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Serbia: We Won't Arrest Generals Wanted For War Crimes

19 October 2004 -- Serbian Justice Minister Zoran Stojkovic said today that Serbia will not arrest four of its generals who have been charged with war crimes by the United Nations court in The Hague.

Stojkovic told the daily "Blic" that the previous government concluded the arrests would be dangerous for state security and as long as the current government doesn't revoke that decision, nobody can arrest the four officers.

The generals are former army chief of staff Nebojsa Pavkovic; his former deputy, Vladimir Lazarevic; and police generals Vlastimir Djordjevic and Sreten Lukic. Djordjevic is believed to be hiding in Russia, while the three others have lived openly in Serbia.

They face charges arising from the 1998-99 conflict in Kosovo, a breakaway southern province of Serbia where ethnic Albanians are in the majority. Kosovo is currently under UN administration.

Meanwhile, also today, NATO-led peacekeepers say they wounded a Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect in a shootout as they tried to arrest him.

The NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR), said in a statement that the shooting happened early today in the southeastern town of Bileca.

SFOR did not name the suspect but said he was wanted on a "local warrant for war crimes."

The four generals have said they will not surrender to the UN court.


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