Why were so many criminals recruited in the period after the disintegration of SFRJ?
Every war has its uses for dogs of war. As simple as that. The fact that in these wars criminals were raised to the level of "national heroes" was at best just decorum, and at worst a shameless ploy to maximise ROI (return of investment). Oh, and the illustration of how far, and how low, the governments at the time were prepared to go.