A Documentary Film by the Humanitarian Law Center – The Scorpions, a Home Movie

“This, in fact, was the strength of the Scorpions, all the family ties.  […]  We all had family ties and were old friends from school.” – says Dusko Kosanovic, aka Owl, former memeber of the Scorpions.

This has been the formative pattern of local militias all over the world.  When the state uses them for opressing the population, such militias are no longer paramilitary sort of formations.  They become an isntrument of state sponsored programmes of conquest, pacification, occupation and execution.  They are thereby often tasked with assignments which regular milatary and police are not ready to accomplish.  While serving the state, militias enjoy very limited freedom of decision. But they are relatively well paid for their “patriotism“.  That was always and everywhere good enough to keep them in service and to secure the influx of fresh volunteers.

On the crimes commited in the service of the state Owl says:  “The genocide, that is the killing of those six Muslim civilians, should be condemned.  I would say it’s all been pinned on the Scorpions but, as the trial has shown and as is know, it wasn’t our commander Boco.  Now the Scorpions are being smeared and are blamed for everything.  But there was someone else who ran the operation and who made those mistakes and who is the real guilty party for all that happened.“

They used to wage war far away from their respective towns and villages, they took it to Bosnia, to Kosovo.  Goran Stoparic, also a former member of the Scorpions, says:  “Later on it became like some kind of a drug, and man can’t get himself unhooked.  Even when you decide not to go to a combat zone, some friend calls and you tell him you’re not going. Then he calls another five and, willy-nilly, you always go.“

By using the statements of former members and the materials recorded by the unit itself in course of its campaignes, this film demonstrates the functioning of a typical combat unit organized by the security service to do dirty jobs in the Balkan wars.  This is an example of the practice mushrooming in a half of the world for decades.  This film is also an attempt to cast light on the personal, intimate aspect of crime.

The film has been made owing to the financial support of National Endowment for Democracy (NED), U.S.A, and Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (SHC), Sweden.

Archival footage used in this film includes materials of Humanitarian Law Center, International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and records made by Scorpions themselves.

The film has been released on 10 April 2007, on the day of pronouncement of the verdict of the War Crimes Council of the Regional Court of Belgrade to the Scorpions for the war crime committed in Trnovo.