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Hague Tribunal Acquits Milutinovic, Convicts 5 Others

The United Nations war crimes tribunal has found former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic not guilty of crimes against humanity during the Kosovo conflict of the 1990s. But the court in The Hague sentenced five other government and military officials to terms of up to 22 years in prison.

The court sentenced former Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic, General Nebojsa Pavkovic, and Serbian police General Sreten Lukic to the 22-year terms. It gave former Yugoslav Army Chief-of-Staff Dragoljub Ojdanic, and General Vladimir Lazarevic terms of 15 years each.

Prosecutors had sought 20 years to life in prison for the six, accusing them of having worked with former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to maintain Serb control of Kosovo by forcibly deporting thousands of ethnic Albanians.

The court also convicted some of the five of responsibility for atrocities against ethnic Albanians committed by Serb troops.

The case was the first trial completed by The Hague tribunal involving atrocities by Serbian forces as they battled ethnic Albanian separatists for control of Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence a year ago.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.