- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) - Police and a Kosovo-based human rights body said Friday that a former Serb general suspected of war crimes against ethnic Albanian civilians has been detained.

Behxhet Shala of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms, said Milovan Bojovic was arrested a day earlier after illegally crossing into Kosovo at the Merdare border point.

Police spokesman Baki Kelani also confirmed the name. He said in a cell phone message that prosecutors have launched an investigation for illegal border crossing but declined to confirm war crimes charges.

A police statement said only that a male Serb citizen, who was not further identified, was arrested Thursday afternoon after “illegally crossing the Serbia-Kosovo border.”

Shala told The Associated Press by telephone that Bojovic is suspected of a number of deaths in Kosovo, holding him accountable “for crimes against unarmed Albanian civilians … crimes that have remained unpunished.”

A statement from the human rights body said that Bojovic, close to late former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, had led Serb army operation in the Llapi area, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Pristina, “committing many crimes against civilians from individual killings to mass murders.”

During the war 499 Albanians were killed and 53 were still missing in that area, it said.

In 1999, NATO bombing stopped Serbia’s bloody crackdown against Kosovo Albanian separatists. Bojovic was the military commander in Pristina at the time.

In 2008 Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, which has never recognized it.

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