In 2002 John Cencich traveled to a safe house in Belgrade to interview the former head of a Yugoslav secret intelligence agency. In less than an hour, Cencich had what he needed: corroboration of information provided by another spy. This evidence would be used against Slobodan Miloševic in his war crimes trial at The Hague. For the veteran United Nations war crimes investigator, however, the mission was business as usual.
The Devil’s Garden is the inside story of the investigation and indictment of Slobodan Miloševic and the identification of fifteen coperpetrators in the joint criminal enterprise (JCE) that had resulted in the massacre of thousands of civilians. As the senior American investigator at The Hague, Cencich drew up the investigative plan, codeveloped the prosecution theory of the JCE, and wrote the first significant draft of the indictment. He also led the international team of police investigators, detectives, and special agents on the case against Miloševic and his inner circle of secret police, assassins, spies, terrorists, underworld figures, and murderous paramilitary leaders for crimes committed throughout Croatia.
Here, readers will travel alongside Cencich as he journeys to The Hague and will see how these once-in-a-lifetime experiences affect him to this day. Detailing one of the largest international criminal investigations ever undertaken, this book is a unique blend of history, international law, and true crime in Europe’s deadliest battles since World War II.
“The Devil’s Garden, a war crimes investigator’s story, is a unique book, which on the one hand presents a skilled investigator as the protagonist, but on the other manifests the complexity of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.”
—GORAZD MEŠKO, dean and professor, Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security, University of Maribor, Slovenia
“A compelling, first-hand investigator’s account of the war crimes perpetrated in the former Yugoslavia, and a fascinating re-creation of the events that led to the tragic displacement and slaughter of citizens by their own government.”
—JAY S. ALBANESE, professor and criminologist, Wilder School of Government & Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University; former chief, International Center at the National Institute of Justice; and former president, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
“John Cencich and his investigative team conducted the interviews and gathered the evidence, which enabled them to track down, and bring to justice, the architects of one of the most horrifying episodes in the history of humanity. This book will prove to be an enormously valuable resource for historians, teachers of European history, and criminal justice professionals.”
—ROY HAZELWOOD, author of Dark Dreams and The Evil That Men Do
“It was an honor to be part of such a unique group of international investigators and a significant part of history. John Cencich did a great job leading Team Four and developing the Milosevic indictment. The Devil’s Garden allows the world to see the destruction of war and what experienced investigators and a well-planned investigation can do to bring closure and justice to the victims.”
—BRENT PFUNDHELLER, former senior war crimes investigator, United Nations ICTY
“The Devil’s Garden reflects John Cencich’s calculated and determined approach to an organized investigative process. Dealing with massive pain and suffering on a grand scale, it informs future generations and underlines the ignominious consequences of war.”
—RAJIE MURUGAN, group CEO, G9 Group of Companies, South Africa
“The Devil’s Garden is an exciting, genuine, and enlightening book, which was inspired by firsthand accounts of the world of war, organized crime, and international security. John Cencich’s work at the ICTY and through this book is a triumph for truth and knowledge.”
—JANA ARSOVSKA, assistant professor of sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice