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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 11:57 GMT
Milosevic allies trial adjourned
Jovica Stanisic. File photo
Jovica Stanisic is reported to have stomach cancer
The trial of Serbia's two former intelligence chiefs at The Hague war crimes tribunal has been adjourned because one of the accused was absent.

Lawyers for Jovica Stanisic said he was too ill to attend.

Mr Stanisic and Franko Simatovic face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the wars in Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s.

They deny the charges. It is not known when the trial - which had already been delayed for a week - will now open.

The decision to adjourn the trial was taken at a closed session by judges at The Hague tribunal on Monday.

Mr Stanisic and Mr Simatovic are accused of directing Serbian forces that committed atrocities during the wars in the former Yugoslavia, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Franko Simatovic. File photo
Franko Simatovic commanded Yugoslav special forces

They are accused of a "joint criminal enterprise" with former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, that involved murder, persecution and deportation.

Observers say the case - when it opens - will be the first since the Milosevic trial to show the extent of Serbia's involvement in the conflicts.

Tribunal observers say it could also shed light on the alleged role of Western governments, as well as Serbia, in the Balkan wars.

This case is closely linked to the former Yugoslav president's trial, which ended without a verdict two years ago when Milosevic died of a heart attack in his prison cell.

The judges have ruled that part of the testimony from the Milosevic trial, which has been confidential up to now, may be used in court.

Serb suspect reaches Hague
30 May 03 |  Europe
Obituary: Slobodan Milosevic
11 Mar 06 |  Europe
Country profile: Serbia
08 Mar 08 |  Country profiles

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