Spanish police arrest key witness in Milosevic trial

Spanish police arrested the alleged killer of a Yugoslav human rights leader who had papers on him incriminating former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in assassinations when he was gunned down in 1990, authorities said today.

Veselin Vukotic was arrested over the weekend at Madrid’s Barajas airport as he got off a flight from Paris, police said in a statement. It said he is believed to have been living in Spain’s north-eastern city of Barcelona with his wife and daughters under various aliases.

Vukotic could be a key witness in the genocide trial against Milosevic that is currently taking place at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, police said.

The human rights leader, Enver Hadri, was shot in the head allegedly by Vukotic and two other men while he was stopped at traffic lights in Brussels, Belgium, on February 25, 1990.

He is also wanted for the murder in a Belgrade discotheque a month later of one of his alleged accomplices in the Hadri murder, identified in the police report as Andrija L. The third Hadri shooter, identified as Darko A., was killed in 1995. Two other people were gravely wounded in the Belgrade disco attack.

Seven years later, Vukotic allegedly killed another man, this time in a disco in Montenegro.

Police say Vukotic managed to avoid capture since 1990 through the use of a number of false identities, evading authorities in Europe and Latin America. He stayed at luxury hotels and was constantly on the move, but it is unclear how he financed the lifestyle.

When he was arrested at Madrid airport, he was carrying a high-quality counterfeit Croat passport and driver’s licence in the name of Ludvig Bulic, but police had been tipped to his arrival and were waiting for him.

Vukotic, wanted in Belgium and the former Yugoslavia, was to be brought before Spain’s National Court in Madrid. The UN tribunal trying Milosevic has also “shown great interest” in his detention, police said.

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