Former Serbian interior minister dies two days after shooting himself

Sunday, April 14th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ An associate of ex-President Slobodan Milosevic died in the hospital Saturday, two days after shooting himself in the head to protest passage of a law that would have allowed his arrest and extradition to the U.N. war crimes tribunal.

Vlajko Stojiljkovic, 65, was Serbia's interior minister in charge of police under Milosevic. He was indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. Stojiljkovic shot himself Thursday on front of the federal parliament, just hours after deputies passed an extradition bill for suspects sought by the court.

Branko Djurovic, the head of the Belgrade emergency ward, said that ``despite intensive reanimation measures, Stojiljkovic died at'' 9:30 p.m. Stojiljkovic never recovered from a deep coma.

The Hague court indicted Stojiljkovic for alleged crimes against humanity during the 1999 Kosovo war, when about 800,000 Kosovo Albanians were driven from their homes and hundreds were killed by Serbian security forces. He is one of about 20 suspects believed to be in Yugoslavia.

Stojiljkovic walked out of the parliament building Thursday evening, pulled out a gun and shot himself in the temple.

The new law _ passed under threat of U.S. sanctions _ removed legal obstacles for the arrest and extradition of Stojiljkovic and the other suspects, including several top associates of Milosevic, for trial by the U.N. tribunal.