Whistleblower denied asylum

24 February 2010 by Sebastian Gottlieb & Vessela Evrova

Austria came under fire earlier this month for refusing asylum to a Serbian man who turned over the infamous “Scorpion tape” to international prosecutors in The Hague.

The video showed the Serb paramilitary Scorpions executing six Bosnian civilians in a field near Srebrenica. The tape was played in court during the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and changed public opinion in Serbia drastically.

The video was made as a war time souvenir and passed around among members of the shadowy military unit. Its commander had ordered all copies destroyed but one ended up in the hands of Jovan Mirilo and in 2005 he gave the tape to the ICTY.

“The political situation in the country was almost the same as before 2000. Nationalism was greater than ever”, said Mirilo. “This was a sign for me, I had to do something, anything, that could show the world what life in Serbia is like”.

After handing over the video, Mirilo feared for his life in Serbia, where he is seen as a traitor. “I knew what kind of response the video would receive. It did not surprise me. It was to be expected because the Serbian society is still not ready to take responsibility for the past.”

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