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Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister Accuses Milosevic of Ordering Ex-President’s Killing

By Jovana Gec Associated Press Writer

Published: Mar 30, 2003

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) – Serbia’s deputy prime minister linked Slobodan Milosevic and his wife to the slaying of a former Serbian president Sunday, days after police ordered her detained for questioning.

Ivan Stambolic – a political foe of the former Yugoslav leader – was killed months before Milosevic was ousted from power in October 2000. Milosevic is currently on trial at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

“It is logical to assume that the direct order (for the murder) came from the Milosevic family,” Zarko Korac told private BK television, two days after police discovered the remains of Stambolic.

No one has been charged with the crime.

Serbian authorities said Saturday that they have “credible suspicions” that Milosevic’s wife, Mirjana Markovic, was involved in the murder and threatened to issue an international arrest warrant unless she returns immediately from Russia to talk with investigators.

On Sunday, Milosevic’s daughter, Marija, told the Montenegrin daily, Publika, that her mother called from Russia, where she has been since February, and said “let them issue the warrant.”

Police say Stambolic was executed by five members of the Unit for Special Operations, who received the equivalent of about $50,000 from the unit’s commander, Milorad Lukovic – a Milosevic loyalist.

At the time, Stambolic, Serbia’s president from 1986 until 1987, was considering challenging Milosevic in presidential elections.

Lukovic is also wanted by police as a suspected organizer of the March 12 assassination of Serbia’s reformist prime minister, Zoran Djindjic – the investigation of which resulted in the discovery of Stambolic’s remains.

The prime minister’s assassination triggered a major crackdown on organized crime figures and Milosevic loyalists believed to be linked to Djindjic’s slaying. Thousands of crime figures, war veterans, former police chiefs and judges have been detained.

On Sunday, police said another key member of the so-called Zemun Clan of drug traffickers, Miladin Suvajdzic, had been arrested

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