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Serbian Police Consider Arrest Warrant for Milosevic's Wife - 2003-03-30

Serbian police are considering issuing an international arrest warrant for the wife of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who is wanted for questioning about the killing of a former Milosevic ally turned rival. Serbian authorities say Mirjana Markovic is currently in Russia.

Late last week, Serbian police found the bullet-riddled remains of Ivan Stambolic after a nearly three-year search, and began to immediately round up suspects, including aides to Slobodan Milosevic's wife, Mirjana Markovic.

Police say Ms. Markovic has not been formally charged in connection with the case, and there has been no independent confirmation that she is in Russia. However, according to the police, Ms. Markovic wielded considerable political influence at the time of the Stambolic murder and they would like to question her.

Serbian police were trying to sort out the recent assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic when the Stambolic case took a surprising turn.

In the course of rounding up and questioning nearly 2,000 suspects in the Djindjic murder, Mr. Stambolic's body was found in a lime pit in northern Serbia. He disappeared while jogging in a Belgrade park back in August 2000.

Mr. Stambolic served as Serbia's president for one year before being overthrown by Slobodan Milosevic in a 1987 coup.

Serbia's Interior Minister, Dusan Mihajlovic, said the Djindjic investigation has shed new light that now leads investigators to believe Mr. Stambolic was abducted and shot dead by Milosevic special police.

After his overthrow, Mr. Stambolic mostly withdrew from politics but he had been rumored to be a possible candidate to run against Mr. Milosevic in presidential elections in mid-2000. Months later, he disappeared.

Former Yugoslav leader Milosevic is currently on trial at the U.N. tribunal in the Hague, accused of war crimes in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.