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Milosevic Security Chiefs to Be Arraigned

May 7, 2003

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) _ Slobodan Milosevic’s secret service chiefs are to appear before a Belgrade district court judge after war crimes indictments against them arrived from the Netherlands-based U.N. tribunal, an official said Wednesday.

The court appearance is part of a procedure to extradite the two to the tribunal in The Hague, said Branko Todic, head of investigations at the District Court in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital.

Todic did not say when Jovica Stanisic, head of Serbian state security under Milosevic, and his aide, Franko Simatovic, were to make the appearance, but their handover was expected within two weeks.

They are awaiting transfer from a Belgrade jail to the U.N. detention unit near The Hague, Todic said.

Stanisic and Simatovic were arrested in Belgrade during the police investigation into the March 12 assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

Although they have not been officially charged here, authorities have linked them to the underworld and paramilitary network accused of Djindjic’s slaying. The pair are believed to have maintained influence among police and mob circles even after Milosevic’s ouster in 2000.

On Tuesday, the U.N. tribunal released their indictments, charging them with setting up paramilitary units that carried out mass murders in Bosnia and Croatia in the early 1990s.

Stanisic and Simatovic, who headed a feared Serbian special operations unit, were part of Milosevic’s regime during the 1991-1995 Balkan wars. U.N. prosecutors allege they conspired with him to purge non-Serbs from key areas of the former Yugoslavia to create a larger Serb-dominated state.

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