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The fan organization that became the "volunteer guard" and committed war crimes - voila! sport


The story of "The Tigers of Arakan". Extremist football fans who enlisted in the "Serbian Volunteer Guard" and under the leadership of a dangerous criminal, committed brutal war crimes in the Yugoslavian war

Željko "Arkan" Reznatović briefs his soldiers (YouTube)

At the demonstrations in support of the Israeli government on Monday, quite a few football fans were present.

Hours before the demonstrations, fan organizations of several teams announced going to the streets to express support for the government.

This is of course not the first nor the second time that an unstable political situation drives soccer fans out of the house in an organized and public manner.

In Israel it is about demonstrations, but in the world there have also been cases of battlefields.

The most recent example is the hooligan company of Russia.

Football fans who got a little confused between a fight in the street and a war in a nation that is fighting for its life - and massacres in Ukraine.

But there is also the example of "The Tigers of Arakan".

A petty criminal who became the leader of an organization of football fans and a war criminal.

Zeliko "Arkan" Reznatovic on the right (Photo: GettyImages, AFP)

Željko Reznatović grew up in a home where violence was part of his daily routine and was physically abused by his father - a pilot in the Yugoslav Air Force.

A beaten child in the laconic definition.

The cycle of violence and misery marked him several future paths and he chose a life of crime already in his youth.

In the 1960s he was arrested after he was caught stealing purses in the center of Belgrade and when his father decided to send him to a military boarding school, he fled to Paris.

In the capital of France he continued to commit crimes, was caught and deported back to Yugoslavia.

After returning to Belgrade, Reznatovic was sent to prison for three years and when he was released, he continued his criminal career.

Fortunately for him, his father was a close friend of the head of Yugoslavia's State Security Administration (secret police), Stana Dulanc, and this got him out of trouble with the court in exchange for help below the surface.

whistle-blowing, etc.

In the 1970s Reznatovic moved his criminal career to Western Europe - some still believe that he served as an agent of the Yugoslav government - and in 1983 he returned to Belgrade.

Over the years he became the leader of the ultras organization of the Red Star in Belgrade, "Dahlia".

Reznatovic, or as he is famously nicknamed "Arkan", has become a familiar figure on the training ground of Red Star Belgrade and a familiar face in any brawl involving the team's fans.

On weekdays he provided "guarding services" for players and members of management and on weekends he traveled to fight with fans of rival teams throughout Yugoslavia.

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A familiar figure at the Red Star Belgrade training ground.

"Arkan" (right) with convicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic (Photo: GettyImages, BOZIDAR MILOSEVIC)

In October 1990 the tension in Yugoslavia reached its peak and Reznatovic read the map and under the auspices of the crumbling country's government, established the "Serbian Volunteer Guard" (Srpska dobrovoljacka garda) - a militia of hundreds of people, most of them extreme football fans of Red Star Belgrade who have now become soldiers in the state service.

The "Serbian Volunteer Guard" was the official name, but in time the murderous militia was already known by the name by which it is still famous today - "The Tigers of Arakan".

After the Yugoslav war broke out, Reznatovic and his soldiers moved on the axis between Croatia and Bosnia, murdering civilians, raping and looting.

The name "The Tigers of Arakan" became synonymous with abysmal cruelty, unbridled animal behavior.

Football fans-soldiers who did not fight for values ​​or ideology, but only for the violence and thrill they drew from it.

Many of the "Arkan" soldiers, especially those sent to the front line, were young people from troubled backgrounds and broken families.

They were looking for a father figure and found Reznatovich, they were looking for a family and they found "Arkan's Tigers".

He knew how to recruit them, excite them, send them to commit war crimes and sometimes die.

He hoped to become legitimate with the help of football, but in Europe they did not forget the past.

"Arkan" in the days of Obilic (Photo: GettyImages, Mark H. Milstein)

After the war in Yugoslavia, Reznatovic was given the status of a hero in Serbia, but at the International Court of Justice in The Hague they began to build a thick case against him.

He established himself as a "legitimate" businessman and also returned to the world of football - he took over the Ovilić team and by force of arms and corruption led it to the championship in 1998.

To this day, it is the only team apart from Red Star Belgrade and Partizan Belgrade that won the Serbian championship after the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Reznatovic wanted to become "legitimate" through football, but was disappointed.

When Obilić was drawn for a double encounter with the giant Bayern Munich, the president of the Bavarians, Franz Beckenbauer, ordered a blanket ban on taking pictures outside the field itself, thereby avoiding a joint photo with the war criminal's wife (he himself was afraid to leave Serbia).

UEFA expressed public concern and Reznatovic was furious. According to the stories, he called two of his wartime superiors and ordered them to go to Vienna to eliminate the UEFA president, Lennart Johansson.

They went to Austria.

In March 1999, the prosecutor at the International Court of Justice in The Hague announced that he had established a case against Reznatovic with 24 charges for crimes against humanity.

It is suspected that, among other things, he commanded and participated in the transfer of dozens of people to isolated places in Bosnia - where they were executed.

In Serbia "Arkan" is considered a hero, in the world he will forever be remembered as a brutal war criminal (Photo: GettyImages, MILOS VUKADINOVIC)

Reznatovic was never prosecuted.

In January 2000, he was sitting with two friends in the lobby of a luxury hotel in Belgrade and was murdered.

Dobrosev Gavrich, a young policeman who reportedly had underworld connections, walked up to him and shot him in the head.

One of Reznatovich's bodyguards carried him into a car and quickly drove to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead there.

The well-known war criminal "Arkan" is 47 years old.

The popular explanation is that Reznatovic was shot to death because of a conflict related to the underworld, but some theories held that it was the long hand of Slobodan Milosevic and a friend of his, who feared that he would testify against them at the Hague Tribunal in exchange for a reduction in the charges against him.

"Arkan lived a life of violence so it's no surprise that he died a violent death," said British Secretary of State at the time, Robin Cook.

"Arkan" received a magnificent funeral procession in which approximately 10,000 people participated.

In those years, not long after the end of the war and months after NATO launched "Operation United Force" - the Serbian people felt that it was them against the whole world (except Russia), so Reznatovic was considered a hero. Compared to Serbia, in the world named after

Zeljko Reznatovich is still notorious today. A petty criminal who received discounts from the secret police in exchange for whistle-blowing and advanced in the world of crime. The leader of an organization of extreme football fans, who during the disintegration of his homeland turned that organization into a bloodthirsty militia. A war criminal that remains his legacy.

  • sport

  • world football


  • Zeliko "Arkan" Raznatovic

  • Serbia

Source: walla

All sports articles on 2023-03-29

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