over the conflicts that ripped apart Yugoslavia will finish his days in
prison, but in Belgrade, men closely linked to wartime strongman
Slobodan Milosevic are returning to high-profile jobs. UN judges in The Hague sentenced former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic to life in jail on Wednesday, after finding him guilty of genocide during the 1990s fighting.
almost 20 years after the last war in the Balkans, some of Milosevic’s
men who served time for their roles in the violence or who remain open
admirers are regaining prominent positions.
an ultranationalist information minister under Milosevic, though he has
since tried to distance himself from the strongman, portraying himself
as a reformist leading Serbia towards European Union membership.
other former associates have remained openly loyal to Milosevic, who
was indicted by the former Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal but died in
custody in 2006 during his trial at The Hague.
was an active war propagandist in the 1990s as head of the state
broadcaster Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), was named editor in chief
of Vecernje Novosti, a newspaper partly owned by the state, in September.
in an interview with the Telegraf news site in 2014, he said the
“demonising” of Milosevic was a result of “foreign powers’ pressure”.
a prominent Serbian journalist, wrote in October that he felt “scared”
since “every day more and more of Milosevic’s old buddies are being
who have served prison sentences for their roles in the war crimes of
the 1990s have also made their way back to leading posts.
Sainovic, another deputy prime minister in the Milosevic era, was
appointed two years ago to a top body of Serbia’s Socialist Party, the
junior partner in the governing coalition.
move came after his release from jail in 2015 after serving two-thirds
of an 18-year sentence for crimes against ethnic Albanians in the
1998-1999 Kosovo war.
a Serbian commander during the Kosovo conflict, was named a lecturer at
Serbia’s military academy — two years after spending a decade in jail
for war crimes.
a foreign affairs spokeswoman, saying political leaders should foster
“trust, dialogue and tolerance” to overcome the legacy of war.
when contacted by AFP, the academy said Lazarevic had only been invited
to give a lecture, and had not been given a full-time position.
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The appointments of hardliners contrast with what appear to be more progressive moves by Vucic, such as the selection this year of Ana Brnabic, a technocrat with a business background to be Serbia’s first female — and gay — prime minister.
But Gordy also said the revival of Milosevic’s old guard could simply be “a sign of just how unproductive the field of political power is.”
“The constant return to old ideas and figures, no matter how discredited or, in some cases, convicted, indicates how few new ideas and people have been produced in Serbian politics in this century.”