5 top Serbs found guilty of war crimes in Kosovo

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International judges handed down long prison sentences to five senior political, military and police officials in the government of the former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic for their roles in the 1999 war in Kosovo. But the court acquitted Milan Milutinovic, the wartime Serbian president, who had the highest rank of the men on trial but who was effectively a figurehead.

The trial held special significance as the closest that an international criminal court was likely to come to judging the actions of the Milosevic government in Kosovo, a breakaway Serbian province. Milosevic died in 2006 before the end of his own trial before the same court, the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

The Kosovo war pitted Serbian forces against an ethnic Albanian separatist guerrilla group and led to a nearly three-month bombing campaign by NATO in 1999 aimed at stopping the conflict, which threatened the stability of the south Balkans.

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