Suspect in Serbian PM Death Surrenders
May. 02, 2004
BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) _ A notorious paramilitary leader suspected of masterminding last year's assassination of Serbia's prime minister surrendered to police Sunday.
Milorad Lukovic, known by his nickname ``Legija,'' surrendered at 9 p.m. in Belgrade, Serbian Interior Minister Dragan Jocic said.
He had been on the run since March 12, 2003, when pro-Western Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic was gunned down by a sniper in front of his Belgrade government headquarters.
Lukovic _ who led a dreaded paramilitary unit during the 1990s wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo _ was the No. 1 suspect in the slaying. He has been tried in absentia since December along with 13 other paramilitary and gang figures.
``Legija showed up in front of his house in Belgrade and told policemen guarding the house that he wanted to surrender,'' said Miroslav Milosevic, Serbia's public security chief.
Lukovic, 39, who allegedly also led a Belgrade criminal gang, went by his nickname after serving in the French Foreign Legion in the 1980s.
His former military unit, known as the ``Red Berets,'' is suspected of committing numerous war crimes against non-Serbs during the Balkan wars. It was loyal to then-President Slobodan Milosevic, who is on trial for genocide at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
The reformist Djindjic masterminded the toppling of Milosevic in October 2000 and his extradition to the tribunal a year later. Authorities have said his assassination was part of a wider plot to unseat his government.
After the wars, Lukovic commanded an anti-terrorist police unit. A member of that unit, Zvezdan Jovanovic, is on trial on suspicion of firing the bullet that killed Djindjic.