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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Secret police chief denies Milosevic role
Rade Markovic (centre right) shakes hands with former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (centre left)
Rade Markovic (right) was a loyal ally of Mr Milosevic
Slobodan Milosevic's secret police chief during the Kosovo conflict has said his orders came exclusively from the interior minister, not from the former president.

Rade Markovic, who was brought from a Belgrade jail to testify at Mr Milosevic's war crimes trial in The Hague, said he gave the former leader intelligence briefings, but his orders came from the interior minister.

Prosecutors accuse Mr Milosevic of overseeing a Serbian ethnic cleansing campaign in Kosovo, where the majority of the population are ethnic Albanians, in 1999.


When he [Milosevic] needed more information he would invite me for a briefing

Rade Markovic
He faces a total of 66 charges of war crimes in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia.

Mr Markovic said that state policy was determined by the president.

"Operational instructions came directly from the interior minister, and the guidelines for state policies were created by the head of the state and his associates," he said at the trial.

Asked who appointed him as secret service chief, Mr Markovic said: "Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic."

He said Mr Milosevic's role in his appointment was that "the president probably knew and approved it".

Milosevic denial

Mr Markovic was appointed to his post towards the end of 1998, when the conflict between Belgrade's armed forces and ethnic Albanian rebels in Kosovo was escalating.

He remained in power until January 2001, a few months after Mr Milosevic's fall.

Mr Markovic is serving a one-year jail sentence in Belgrade for destroying secret police files after a popular uprising forced Mr Milosevic from power in 2000.

He is also being investigated over his involvement in the assassination of Milosevic opponents.

On Tuesday, Mr Milosevic denied ever having ordered Serb forces to carry out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Kosovo's ethnic Albanians.

His denial came in response to the testimony of a Serb police officer who reported Mr Markovic saying Mr Milosevic had commanded such an operation.


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