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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Profile: Milosevic's loyal policeman
Vlajko Stojiljkovic reviewing a parade
Stojiljkovic headed a 100,000-strong force
Vlajko Stojiljkovic, the former Serbian interior minister who has attempted suicide, was a leading figure in the crackdown on the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo.

He was in charge of the special police who moved into Albanian villages in 1998, months before the start of the Nato bombing campaign, killing residents and setting houses on fire.

Stojiljkovic file
Born 1937
Interior Minister from 1997 - 2000
Indicted 1999
Shot himself 2002
He himself was a frequent visitor to the province, where his men - in their blue combat fatigues and armoured cars - were a feared sight.

The UN war crimes tribunal indictment against him accuses him of aiding and abetting "a deliberate and widespread campaign of terror and violence directed at Kosovo Albanian citizens".

It says the objective was to expel "a substantial proportion of the Kosovo Albanian population from Kosovo in an effort to ensure continued Serbian control over the province."

Immunity


I'm not hiding, and I will attend every session of the federal parliament

Vlajko Stojiljkovic
The thick-set Mr Stojiljkovic had pledged never to surrender to the tribunal alive, and refused to recognise its authority.

He once said he would only appear before it to testify in defence of former President Slobodan Milosevic.

"I'm not hiding, and I will attend every session of the federal parliament," Mr Stojiljkovic said in early April, as pressure for his arrest and extradition grew.

He argued that as a member of parliament, enjoying immunity from prosecution, his arrest would be an illegal act.

Born in 1937, Vlajko Stojiljkovic began his career as an officer in Pozarevac, Mr Milosevic's home town.

It was with Mr Milosevic's support that he was appointed Serbian deputy prime minister and interior minister in April 1997.

Exhumation

The post put him in charge of a 100,000-strong police force, including 15,000 paramilitaries, and made him a bulwark of Mr Milosevic's power.

He was indicted by the war crimes tribunal in May 1999, and resigned on 9 October, 2000 following the election that brought Vojislav Kostunica to power.

Yugoslav reformers despised Mr Stojiljkovic for the police crackdown against anti-Milosevic protesters in the late 1990s, and for ordering police to attack the crowds who forced Mr Milosevic to cede power after the 2000 election.

Mr Stojiljkovic is also accused of direct involvement in the operation to move the bodies of dead civilians out of Kosovo in 1999, in order to remove incriminating evidence.

He is alleged to have received the order from Mr Milosevic, and passed it down the chain of command to regional police commanders, whose men carried out the grisly task.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Alix Kroeger
"He vowed never to surrender alive"
Daniel Bukumirovic, Yugoslav journalist
"Stolilijkovic is unlikely to survive"
See also:

11 Apr 02 | Europe
Belgrade approves war crimes law
01 Apr 02 | Europe
Bosnia genocide suspect arrested
19 Feb 02 | Europe
Kostunica attacks Milosevic trial
30 Jun 01 | Europe
The Hague's wanted men
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