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.