US forensic psychologist George Hough, defense witness claims that Milan Lukic is 'a peaceful man'.

US forensic psychologist George Hough, defense witness claims that Milan Lukic is 'a peaceful man'.

US forensic psychologist has testified about the emotional and cognitive state of the accused Milan Lukic. In an interview in the UN Detention, the psychologist learned that Lukic’s favorite book was The Bridge on the Drina and his favorite movie Pretty Village, Pretty Flame

At the trial of Milan and Sredoje Lukic, the defense of the first-accused called another US expert, forensic psychologist George Hough. Hough analyzed the credibility of three prosecution witnesses based on the transcripts of their evidence and evaluated the current emotional and cognitive state of the accused.

In his analysis of the evidence of Zehra Turjacanin, Dr. Hough noted that it had to be heard with a ‘third ear’, as her memory could be distorted by trauma and this could result in ‘mistaken identity’. Zehra Turjacanin is the only survivor from the house in Bikavac. According to the indictment, on 27 June 1992 the two accused detained and burned alive dozens of women, children and old men there. In Hough’s words, the ability of witness VG-115 to offer relevant and coherent information was diminished by the post-traumatic stress disorder. VG-115 is a Serb woman from Visegrad who claims to have witnessed a number of murders perpetrated by Milan Lukic and the ‘living pyres’ in the Pionirska Street and in Bikavac. Hough described the evidence of the third witness he evaluated, VG-63, as ‘clearly a case of misperception’ because the witness mentioned a tattoo Milan Lukic didn’t have today.

Taking the court through Milan Lukic’s life and times, Dr. Hough concluded that the accused was ‘a peaceful man’, showing no signs of hostility towards other ethnic groups and no ‘indications of psychopathic behavior’. In their interview in the UN Detention Unit the accused admitted he had ‘killed people, but only in combat’. After the first kill, Lukic told Hough, he ‘realized he didn’t want to kill any more’, but remained an active-duty soldier. Lukic also denied that he took part in the crimes against civilians, claiming that he was convicted by a kangaroo court in Serbia. Lukic was sentenced to 20 years for abduction and murder of 16 Muslims from Sjeverin. In Milan Lukic’s words, the trial in Serbia reminded him of ‘Stalin’s times’.

According to the US psychologist, Milan Lukic is ‘not a deeply intellectual person’ although he has read some books. As Lukic confided in the interview, his favorite book is The Bridge on the Drina and his favorite movie is Pretty Village, Pretty Flame.

Many witnesses have said that Milan Lukic killed Muslims on the Old Bridge in Visegrad and then threw their bodies in the Drina River; the indictment charges him with setting up two ‘living pyres’ where some 140 women, children and old men were burned alive. Seen in this light, his choice of the favorite book and movie seem like yet another morbid message similar to the image of Milan Lukic in the dock prominently displaying the holy book of Islam, Qur’an.

The US psychologist will be cross-examined tomorrow by the prosecution.

Taken from here.


VGM Editor’s note:

What is interesting in Mr. Hough’s  “psychological portrait” is Milan Lukic’s most favorite book and film. “The Bridge on the river Drina” was written by Ivo Andric and it shows the “Turks” (i.e. Bosnian Muslims) in a very negative portrait in Visegrad. Pretty village, pretty flame (1996) is a biased Serb film about the Bosnian war,  where Serb crimes are shown in an ironic image.  For the purposes of filming this movie, an East Bosnian village near Visegrad called Medjedja was burnt down.

Additional reading: Of Bogomils, Race and Ivo Andric and The Saddest Eyes I’ve Seen: Visegrad, Ivo Andric and Christoslavism by Michael Sells


  1. George Hough has written about politicial psychopathology, looking at group dynamics from a clinical perspective. In an article by Hough that Richard Koenigsberg uses to develop the idea of a collective psychopathology at http://www.ideologiesofwar.com/docs/rk_collective.htm Hough and his co-author in developing the concept of a “psychotic fantasy of masochistic group death” show how a leader can be both the “victim and perpetrator of a large group’s masochistic unconscious wishes and yearnings for death and martyrdom.” I’m not sure how much this applies to Lukic himself, but there seems to be some interesting stuff there that may throw a bit of light on how the wider community to which he belonged sanctioned the activities of Lukic and his associates – and continues to defend them.

  2. At one point Koenigsberg observes “When nations wage war or commit acts of genocide, it is as if human beings have gone berserk. People become hysterical and engage in extreme forms of behavior: murder, torture, etc. I read of a case of an SS-man standing at the entrance to a death camp. A Jewish mother with her baby was coming into the camp. The baby smiled at the SS-man. The mother released the baby from her arms and handed him to the SS-man, thinking the baby would be protected. The SS-man grasped the baby by the ankle and smashed his head against a stone wall.

    This behavior would not be characterized as a disorder according to current psychiatric practice—because it was socially acceptable within the cultural context in which it occurred. Violent, bizarre acts like this one occurred on a daily basis within Nazi culture. By gentleman’s agreement, psychiatrists have agreed that only individuals can suffer from psychopathology—not entire societies.”

    This behaviour of the SS officer mirrors some of the more extraordinarily obscene actions I have heard reported from Bosnia. Quite apart from the baby killed in the Pionirska Street incineration it also made me think about the son of the woman raped by Lukic whose throat Lukic slit with his mother’s kitchen knife.

    Was Lukic’s behaviour “normalised” by the cultural context in which it occurred? Had Lukic showed any evidence of psychopathological behaviour of this nature before the war? What enabled him to act as he did without regard for the consequences for himself or anyone else?

    Thanks for keeping Lukic and his trial before our eyes.

  3. visegrad92 Says:

    Owen, to answer your question about Lukic’s pre-war behavior: I really don’t know. It is hard to find out, except if one could find medical evidence in pre-war archives.
    But there are several things that should be known about Lukic’s past which may be important: 1) He was de facto raised up by a Muslim women, a neighbor whom he robbed at the beginning of the war.
    2) His first love was a Muslim girl, whose surname is Cavkusic. Chuck Sudetic in his book “Blood and Vengence” documented that Lukic in July 11 1995 in Srebrenica personally asked her mother about her whereabouts, and unfortunately he took her father “in an unknown direction”, he most probably murdered her father.
    3) He spent some time before the war with the Serb diaspora in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. He still has an uncle in Austria if I am not mistaken. So there is no doubt that he had first-hand experience with Serb nationalists there.
    There have been some reports that he visited a psychiatrist in Uzice after the war.
    The most important thing however is that he is still the same, he showed the same war-time behavior in court when he brought the Holy Kor’an and placed it on his table so as to provocate Muslim witnesses.

  4. Thanks for the background, Visegrad92. In a way it’s easier to understand the political monsters like Mladic and Karadzic. The pathology of a Milan Lukic is something that is extraordinarily difficult to grasp. Provocation may be a defensive tactic. But the person who uses that tactic knows that it involves making the target relive the original experience of powerlessness at the hands of the perpetrator. As you suggest, it shows an absence of any sense of remorse.

  5. Abdul Majid Says:

    Men like that – As I said before, what kind of mother could produce such a monster? – do not deserve to walk this earth. But hanging him, beheading him, having him shot by a firing squad, putting him in a gas chamber; giving him a lethal injection…this would be too quick, too painless. He should be made to go through all he made his victims go through. He should die a thousand deaths. Before that he should be paraded in the streets so that people could throw rotten eggs or tomatoes, or better, their old shoes at him. Whenever I hear the name Milan Lukic, Radovan Stankovic or some such, images of drawing and quartering, breaking on the wheel, crucifixion, impaling, tying to the muzzle of a cannon or burning at the stake come to my mind. I can’t help it. He is a sadist and a sociopath; why so many Serbs are like that is hard to grasp; well, most probably because wirth the Greater Serb ideology and Islamophobia, such acts became accepted behavior. That most Serbs do not feel regret or remorse but continue to brag and to defend those acts and their perpetrators…well to say the least it does all the contrary of giving me a good impression about those people. For me, they have resigned from the human race. But then, on the other hand, to subject Milan Lukic to some sort of medieval punishment; or to unleash on the Serbs the same fate they intended for the Bosniaks – annihilation – would be most inhuman and reduce those who would do it to the same baseness and evil. I strive to be morally better, and so I believe do most Bosniaks. Besides of that, there would be enormous practical difficulties. Even so, if most Serbs still think like that, sometimes I wish that some kind of Morgenthau Plan were applied to their wretched and accursed nation. Even if it would mean reducing them to a technological and cultural level of the early 17th century and starving one-third of their population; but then again, for moral, humanitarian and practical reasons this can’t be done.
    Therefore it would suffice if Milan Lukic and all those who committed similar crimes were locked up for the rest of their natural lives in solitary confinement in an underground cell without any natural light, so they would never see the sun again, never hear a bird sing, never breathe fresh air again, receive no packages nor letters from their relatives, never send any letters home, be, for all effects, buried alive (btw. the Americans have trested the inmates of Guantanamo much, much worse than that.). And as for Serbia, is aggressive capacity must be nullified and it has to be made to remove fascism, aggression and interference and any claims on its neighbor countries’ territories and populations from its political agenda and from its history syllabus exactly as Germany and Japan were after 1945.

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