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Milosevic Charged in Connection with Murder of Former Serbian President - 2003-04-25


Serbian authorities have filed charges against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in connection with the killing of former Serbian President Ivan Stamoblic nearly three years ago. Mr. Milosevic is currently on trial for war crimes charges at the United Nations tribunal in The Hague.

Serbian police have brought charges against nine people, including Mr. Milosevic and his former state security chief.

The remains of the former Serbian president were discovered weeks ago during an investigation into the assassination last month of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

Mr. Stambolic was once seen as the mentor of President Slobodan Milosevic, but the two became bitter political rivals.

Investigators believe this explains why paramilitaries linked to Mr. Milosevic abducted Mr. Stambolic as he was jogging in a Belgrade park in August 2000. They allegedly took him to a forest in northern Serbia where they shot him in the head. The killing came just weeks before a presidential election in which Mr. Stambolic was to challenge Mr. Milosevic.

Mr. Milosevic's wife, Mira Markovic, who is believed to be in Russia, is also sought for questioning in the case. Police say that a top suspect in the killing of Prime Minister Djindjic also played a major role in the murder of Mr. Stambolic. The suspect has been identified as Milorad Lukovic, a former commander of a controversial police unit formed by Mr. Milosevic.

Serbian police filed the charges with prosecutors on Thursday. The prosecutors will investigate, and decide whether to issue a formal indictment against Mr. Milosevic and the eight other suspects.