Dušan Jocić

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Dušan Jocić (Serbian: Душан Јоцић) (August 29, 19?? - unknown), widely known as Drago is a Serbian militia leader who acquired the status of a folk hero, but was also known as a war profiteer and organized crime leader. He was involved in the fight against the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the Kosovo War of 1999 and against the National Liberation Army (NLA) in the Republic of Macedonia and the Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (UCPMB) in southern Serbia in 2001.

Early career[edit]

Jocić was born in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia (then part of Yugoslavia). His year of birth is unknown, but believed to be in the early 1980s. Around the age of 18 he was recruited by the Serbian State Security chief Rade Marković for the Yugoslav military, which was at the time involved in low-level counterinsurgency operations in Kosovo.

On February 22, 1998 a paramilitary and mercenary group called the Serb Guard was created, primarily under the auspices of the Serbian State Security forces' (SDB) general staff. It kept close connections with the Yugoslav Military (Vojska Jugoslavije) and the Serbian Ministry of the Interior (MUP). Jocić was chosen as commander of an anti-terrorist unit within the Guard that came to be known as Heroj's Squad or Death Squad. Its members could be recognized by a patch depicting a human skull on the left shoulder of their uniforms.

The unit set up its headquarters and a training camp at military facilities in Bujanovac and Tetovo, located in the border region between Serbia proper, Kosovo and Macedonia. The Guard consisted of 9,000 well-trained fighters, 4,000 of them being part of the anti-terrorist squad, equipped with modern weapons including tanks and helicopters. There are reports that out of those 4,000, 90% were convicted felons that had been allowed to join the militia under a "patriotic agreement". After 1999 the units were supplied and equipped by reserves of the Serbian Secret Police.

Kosovo War[edit]

As the situation in Kosovo deteriorated, the troop established a base camp at Dragas as well as outposts in the cities of Prizren, Zur, Vrbnica, Musnjikov, Brodosvce, Brod, and Restelica. Jocić personally led most of the combat actions of his unit. During the campaign, he is said to have been associated with looting, plunder and smuggling operations. While his units were known to be highly disciplined in combat, they nevertheless committed severe atrocities against the non-Serb civilian population. The Guard also became notorious for executing captured prisoners.

After the end of the Kosovo war in 1999, a three-mile "Ground Safety Zone" (GSZ) was established between UN-administrated Kosovo and the remainder of Serbia and Montenegro. Under the terms of the occupation, only lightly-armed police forces were permitted to patrol the area, while regular Yugoslav army units were not. Being nominally a paramilitary force under the Ministry of the Interior, the Serb Guard came to be employed for this purpose.


When in the first half of 2001 fights broke out between government forces and ethnically Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) guerillas in Macedonia, the Guard became involved on the side of the Macedonian government. During this time, it was based in the city of Tetovo and remained nominally under the authority of the Macedonian Ministry of the Interior.

When the Macedonian NLA and Macedonian state security forces agreed to a cease-fire, the Ohrid Agreement, Jocić was one of the signatories. After the official begin on August 22 of NATO operation "Essential Harvest", intended to disarm NLA forces in Macedonia, he and his troops returned to Serbia. After 2001, little information is available regarding the whereabouts of himself or his troops.

Personal life[edit]

Being a powerful man with many high-level connections and exerting significant influence over many aspects of Serbian society, Jocić always remained a very controversial person. In public he styled himself as a fighter for justice, his public persona was that of a man of his word, decisive, intelligent, but also cruel, unpredictable and nervous. Many people at the time disliked him, mainly because of his exaggerated self-confidence in public, swaggering life style and his enormous wealth, whose origin became the subject of all kinds of rumors and gossip. Among other things, he owned a lavish mansion in the elite Belgrade neighborhood of Dedinje, the part of the city preferred by many politicians and foreign embassies.

However, those close to him maintain that in private Jocić could be compassionate, emotional, charismatic and funny. He organized humanitarian aid and had it delivered to poor families and orphans by trucks at his own expense. Jocić was known for his rough behavior toward his soldiers during wartime, but also paid monthly pensions to disabled volunteers and families of slain soldiers.