Milosevic on murder charge

Slobodan Milosevic will be tried on charges of ordering the murder of a former president of Serbia, a judge in Belgrade said yesterday.

An indictment served by a Serb special prosecutor late on Tuesday accuses the former Yugoslav president of masterminding the killing of Ivan Stambolic as well as orchestrating an attempt on the life of the veteran opposition leader Vuk Draskovic.

Judge Maja Kovacevic said that a newly established Special Court that will try Mr Milosevic and his co-accused in absentia received the indictment yesterday and proceedings would begin within two months. This is the first major indictment served by Serbia on Mr Milosevic. He is on trial for genocide at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. But in his home country the only accusation levelled against him has been for an illegal attempt to obtain a lot next to his house in Belgrade.

Mr Stambolic disappeared while jogging in a Belgrade park in August 2000. His remains were found earlier this year in a shallow grave.

The prosecutor's office named as co-defendants Radomir Markovic, Milosevic's former head of security, General Nebojsa Pavkovic, the armed forces' former chief of staff, and the former paramilitary commander Milorad "Legija" Lukovic.

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