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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 22:41 GMT 23:41 UK
Profile: Dragoljub Ojdanic
Dragoljub Ojdanic,
Dragoljub Ojdanic: Faces charges of racial persecution
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By Tamara Kovacevic
During 1999, when the Yugoslav army and police committed atrocities against Kosovo Albanians, Colonel General Dragoljub Ojdanic held the position of the Yugoslav Army's chief of staff.

He commanded, ordered, instructed and regulated the actions of the Yugoslav army in Kosovo, as instructed by then President of Yugoslavia and the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, Slobodan Milosevic.

General Ojdanic also commanded the police units in Kosovo, which became subordinated to the Yugoslav army after Milosevic declared a state of war in the province 24 March 1999.

The Hague tribunal indicted General Ojdanic in May 1999 and it charges him and his co-accused with several counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, deportation, forcible transfer and persecution on political, racial and religious ground as well as one count of violations of the laws or customs of war.

Defence minister

Dragoljub Ojdanic was born on 1 June 1941 in the village of Ravni in Serbia.

He was educated at military schools and academies where he gained a Masters degree in military science.

He took part in the war in eastern Bosnia as a commander of a Yugoslav army corps.

On 24 November 1998, Mr Milosevic appointed Mr Ojdanic as his army's chief of general staff, after sacking Momcilo Perisic over disagreements regarding the policy towards Kosovo.

General Ojdanic held the position until February 2000, when he was named minister of defence in Milosevic's Yugoslav Government.

After the fall of Mr Milosevic and his government in October 2000, Mr Ojdanic lost his ministerial position, and on 30 December 2000, he was retired from military service by decree from the new Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica.

General Ojdanic has surrendered to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

A Frankfurt-based Serbian-language newspaper quoted General Ojdanic as saying: "The appearance before The Hague tribunal is my legal responsibility which has been requested by the state and the people."

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