Military Wiki
Veljko Kadijević
Вељко Кадијевић
5th Federal Secretary of People's Defence

In office
15 May 1988 – 8 January 1992
Preceded by Branko Mamula
Succeeded by Blagoje Adžić (acting)
Personal details
Born 21 November 1925(1925-11-21) (age 97)
Glavina Donja, Imotski, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Nationality Serb
Political party SKJ
Military service
Allegiance Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Service/branch Yugoslav People's Army
Years of service 1943–1992
Rank General of the Army
Commands Yugoslav People's Army (JNA)
Battles/wars Yugoslav Front (World War II)

Ten-Day War (Slovenia)
War in Croatia

Veljko Kadijević (Serbian Cyrillic language: Вељко Кадијевић

born 21 November 1925) is a former General of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA).[1] He was the Minister of Defence in the Yugoslav government from 1988 until his resignation in 1992,[2] which made him de facto commander of JNA during the Ten-Day War in Slovenia and the initial stages of the War in Croatia.


Kadijević was born in the village of Glavina Donja (part of Imotski), then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, to a Serb father and a Croatian mother. He self-declared as a Yugoslav. In 1943 he joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and their armed wing, the Yugoslav partisans, amid World War II in Yugoslavia. He remained in active duty after the war and finished the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1963. Kadijević became the fifth minister of defence in Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Following the collapse of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, he was one of the founders of the party called League of Communists - Movement for Yugoslavia. In May 1991 he stated that if federal and republic officials "failed to ensure Peace, the Yugoslav armed forces could efficiently do so themselves."[3] After resigning from his post at federal secretary of people's defence, Kadijević retired and lived in Serbia.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) tried to contact him in the spring of 2001. He was to be called as witness, he however fled to Moscow the next day.[4] He applied for refugee status in 2005 and received Russian citizenship on 13 August 2008 by decree of president Dmitry Medvedev.[5] As of 2008 he is still living in Moscow.[4]

Legal proceedings

The first indictment for Kadijević was issued in November 1992 in Bjelovar, second one in 2002 in Vukovar and third one in May 2006 by Osijek-Baranja County's attorney general. On March 21, 2007 Croatian Ministry of Interior issued an arrest warrant for Kadijević for "war crimes against the civilian population".[6] Interpol issued an arrest warrant on March 23, 2007.[7]

After Kadijević received Russian citizenship the Croatian Government sent a request to Russia for the extradition of Kadijević. However it is still unknown whether Russia will comply.[8]

According to Marko Attila Hoare, a former employee at the ICTY, an investigative team worked on indictments of senior members of the ‘joint criminal enterprise’, including Milošević, Kadijević, Blagoje Adžić, Borisav Jović, Branko Kostić, Momir Bulatović, among others. However, upon Carla del Ponte’s intervention, these drafts were rejected, and the indictment limited to Milošević alone, as a result of which most of these individuals were never indicted.[9][10]

2007 public appearance

Public interest in Kadijević and his whereabouts intensified again in 2007. It was widely speculated at the time that he was living in Florida, United States, which proved to be false.[11] In March 2007 Croatian press reported seemingly contradictory information: that Kadijević is working as a special counsel to the U.S. Army in search for bunkers in Iraq, and also that he is in Moscow as a guest of Dmitry Yazov.[12] On 26 March 2007, the Croatian news portal published an interview with Kadijević in which he confirmed that he is a military adviser to the Coalition in Iraq, but stated that it "doesn't mean that he is permanently located there", without stating his current whereabouts.[13]

In early October 2007 Kadijević finally surfaced in Moscow where he attended the presentation of his latest book Kontraudar: Moj pogled na raspad Jugoslavije.[14] After that, 81-year-old Kadijević gave interviews to both Serbian and Croatian media. On November 9, 2007 he was interviewed by journalist Olivera Jovićević from Serbian public broadcaster RTS and the interview aired November 13, 2007 in prime time as a special edition of her Upitnik programme.[15] The very next day, November 14, Croatian Radiotelevision's journalist Josip Sarić conducted an interview with Kadijević .[16] In those interviews Kadijević stated that he lives in Russia since 2000 where he has a refugee status. Ha said that he found out about the Ovčara massacre only after retiring because the head of his intelligence, general Aleksandar Vasiljević didn't inform him of this event.[11] He claims that neither he nor the Yugoslav People's Army committed any war crimes in former Yugoslavia because it was the only legal armed force in Yugoslavia at the time. He also stated that both he and the JNA were just trying to prevent illegal armament and to defend Yugoslavia from emerging paramilitaries. He also stated that ICTY is not a court but a political institution, so he does not recognize that court.[17]

Furthermore, he stated that he and the army never considered military putsch as an option in solving the Yugoslav crisis.[18] This statement is in stark contrast with the claims of president of SFRY presidency Borisav Jović who says that precisely Kadijević and the army suggested the putsch as a way out of the crisis but then changed their minds four days later.[18] Kadijević's response to this was that "Jović is lying".[18] Kadijević proceeded to mention a meeting two days after the huge protests organized by Vuk Drašković on the streets of Belgrade in Jović's office to which Kadijević had been invited by Slobodan Milošević where, according to Kadijević, Milošević requested that the army take control of the country through a military coup.[18] Kadijević's apparent response was informing Milošević that he couldn't make such a decision by himself, and that he'd discuss the request with army leaders and later inform Jović's office about their decision.[18] Kadijević then said that their decision was against the putsch and that he informed Jović's office in written form about it.[18] Jović for his part, claims that such document doesn't exist.[18]


  1. [1]
  2. "Smrt Jugoslavije / Učesnici događaja". Retrieved 2005-08-09. 
  3. Dr. Timothy L. Sanz and Dr. Jacob W. Kipp. "The Yugoslav Peoples's Army: Between Civil War and Disintegration". Retrieved 2005-07-04. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 SEEbiz. "Veljko Kadijević dobio rusko državljanstvo" (in Serbian).,26300.html. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  5. (Russian) УКАЗ Президента РФ от 13.08.2008 No 1219
  6. (Croatian) Arrest warrant by Croatian police
  7. Interpol arrest warrant for Kadijević
  8. "Russia won’t extradite ex-Yugoslav defense minister" 1 October 2008 Link accessed 01/10/08
  9. Attila Hoare, Marko (January 10, 2008). "Florence Hartmann’s ‘Peace and Punishment’". Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  10. Attila Hoare, Marko (June 2005). "The Capitulation of the Hague Tribunal". BalkanWitness. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 (Croatian) Partial interview with Kadijević on HTV
  12. (Croatian) March 2007 article on Kadijević's whereabouts
  13. (Croatian) Interview with Kadijević on
  14. (Serbian) Kadijević in Moscow
  15. RTS interview with Veljko Kadijević, November 2007
  16. (Croatian) Kadijević HTV-u naplatio intervju?
  17. (Croatian) Rusija bi trebala uhapsiti Kadijevića
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 RTS interview with Veljko Kadijević, November 2007

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Branko Mamula
Federal secretary of people's defence
15 May 1988 – 8 January 1992
Succeeded by
Blagoje Adžić (acting)

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