Milutinovic Acquited of War Crimes
The United Nations war crimes tribunal has found Milan Milutinovic not guilty of any war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Kosovo conflict of the 1990s.
However, five other high ranking Serb officials were sentenced up to 22 years in prison. Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Vladminir Lazarevic and Stretan Lukic were found guilty on all or some of the same charges.
Prosecutors sought up to life in prison for all six officials, accusing them of working with the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, to maintain Serb control over Kosovo by forcibly deporting thousands of ethic Albanians.
The court ruled that Milutinovic did not have “direct, individual control” over the army and that in practice, former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic “exercised actual command authority” over the army during the NATO campaign.
The case was the first trial completed by the Hague tribunal involving atrocities by Serbian forces as they battled ethnic Albanian separatists for control of Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence a year ago. A NATO bombing campaign over Serbia forced a halt on the operation.
Source: VOA News and CNN