A Belgrade court has quashed the treason conviction of Gen. Draza Mihailovic for his collaboration with Nazis during World War II, politically rehabilitating the controversial Serbian guerrilla commander almost 70 years after he was sentenced and shot to death by communists.

For decades, Mihailovic's fate has fueled division in Serbia, where many see him as a hero who died for political reasons.

The Higher Court of Belgrade said Thursday that the verdict from July 1946 is now "null and void.""

The ruling was met with a thunderous applause by dozens of Mihailovic's supporters who filled the courtroom. Dozens more nationalist supporters and leftist opponents of Mihailovic gathered outside and were kept apart by riot police.