eagles in Vocin, in Croatia (ICTY 2002). A news source from 1992 estimates that there were around 30,000 Serb White Eagles. Another news source from 1999 reports that NATO estimated around 500 White Eagles in Kosovo.
Reason for Membership: --
Treatment of Civilians: The White Eagles killed civilians in Croatia (ICTY 2002) and committed murder, looting, robbery, burning villages, rapes and forcibly taking people away in the Republic of Srpska, part of Bosnia and Herzegowina (ICTY 2009). The Yugoslav Serb government jailed many White Eagles after they committed crimes in Bosnia so that they could not testify to international tribunals about war crimes. According to one news source, the White Eagles were reported to have been responsible for many foul jobs in Kosovo, which must have been committed with their leader’s blessing or direct participation.
Other Information: In Yugoslavia, the main purpose of the White Eagles was to intimidate political opposition and critical media. They were used in destabilizing actions in Bosnia and Croatia.
References: International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 2002. Testimony of Djuro Matovina.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. “PROSECUTOR v. MILAN LUKIĆ and SREDOJE LUKIĆ.“ Case No. IT-98-32/1-T. 2009, July 20.

Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD