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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK
Top Serbs indicted for war crimes
Former Chief of Staff Nebojsa Pavkovic
Pavkovic was decorated four days after Nato's entry into Kosovo
The war crimes tribunal has indicted four top Serbian generals for alleged atrocities during the Kosovo war.

They include former Chief of Staff Nebojsa Pavkovic and current head of Serbian public security Sreten Lukic.

They are charged with the deportation and murder of hundreds of Kosovo Albanians in the first part of 1999.

Prosecutors say they were part of a joint criminal enterprise led by former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic who is on trial at The Hague.

So far none of the accused have been arrested - it is an unpopular move for a beleaguered government which is due to face a parliamentary vote of no-confidence later this week, says BBC regional analyst Gabriel Partos.

Prosecutors' hopes

The publication of the latest indictment follows months of speculation that the tribunal has been seeking the arrest of several prominent figures from Serbia's security establishment.

Nebojsa Pavkovic: Commander of the 3rd Army covering Kosovo
Vladimir Lazarevic: Commander of Pristina Corps
Vlastimir Djordjevic: chief of Serbian police
Sreten Lukic: head of Kosovo police
The secret indictment unsealed on Monday accuses the four high-ranking officials with five counts of war crimes - from murder to inhumane treatment.

Nebojsa Pavkovic, and another retired army officer, Vladimir Lazarevic, are joined by two police officers: Sreten Lukic, the current assistant minister of the interior, and Vlastimir Djordjevic, a previous incumbent in the same post.

All four held important command posts at the height of the conflict in Kosovo during 1998 and 1999.

"The accused planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of these crimes," the indictment said.

The four were to be held individually responsible for their own participation "knowingly and willingly" in the joint criminal enterprise - led by Mr Milosevic and the former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic - as well as for acts or omissions of their subordinates.

The indictment said they had co-operated in actions which resulted in the forced deportation of about 800,000 Kosovo Albanian civilians.

Major General Vladimir Lazarevic
Lazarevic was dismissed in August 2003
Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte - who is on a visit to London - has confirmed that she personally handed the indictment to Serbia's Prime Minister, Zoran Zivkovic, but he refused to accept it.

She has said she is ready to issue another 30 indictments as she wraps up her investigations by the end of 2004.

More top-ranking figures across the former Yugoslavia can expect to be named in similar indictments which are set to follow, says the BBC's Geraldine Coughlan at The Hague.

Serbia dismisses top army brass
07 Aug 03  |  Europe
Timeline: After Milosevic
01 Oct 03  |  Country profiles
At a glance: Hague tribunal
20 Feb 03  |  Europe

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