World

UN court acquits 2 senior Serbs of involvement in atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia wars

Former state security chief Jovica Stanisic, left, and former paramilitary leader Franko Simatovic, right, await their judgment at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands, Thursday May 30, 2013. The ICTY is set to deliver verdicts in the trial of two senior Serb security officials accused of supporting rebels who murdered Muslims and Croats in Bosnia's 1992-95 war. (AP Photo/Martijn Beekman, Pool)

Former state security chief Jovica Stanisic, left, and former paramilitary leader Franko Simatovic, right, await their judgment at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands, Thursday May 30, 2013. The ICTY is set to deliver verdicts in the trial of two senior Serb security officials accused of supporting rebels who murdered Muslims and Croats in Bosnia's 1992-95 war. (AP Photo/Martijn Beekman, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

A U.N. court has acquitted two former allies of the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic of setting up and arming notorious Serb paramilitary gangs that committed atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia during the 1990s Balkan wars.

The verdicts Thursday came just three months after appeals judges at the tribunal acquitted the former chief of the Yugoslav National Army of aiding and abetting atrocities by rebel Serbs in Bosnia.

Both rulings support Belgrade's often-stated assertion that it did not deliberately assist in atrocities committed by rebel Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia.

The two acquitted were Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic. A prosecutor had called for life sentences for both of them.