European news: Serb soldier confesses to war atrocities

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A Serbian paramilitary fighter in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia has admitted torturing and killing up to 80 people, including women, and said he cut off Muslims' ears for sale.

"I am a dead man and nothing worse can happen to me," Slobodan Misic, a former convict, told the Serbian newspaper Novine Vranjske. "I am 50 years old, and I am sick of lying."

Serbia has denied involvement in the wars in Bosnia and Croatia after they declared independence from the federation in 1991-92.

Misic's account was the first time since the wars that a Serbian paramilitary soldier has openly admitted to committing atrocities to the domestic media and public.

He said he did not regret his actions, except the murders of two Muslim women.

"I would do the same again, if something were to break out in Kosovo," he said, referring the troubled Albanian-majority province in southern Serbia.

Asked if he wasn't tired of killing, he replied: "The biggest mistake is when you kill for the first time. After that it just goes on its own ... You can't understand how it is. It gets into your blood, your brain. Like a drug. You just can't go without it."

He said he volunteered in 1991 because he "could not bear to see mass crimes against the Serb population" and was sent to the front line near Vukovar in Croatia.

The first man Misic said he killed was a Croat: "First I was scared and nauseated, but after two or three days you get used to everything." He said the largest number of people were killed in Vukovar. "They killed us, we killed them."

When the war started in Bosnia in April 1992 he joined local paramilitary units operating in eastern Bosnia. They "cleaned out the Muslim villages, one by one".

When short of funds, he said he sold Muslims' ears to Serbs for 50 German marks apiece. He said he always cut off the ears personally, and always the left ear. "One ear - one Muslim," he said. - Reuters, Belgrade