Thursday, April 28, 2005

Serb general pleads not guilty to war crimes

AMSTERDAM, April 28 (Reuters) - A top Serbian war crimes suspect pleaded not guilty on Thursday at the Hague tribunal to charges of planning and ordering the killing and expulsion of thousands of Kosovo Albanian civilians in 1999.

The surrender of former Yugoslav Army chief-of-staff Nebojsa Pavkovic to the U.N. tribunal on Monday removed what was widely seen as Serbia's last major obstacle to talks with the European Union on closer ties, the first step towards membership.

Pavkovic is charged with four counts of crimes against humanity and one count of violations of the laws or customs of war, including deportation, murder and persecution.

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