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Serb war crimes fugitive arrested

Story Highlights

• Vlastimir Djordjevic taken into custody in Montenegro
• Djordjevic indicted for killings of Kosovo Albanian civilians in 1998-99
• Former Serb police general second fugitive to be arrested in three weeks
• He was long thought to be hiding in Russia
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(CNN) -- Former Serbian officer Vlastimir Djordjevic, accused of war crimes during the 1999 crackdown on Kosovo Albanians, was arrested in Montenegro, a court official has told CNN.

Djordjevic has been missing since 1999 when he was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Authorities in Montenegro, Serbia and ICTY prosecutors cooperated in the effort that led to his arrest, ICTY representative Aleksandra Milenov told CNN Sunday.

Djordjevic was arrested in the coastal resort town of Budva in neighboring Montenegro, Rasim Ljajic, head of Serbia's council for cooperation with The Hague, told Reuters. Djordjevic was thought to be hiding in Russia, Reuters said.

Djordevic, who was born in 1948, was assistant minister of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs and chief of the Public Security Department from 1997 until 2001. He commanded Yugoslav forces in Serbia and Kosovo and is accused of covering up crimes of those forces.

He has also been charged with crimes committed in Kosovo against ethnic Albanian civilians in 1999, including the deportation of some 850,000 Kosovo Albanians, as well as the murder of several hundred others.

Some of victims' bodies were transported to secret mass graves in Serbia. One of the graves is in the suburbs of Belgrade.

His alleged co-perpetrators are currently on trial in The Hague, where the ICTY is based.

Djordjevic is the second Serb fugitive to be held in three weeks.

His arrest marks a change of course by Serbia's month-old government after a year of inaction and defiance and raises the question of whether the tribunal's most wanted fugitive, Ratko Mladic, might at some point follow him into custody.

Vlastimir Djordjevic was long thought to be hiding in Russia.


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