Former Serbian president acquitted of Kosovo war crimes





Former Serbian president Milan Milutinovic was acquitted Thursday by the Hague tribunal of war crimes against Kosovo Albanians in 1999, but his five co-accused were given jail terms of between 15 and 22 years.

Milutinovic, 66, an ally and successor of late Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, and five co-accused went on trial in July 2006 charged with the deportation of 800,000 civilians from Kosovo and the murders of hundreds by Serb forces in 1999.

The verdict is the latest setback for prosecutors after Milosevic died in custody of a heart attack in March 2006 before a verdict had been reached in his war crimes trial.

Milutinovic was cleared on all five counts against him and ordered to be released from detention.

Former Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic, Yugoslav Army General Nebojsa Pavkovic and Serbian police chief Sreten Lukic were each sentenced to 22 years for crimes against humanity and violation of the laws or customs of war.



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