Ex-head of Yugoslav army leaves jail, returns to Serbia

Former Yugoslav army chief Dragoljub Ojdanic returned to Serbia in defiant mood on Thursday after serving two thirds of a 15-year sentence for war crimes committed during the Kosovo conflict.

Ojdanic proclaimed his innocence as he arrived at Belgrade airport after being released from the UN war crimes detention unit in The Hague where he had been since his surrender in 2002.

"I am here today to say with full moral responsibility that I have not committed any crime, let alone a war crime, while serving as a commander in chief," Ojdanic, 72, told reporters at the airport.

"The international community is not ruled by justice and law, but by the rule of law and justice of those more powerful."

Ojdanic was freed on Thursday after serving two-thirds of a 15-year sentence, including time in detention while awaiting trial.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) tried him in 2009, along with five other co-accused.

Another two army generals, Nebojsa Pavkovic and Vladimir Lazarevic, Serbian police chief in Kosovo Sreten Lukic and deputy Yugoslav prime minister Nikola Sainovic, were sentenced to between 15 and 22 years in prison.

Former Serbian president Milan Milutinovic was acquitted.

It was the first ruling of the UN court on crimes committed by Serbs during the 1998-9 war in the Albanian-majority Serbian province, which subsequently declared independence in 2008.