UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Serb(ian) Paramilitaries in the Breakup of Yugoslavia

16 October 2018, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm


Part of the SSEES South East Europe Seminar Series

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







South East Europe Seminar Series


16 Taviton Street

Violence committed by paramilitary units, such as killing, beating, torture, and rape, are regularly discussed in literature covering the wars that engulfed the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. These units are described as the key perpetrators of some of the most brutal attacks on civilians. As the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) closed, it is time to examine the trial record to see what it can tell us about paramilitary units.

This presentation is based on the doctoral research examining select paramilitaries during the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, particularly those tied to Slobodan Milošević’s regime. The dissertation analyzes the prominent role and elusive function of paramilitaries by asking who were these paramilitary units, how did they emerge, function and transform? Finally, it explains what forms paramilitary violence took, and why. The paper will argue that different kinds of paramilitaries engaged in different forms of violence, fulfilling separate purposes in the overall campaign to seize and hold territory. 

As the ICTY conducted proceedings against 161 individuals, the amount of material collected in investigations and presented in the courtrooms is astonishing, and provides sources that allow a detailed study of mass violence in that period.

This is event is free and open to all, no need to register.

About the Speaker

Iva Vukusic

PhD Candidate at Utrecht University

Iva Vukusic is a PhD Candidate at the History Department of Utrecht University in The Netherlands. Her research focuses on the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. She is a visiting research fellow at King’s College London War Studies Department, and affiliate researcher at NIOD, the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam.