“Doing the actual work itself wasn’t difficult. When it got difficult was when the relatives of the people who were being exhumed from the graves appeared on the scene, and hearing the wailing and the crying and them all clasping and hugging each other. Once you start to introduce emotion, which that certainly did, then it became difficult.”
Glyn Morgan has worked in the coordination of intelligence that helped bring about the prosecution of the former Bosnian Serb Leader, Radovan Karadžić, who was found guilty of the Bosnia genocide, the worst war crime in Europe since World War Two. Glyn has spent over 30 years working for a number of organisations including the UK Police, the British Army and Europol. He now works as a consultant in international crimes; war crimes and cross border organised crime. He has worked in eight different war zones, including Syria, South Sudan, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo.
In the summer of 1999, Glyn spent time working in Kosovo, as the country was beginning its independence after the deadly conflicts across the Balkan states when Yugoslavia crumbled. Part of his job, involved the exhumation of mass graves of people who had been killed in the war there. He remembers it vividly:
“That was the first time that I had seen dead bodies; dead bodies on a large scale; dead bodies in a pretty poor state of decomposition and... that’s something that I will never forget.”
At the time, Glyn was working as a military intelligence analyst for The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). He had worked with the British army for ten years, giving him a good understanding of the armies involved in conflict and the ways in which they fight each other:
“And that’s all I ever really used to think about as far as conflicts were concerned, but of course the big issue in conflicts, the things that make them criminal, is the ways in which the conflicts effect the civilian population.”
The conflicts of the former Yugoslavia had severe and deadly consequences across the Balkan states. In Bosnia, approximately 100,000 people were killed. While working in the country for the ICTY, Glyn was responsible for all analytical support to the prosecution case of the former Bosnian Serb Leader, Radovan Karadžić, the man found guilty of genocide over the 1995 massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian men and boys in the Srebrenica enclave of the country. In 2001, seven years before the former politician’s arrest, Glyn and his colleagues found substantial documents in relation to Karadžić’s prosecution. They were found during a search at the headquarters of the Banja Luka corps of the Bosnian Serb army:
“One set of documents that we found, on the face of it, appeared to be very innocuous. They were the receipts that had been issued for fuel that was being given to vehicles that were being used for transport, or excavation, in and around the area of Srebrenica. And once you started to look at the log books of those vehicles; the dates on which they had moved from their barracks; the number of kilometers that they had driven; the volume of fuel that they had to draw from the pumps each day, you could start to build up a picture of the movements of those vehicles...
And if you then displayed that on the map and showed where the barracks were that the vehicles were coming from and where the mass grave-sites were, you quickly found quite a strong correlation between the movements of the vehicles and the graves. So from that you can infer quite strongly that these are the vehicles that were used to transport the prisoners, or to dig the holes; the vehicles belong to this unit; the commander of this unit is this colonel and so on..."
In March of 2016, Radovan Karadžić was sentenced to 40 years in jail. The most senior political figure to be convicted by the ICTY, he was found guilty of ten out of 11 war charges. The judges said Karadžićhad committed crimes against humanity in Bosnian towns. They said he had intended to eliminate the Bosnian Muslim males in the town of Srebrenica - Europe's worst war crime since World War II.
Glyn says present day militant groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, or the Al-Nusra Front, whose leaders, or locations are not known can also be found and held responsible for acts committed on the ground:
“I think any large complex organisation must create some sort of a paper trail. Now, nowadays paper is, perhaps, electronic rather than on paper, but there will be text messages, bank records, or PayPal, or credit cards, because you can’t buy the volumes of weapons and ammunition that they need to do what they are doing without there being some trace.”
Glyn, who spent 11 years working for the EU criminal intelligence agency, Europol, believes militant groups are leaving further trails of discovery from the ways in which they finance themselves. He says their activities are being funded through a connection with cross border organised crime, including drug trafficking. He cites Afghanistan as an example, where, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Taliban has earned millions from the opiate trade.
“Afghanistan is the world’s biggest producer of heroin. Afghanistan is probably better known in the west, now, for the military conflict that’s going on there: the fight against the Taliban. But the instability that is present in Afghanistan makes the possibility to grow and harvest opium poppies. How do you get them from Afghanistan right the way across central Asia and into Europe? You must have people along the way with the contacts necessary to be able to cross all of those borders. So you start to see a connection between the military leadership and the criminal leadership.”
However, Glyn says there’s a further aspect to conflicts and criminality, which he believes is the most worrying: a link between the military leadership, criminal leadership and political leadership.
“People who have power in a certain area realise that there is benefit in cooperating together. How do they do that? You can do that through corruption. How do you corrupt them? By giving them money. So if you can generate that alliance between the military and the commercial and the criminal and the political, you put yourself in a very strong position...”
Listen to Glyn’s story, in his own words, by clicking the play button at the top of the page, or subscribe to Voices on iTunes.