THE HAGUE – Serbia on Friday hailed a U.N. tribunal’s acquittal of two top figures from the regime of the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic of war crimes during the former Yugoslavia’s conflict in the 1990s.
Milosevic’s former intelligence chief and his deputy were cleared Thursday of running Bosnian death squads after the tribunal said they could not have known the units would commit such crimes.
Bosnian survivors of the conflict condemned the acquittals handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
The release of intelligence chief Jovica Stanisic, 62, and Franko Simatovic, 63, is the latest in a string of acquittals by ICTY.
Prosecutors had accused the two of organizing, financing and supplying Serb paramilitary groups between April 1991 and the end of 1995, including an elite unit called the Red Berets and Arkan’s Tigers, a feared paramilitary outfit run by Zeljko Raznatovic. These units cut a swath of destruction across Croatia and Bosnia as they murdered Croats, Muslims and other non-Serbs to force them from large areas to create a Serb-run state, prosecutors said.