Template:Infobox President

Slobodan Milošević (sometimes transliterated as Miloshevich)(Serbian pronunciation: [sloˈbodan miˈloʃevitɕ]  (13px listen); Serbian Cyrillic: Слободан Милошевић) (20 August 1941, Požarevac, Yugoslavia – 11 March 2006, The Hague, Netherlands) was President of Serbia and of Yugoslavia. He served as the President of Socialist Republic of Serbia and Federal Serbia from 1989 until 1997 and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000. He also led the Socialist Party of Serbia from its foundation in 1990.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) charged Milošević with alleged crimes against humanity, violating the laws or customs of war, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and alleged genocide for his role during the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

Milošević resigned the Yugoslav presidency amid demonstrations, following the disputed presidential election of 24 September 2000. He was arrested by Yugoslav federal authorities on Saturday, 31 March 2001, on suspicion of corruption, abuse of power, and embezzlement. He was also arrested by the ICTY, or the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, a UN committee, on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the customs of war.[1][2] The initial investigation into Milošević faltered for lack of hard evidence, prompting the Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić to send him to The Hague to stand trial for charges of war crimes instead.[3]

Milošević conducted his own defense, but the trial ended without a verdict because he died during the proceedings, after nearly five years in the War Criminal Prison in The Hague.[4] Milošević suffered from heart ailments and high blood pressure. He died of a heart attack.[5][6][6][7] The Tribunal denies any responsibility for Milošević's death. They claim that he refused to take prescribed medicines and medicated himself instead.[8]

Early life

Milošević, by origin, was a Vasojevići clan Montenegrin, born and raised in Požarevac, Serbia during the Axis occupation of World War II. His parents separated soon after the war. His father, Svetozar Milošević, shot himself in 1962[9], while his mother, Stanislava Koljenšić, a school teacher and also an active member of the Communist Party, committed suicide in 1972[10].

He went on to study law at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law, where he became the head of the ideology committee of the Yugoslav Communist League's (SKJ) student branch (SSOJ). While at the university, he befriended Ivan Stambolić, whose uncle Petar Stambolić had been a president of Serbian Executive Council (the Communist equivalent of a prime minister). This was to prove a crucial connection for Milošević's career prospects, as Stambolić sponsored his rise through the SKJ hierarchy.

On leaving university in 1960, Milošević became an economic advisor to the Mayor of Belgrade. Five years later, he married Mirjana Marković, whom he had known since childhood. Marković would have some influence on her husband's political career both before and after his rise to power; she was also leader of Milošević's junior coalition partner, Yugoslav Left (JUL) in the 1990s. In 1968 he got a job at the Tehnogas company, where Stambolić was working, and became its chairman in 1973. By 1978, Stambolić's sponsorship had enabled Milošević to become the head of Beobanka, one of Yugoslavia's largest banks; his frequent trips to Paris and New York gave him the opportunity to learn English.

Rise to power

On 16 April 1984 Slobodan Milošević was elected to a two-year term as president of the Belgrade League of Communists City Committee.[11]

On 21 February 1986 the Socialist Alliance of Working People unanimously supported him as presidential candidate for the SKJ's Serbian branch Central Committee.[12] Milošević was elected by a majority vote at the 10th Congress of the Serbian League of Communists on 28 May 1986.[13]

Milošević emerged in 1987 as a force in Serbian politics after he declared support for Serbs in Kosovo who claimed they were being oppressed by the government of the Serbian autonomous province of Kosovo which was dominated by Kosovo's majority nationality, ethnic Albanians. Milošević claimed that Albanian authorities had abused their powers, that the autonomy of Kosovo was allowing the entrenchment of separatism in Kosovo, and that the rights of the minority Serbs in Kosovo were being regularly violated. As a solution, he called for political change to reduce the autonomy of Kosovo, protect minority Serb rights, and initiate a strong crackdown on separatism in Kosovo.

Milošević was criticized by opponents who claimed he and his allies were attempting to strengthen the position of Serbs in Yugoslavia at the expense of Kosovo Albanians and other nationalities which they accused of being nationalist which was a taboo in the Yugoslav Communist system and effectively a political crime as nationalism was identified as a violation of the Yugoslav Communists' commitment to Brotherhood and Unity. Milošević always denied allegations that he was a nationalist or that he exploited Serbian nationalism in his rise to power. In a 1995 interview with TIME, he defended himself from these accusations by claiming he stood for every nationality in Yugoslavia, (though he notably made no direct or indirect mention of Macedonians or Montenegrins who are often seen by Serbs in Serbia as being Serbs by ethnic heritage): "All my speeches up to '89 were published in my book. You can see that there was no nationalism in those speeches. We were explaining why we think it is good to preserve Yugoslavia for all Serbs, all Croats, all Muslims and all Slovenians as our joint country. Nothing else."[14]

As animosity between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo deepened during the 1980s, Milošević was sent to address a crowd of Serbs in Kosovo Polje on 24 April 1987. While Milošević was talking to the leadership inside the local cultural hall demonstrators outside clashed with the local Kosovo-Albanian police force.

The New York Times reported that "a crowd of 15,000 Serbs and Montenegrins hurled stones at the police after they used truncheons to push people away from the entrance to the cultural center of Kosovo Polje."[15]

Milošević heard the commotion and was sent outside to calm the situation. A videotape of the event shows Milošević responding to complaints from the crowd that the police were beating people by saying "You will not be beaten".[16] Later that evening, Serbian television aired the video of Milošević's encounter.

In Adam LeBor's biography of Milošević, he describes that the crowd attacked the police and Milošević's response was "No one should dare to beat you again!"[17]

The Federal Secretariat of the SFRY Interior Ministry however, condemned the police's use of rubber truncheons as not in keeping within the provisions of Articles 100 and 101 of the rules of procedure for "conducting the work of law enforcement", they had found that "the total conduct of the citizenry in the mass rally before the cultural hall in Kosovo Polje cannot be assessed as negative or extremist. There was no significant violation of law and order."[18]

Although Milošević was only addressing a small group of people around him – not the public,[19] a great deal of significance has been attached to that remark. Stambolić, after his reign as President, said that he had seen that day as "the end of Yugoslavia".

Dragiša Pavlović, a Stambolic ally and Milošević's successor at the head of the Belgrade Committee of the party, was expelled from the party during the 8th Session of the League of Communists of Serbia after he publicly criticized the party's Kosovo policy. The central committee voted overwhelmingly for his dismissal: 106 members voted for his expulsion, eight voted against, and 18 abstained.[20]

Stambolić was fired after Communist officials in Belgrade accused him of abusing his office during the Pavlović affair. Stambolic was accused of sending a secret letter to the party Presidium, in what was seen as an attempt to misuse the weight of his position as Serbian President, to prevent the central committee's vote on Pavlović's expulsion from the party.[21][22]

In 2002 Adam LeBor and Louis Sell would write that Pavlović was really dismissed because he opposed Milošević's policies towards Kosovo-Serbs. They contend that, contrary to advice from Stambolić, Milošević had denounced Pavlović as being soft on Albanian radicals. LeBor and Sell assert that Milošević prepared the ground for his ascent to power by quietly replacing Stambolić's supporters with his own people, thereby forcing Pavlović and Stambolić from power.[23][24]

In February 1988, Stambolić's resignation was formalized, allowing Milošević to take his place as Serbia's President. Milošević then initiated a program of IMF-supported free-market reforms, setting up in May 1988 the "Milošević Commission" comprising Belgrade's leading neoliberal economists.[25]

Anti-bureaucratic revolution

Starting in 1988, the Anti-bureaucratic revolution led to the resignation of the governments of Vojvodina and Montenegro and to the election of officials allied with Milošević.

According to the Hague indictment against Milošević: "From July 1988 to March 1989, a series of demonstrations and rallies supportive of Slobodan Milosevic's policies - the 'Anti-Bureaucratic Revolution' - took place in Vojvodina and Montenegro. These protests led to the ouster of the respective provincial and republican governments; the new governments were then supportive of, and indebted to, Slobodan Milosevic."[26]

Milošević's supporters say the anti-bureaucratic revolution was an authentic grass-roots political movement. Reacting to the indictment, Dr. Branko Kostić, Montenegro's then-representative on the Yugoslav state presidency said, "Well, it sounds like nonsense to me. If a government or a leadership were supportive of Milošević, then it would be normal for him to feel indebted to them, not the other way around." He said Milošević enjoyed genuine grassroots support because "his name at that time shone brightly on the political arena of the entire federal Yugoslavia ... and many people saw him as a person who would be finally able to make things move, to get things going."[27] Kosta Bulatović, an organizer of the anti-bureaucratic rallies, said "All of this was spontaneous" the motivation to protest was "coming from the grassroots."[28]

Milošević's critics claim that he cynically planned and organized the anti-bureaucratic revolution to strengthen his political power. Yugoslav president of presidency Stjepan Mesić said, "Milošević, with the policy he waged, broke down the autonomous [government in] Vojvodina, which was legally elected, in Montenegro he implemented an anti-bureaucratic revolution, as it's called, by which he destroyed Yugoslavia."[29] Commenting on Milošević's role in the anti-bureaucratic revolution, Slovene president Milan Kučan said, "none of us believed in Slovenia that these were spontaneous meetings and rallies."[30] He accused the Serbian government of deliberately fanning nationalist passions and Slovene newspapers published articles comparing Milošević to Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, a one-time Marxist who turned to nationalism. Milošević contended that such criticism was unfounded and amounted to "spreading fear of Serbia".[31]

In Vojvodina, where 54 percent of the population was Serbian, an estimated 100,000 demonstrators rallied outside the Communist Party headquarters in Novi Sad on 6 October 1988 to demand the resignation of the provincial leadership. The majority of protesters were workers from the Vojvodina town of Bačka Palanka, 40 kilometres west of Novi Sad. They were supportive of Milošević and opposed the provincial government's moves to block forthcoming amendments to the Serbian constitution.[32][33][34]

The New York Times reported that the demonstrations were held "with the support of Slobodan Milosevic" and that "Diplomats and Yugoslavs speculated about whether Mr. Milosevic, whose hold over crowds [was] great, had had a hand in organizing the Novi Sad demonstrations."[35]

The demonstrations were successful. The provincial leadership resigned, and Vojvodina League of Communists elected a new leadership.[36]

In the elections that followed Dr. Dragutin Zelenović, a Milošević ally, was elected member of the SFRY Presidency from Vojvodina[37]

On 10 January 1989 the anti-bureaucratic revolution continued in Montenegro, which had the lowest average monthly wage in Yugoslavia, an unemployment rate of nearly 25 percent, and where one-fifth of the population lived below the poverty line. 50,000 demonstrators gathered in the Montenegrin capital of Titograd (now Podgorica) to protest the republic's economic situation and to demand the resignation of its leadership.[38]

The next day Montenegro's state presidency tendered its collective resignation along with the Montenegrin delegates in the Yugoslav Politburo. Montenegro's representative on the federal presidency, Veselin Đuranović, said the decision to step down "was motivated by a sense of responsibility for the economic situation."[39][40]

Demonstrators were seen carrying portraits of Milošević and shouting his name, but the New York Times reported "there is no evidence that the Serbian leader played an organizing role" in the demonstrations.[41]

Multiparty elections were held in Montenegro for the first time after the anti-bureaucratic revolution. Nenad Bućin, an opponent of Milošević's policies, was elected Montenegro's representative on Yugoslavia's collective presidency[42] and Momir Bulatović, a Milošević ally, was elected Montenegrin President.[43][44]

Amending the constitutions of Serbia and of Yugoslavia, 1989-1992

Starting in 1982 and 1983, in response to nationalist Albanian riots in Kosovo, the Central Committee of the SFRY League of Communists adopted a set of conclusions aimed at centralizing Serbia’s control over law enforcement and the judiciary in its Kosovo and Vojvodina provinces.[45]

In 1986 Serbian president Ivan Stambolic established a commission to amend the Serbian Constitution in keeping with conclusions adopted by the federal Communist Party.[46]

The constitutional commission worked for three years to harmonize its positions and in 1989 an amended Serbian constitution was submitted to the governments of Kosovo, Vojvodina and Serbia for approval.

On 10 March 1989 the Vojvodina Assembly approved the amendments, followed by the Kosovo Assembly on 23 March, and the Serbian Assembly on 28 March.[47][48][49]

In the Kosovo Assembly 187 of the 190 assembly members were present when the vote was taken: 10 voted against the amendments, two abstained, and the remaining 175 voted in favor of the amendments.[50][51]

Although the ethnic composition of the Kosovo Assembly was over 70 percent Albanian,[52] Kosovo-Albanian nationalists reacted violently to the constitutional amendments. The UPI wire service reported that "unrest began [in Kosovo] when amendments were approved returning to Serbia control over the province's police, courts, national defence and foreign affairs ... mass demonstrations turned into violent street rioting when demonstrators began using firearms against police." According to the report the rioting killed 29 people and injured 30 policemen and 97 civilians.[53]

In the wake of the unrest following the 1989 constitutional amendments, ethnic Albanians in Kosovo largely boycotted the provincial government and refused to vote in the elections.[54][55] Azem Vllasi, leader of the League of Communists of Kosovo, was arrested for inciting rioting amid a strike by Kosovo-Albanian miners.[56] In the wake of the Albanian boycott, supporters of Slobodan Milošević were elected to positions of authority by the remaining Serbian voters in Kosovo.

The anti-bureaucratic revolutions in Montenegro and Vojvodina coupled with the Albanian boycott in Kosovo effectively meant that Slobodan Milošević and his supporters held power in four out of the eight republics and autonomous provinces that made-up the Yugoslav federation. Whether this was cynically engineered by Milošević is a matter of controversy between his critics and his supporters.

Because Milošević's supporters controlled half of the votes in the SFRY presidency, his critics charge that he undermined the Yugoslav federation. This, his detractors argue, upset the balance of power in Yugoslavia and provoked separatism elsewhere in the federation.

Milošević's supporters contend that the representatives of the SFRY presidency were elected according to the law. They say that Milošević enjoyed genuine popular support so it was perfectly logical for his allies to be elected to the presidency. His supporters dismiss allegations that he upset the balance of power in Yugoslavia as a propaganda ploy designed to justify separatism.

In 1990, after other republics abandoned the League of Communists of Yugoslavia and adopted democratic multiparty systems, Milošević's government quickly followed suit and the 1990 Serbian Constitution was created. The 1990 Constitution officially renamed the Socialist Republic of Serbia to the Republic of Serbia and abandoned the one-party communist system and created a democratic multiparty system.

After the creation of a multiparty system in Serbia, Milošević and his political allies in Serbia elsewhere in Yugoslavia pushed for the creation of a democratic multiparty system of government at the federal level, such as Serbian state media appealing to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in early 1992 with the promise that Bosnia and Herzegovina could peacefully coexist in a democratic Yugoslav federation alongside the republics of Serbia and Montenegro.[57] Outside of the Serb population, the remainder of Bosnian and Herzegovinian population voted in favour of secession. In the aftermath, Serbia and Montenegro agreed to create the new Yugoslav federation called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992, which dismantled the remaining communist infrastructure and created a federal democratic multiparty system of government.

Civil and political rights in Serbia and Yugoslavia under Milošević's rule

Milošević's government polices on civil and political rights when serving as Serbian President and later Yugoslav president were controversial.

Milošević's government exercised influence and censorship in the media. An example was in March 1991, Serbia's Public Prosecutor ordered a 36-hour blackout of two independent media stations, B92 Radio and Studio B television to prevent the broadcast of a demonstration against the Serbian government taking place in Belgrade.[58] The two media stations appealed to the Public Prosecutor against the ban but the Public Prosecutor failed to respond.[59]

Upon the creation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Milošević's government engaged in reforms to the Serbian Penal Code regarding restrictions on free speech were seen by critics as highly authoritarian. In particular Article 98 of the Serbian Penal Code during the 1990s punished imprisonment of up to three years for the following:

"...public ridicule [of] the Republic of Serbia or another Republic within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, their flag, coat of arms or anthem, their presidencies, assemblies or executive councils, the president of the executive council in connection with the performance of their office..."[60]

The federal criminal code for Yugoslavia also protected the presidents of federal institutions, the Yugoslav Army and federal emblems.[61] Both the Serbian and federal Yugoslav laws granted limited exemptions to journalists.[62] The result was multiple charges against a variety of people opposed to the policies of the Serbian and Yugoslav governments even including a Serbian cartoonist who designed political satire.[63]

Milošević’s role in the Yugoslav wars

Milošević's role in the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s is a matter of considerable controversy. His detractors accuse him of starting the wars in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. They accuse him of inciting Serbian nationalism in a murderous drive to carve "Greater Serbia" from the ruins of Yugoslavia. His supporters say that he was a peacemaker who wanted to preserve Yugoslavia. They say he vehemently opposed ethnic nationalism and never advocated the creation of a Greater Serbia. They blame the outbreak of war on the republics that chose to break away from Yugoslavia. A synthesis between the two opposing views claims that Milošević took advantage of political instability in Yugoslavia to rise to power in Serbia, a decision which alienated the other republics and nationalities in Yugoslavia. As Yugoslavia collapsed, Milošević supported nationalist policies to keep his ex-communist socialist regime in power and dampen the rising support for the ultranationalist and anti-communist Serbian Radical Party.

Milošević's role according to his critics

The Hague indictment alleges that, starting in 1987, Milošević "endorsed a Serbian nationalist agenda" and "exploited a growing wave of Serbian nationalism in order to strengthen centralised rule in the SFRY.".[64] In 1988, the League of Communists of Yugoslavia tried to curtail the growing powers of Milosevic and his allies on the government structures in Belgrade, but the sacking of Milosevic-aligned politicians only turned Milosevic and his policies more popular among the then-8 million Yugoslav Serbs.[65]

The Serbian media during Milošević's era was known to espouse Serb nationalism and patriotism while promoting xenophobia toward the other ethnicities in Yugoslavia. Ethnic Albanians were commonly characterised in the media as anti-Yugoslav counter-revolutionaries, rapists, and a threat to the Serb nation.[66] The Serbian state-run newspaper Politika had a number of xenophobic headlines such as in 1991, saying "The Šiptars [Albanians] are watching and waiting".[67] Politika attacked Croats for the election of Franjo Tuđman as president, saying "Croatian leadership again shames the Croatian people".[68] Politika attempted to assert that Croats and ethnic Albanians were cooperating in a campaign against the Serbian government during the 1991 protests in Belgrade against Milošević's government, denying that Serbs took part in the protest while claiming "It was the Šiptars and Croats who demonstrated".[69] When war erupted in Croatia, Politika promoted Serb nationalism, hostility towards Croatia, and violence, on 2 April 1991, Politika's headline was "Krajina decides to join Serbia", one of Politika's stories was "Serbian unity—saving Krajina".[70] On June 5, 1991, Politika ekpres ran a piece titled "Serbs must get weapons". On June 25, 1991 and July 3, 1991, Politika began to openly promote partitioning Croatia, saing "We can't accept Croatia keeping these borders", "Krajina in the same state with Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina", and prominently quoted Jovan Marjanovic of the Serbian Renewal Movement, who said "The [Yugoslav] Army must come into Croatia and occupy the line Benkovac-Karlovac-Pakrac-Baranja" which would essentially have occupied almost all of Croatia and all the territories in Croatia that were claimed by nationalist promoters of a Greater Serbia.[71] To promote fear and anger amongst Serbs towards Croatia, on June 25, 1991, Politika reminded Serbs about the atrocities by the Croatian fascist Ustase against Serbs during World War II by saying "Jasenovac [an Ustase concentration camp in World War II] mustn't be forgotten".[72] According to Borisav Jović, who was formerly a close Milošević ally, Milošević exercised media censorship and maintained strong personal influence over Serbia's state media outlets, having "personally appointed editors-in-chief of newspapers and news programs...".[73] Serbian state media during the wars featured controversial reportage which villainized the other ethnic factions. In one such program, a Croatian Serb woman denounced the old "communist policy" in Croatia, claiming that under it "[t]he majority of Serbs would be assimilated in ten years",[74] while another interviewee stated "Where Serbian blood was shed by Ustasha knives, there will be our boundaries."[74] Various Serbian state television reports featured a guest speaker, Jovan Rašković, who claimed that the Croat people had a "genocidal nature".[74] These repeatedly negative media depictions of the opposing ethnic factions have been said to have been examples of Milošević's state media promoting fear-mongering and utilizing xenophobic nationalist sentiments to draw Serbs to support the wars.[74] The director of Radio Television of Serbia during Milošević's era, Dušan Mitević, has since admitted on a PBS documentary "the things that happened at state TV, warmongering, things we can admit to now: false information, biased reporting. That went directly from Milošević to the head of TV".[75]

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton articulated the view of many Milošević critics when he told a veterans group that Milošević "sought to expand his power, by inciting religious and ethnic hatred in the cause of Greater Serbia; by demonizing and dehumanizing people, especially the Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims ... He unleashed wars in Bosnia and Croatia, creating 2 million refugees and leaving a quarter of a million people dead ... he stripped Kosovo of its constitutional self-government, and began harassing and oppressing its people."[76]

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright explained the U.S. Government's view that, "Slobodan Milošević initiated four wars during the 1990s, including a devastating campaign of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo which killed thousands and drove almost a million people from their homes."[77]

In a speech before the U.S. Congress, Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) brought up a common view among Milošević's critics when he said Milošević "relied on virulent Serbian nationalism to instigate conflict".[78]

The CIA World Fact Book says, "Under Milošević's leadership, Serbia led various military campaigns to unite ethnic Serbs in neighboring republics into a 'Greater Serbia.'"[79]

The foundation of the war crimes charges against Milošević is based on the allegation that he sought the establishment of a "Greater Serbia". Prosecutors at the Hague argued that "the [Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo] indictments were all part of a common scheme, strategy or plan on the part of the accused [Milošević] to create a 'Greater Serbia', a centralized Serbian state encompassing the Serb-populated areas of Croatia and Bosnia and all of Kosovo, and that this plan was to be achieved by forcibly removing non-Serbs from large geographical areas through the commission of the crimes charged in the indictments. Although the events in Kosovo were separated from those in Croatia and Bosnia by more than three years, they were no more than a continuation of that plan, and they could only be understood completely by reference to what had happened in Croatia and Bosnia."[80]

Milošević was motivated to start the wars, his critics say, because of his murderous ambition to create an ethnically pure Greater Serbian state. Milošević's critics claim that forces under his command committed "atrocities against civilians as part of a systematic campaign to secure territory for an ethnically 'pure' Serb state."[81]

For his crimes, Milosevic has drawn frequent comparisons to other hated leaders of history, including Adolf Hitler[82]

Milošević's role according to his supporters

James Bissett, Canada's former Ambassador to Yugoslavia said, "the idea that Milošević entered into any sort of criminal conspiracy to establish a Greater Serbia is pure fantasy. I think the record speaks for itself, Milošević was personally involved in every attempt to negotiate a peace agreement and stop the fighting ... this goes right from the first Vance-Owen Plan, the Vance-Stoltenberg Plan, both plans which were subverted not by the Serbian side but by others."[83]

Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov categorically stated the Russian Government's view that Milošević "had no plans and conducted no actions to achieve a Greater Serbia".[84]

Milošević's supporters claim that the Hague Prosecutors could not produce a single order issued by his government to Serbian fighters in Croatia or Bosnia. Near the end of the Prosecution's case, Prosecution analyst Reynaud Theunens admitted under cross-examination that the Prosecution didn't have any orders issued by Milošević's government to any of fighters in Croatia or Bosnia. Theunens was quick to point out, "the fact that we don't have orders doesn't mean that they don't exist" and Milošević replied "There are none, that's why you haven't got one."[85]

Milošević's supporters deny allegations that Serbia attacked its neighbors in the Yugoslav federation. They say that war broke-out because secessionists in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo unilaterally seized Yugoslav territory and launched attacks against its security forces. Milošević's supporters deny allegations that Croatia and Bosnia were attacked by Serbia. They say these were civil wars in which the indigenous Serb population living in those republics resisted their forcible separation from Yugoslavia.

Although Milošević's supporters deny that he commanded the Serbian war effort in Croatia and Bosnia, they don't deny that he provided those Serbs with financial and humanitarian assistance during the war. They also readily admit that as the President of Yugoslavia, Milosevic commanded Serbian security forces in Kosovo during the war.

Accusations against Milošević of supporting nationalism and creating a "Greater Serbia" have been challenged. While Milošević portrayed himself as the leading the Serb people in Yugoslavia, unlike traditional Serbian nationalists, Milošević accepted the Republic of Macedonia as being an independent country and maintained modest relations. Furthermore despite growing Serbian nationalism, Milošević opposed Greater Serbian nationalists demands to absorb Montenegro into Serbia, and allowed Montenegro to continue to be a constituent republic with its own government throughout his tenure as President of Serbia and of Yugoslavia. Milošević saw Yugoslavia as continuing to be the state which could unify the Serb people and others like Montenegrins who at the time wished to remain in Yugoslavia. Milošević remained adamant however that a Yugoslav state respect the rights of the Serb majority and that neither Bosnia nor Croatia be allowed to leave Yugoslavia without allowing Serb-populated territories to remain within Yugoslavia.

Milošević's political allies when he rose to power were not only Serbs, but also Montenegrins and Albanians who supported the preservation of Yugoslavia from separatism. Accusations against Milošević for being discriminatory towards Croats do not account for the support of Svetozar Marović for Milošević, Marović was a Montenegrin whose father was a Croat.

Milošević's role according to a synthesis of critical and supportive views

A synthesis of analyses and information from both opponents and supporters of Milošević has led to a third assessment of Milošević's aims. This states that Milošević above all was a political opportunist.[86] Some believe Milošević's original goal until the breaking apart of Yugoslavia was to take control of Yugoslavia, with the ambition of becoming its next great leader, a "second Tito".[87][88] This position holds that throughout his career Milošević pursued political alliances and friendships with people in power in order to strengthen his own ambitions, which led him to become Serbia's second most powerful politician by the 1980s. As communism collapsed in Eastern Europe in the 1980s, Milošević took political advantage of the rising ethnic tensions between Serbs and ethnic-Albanians in Kosovo by taking the side of the Serbs who claimed that the ethnic-Albanian government in Kosovo was systematically persecuting them. Milošević's political ally and advisor Borisav Jović in the 1995 BBC documentary The Death of Yugoslavia admitted that Milošević's decision to support the Kosovo Serbs was a politically-driven one that gave him the popular support needed amongst Serbs to displace the more-neutral Serbian president Ivan Stambolić from power. Milošević's betrayal of Stambolić has been seen as an example of Milošević's ruthless opportunistic ambition, as prior to this Milošević had been a close personal friend of Stambolić, whose uncle, Petar Stambolić, was for some time the leader of the Serbian faction of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, and who had allowed his nephew and Milošević to gain important political positions in Serbia.

Milošević and other members of the Serbian leadership in the 1980s attempted to gain support amongst Serb nationalists by appealing to revisionism of the history of Yugoslavia in World War II. To do this, the Tito-era tradition of focusing on rallying the population of Yugoslavia in remembering the total casualties of Yugoslavs in World War II at the hands of Axis forces was replaced with the Milošević government's focus on remembering the Serb casualties of World War II as victims of the Croatian Ustase.[89] This attempt to gain nationalist support also had the effect of increasing the radicalization of Serbian nationalism.[90]

Though Milošević took a hard stand on ethnic Albanian separatism in Kosovo, ethnic Albanian representatives loyal to unity with Serbia and Yugoslavia were brought into power in Kosovo in 1989 with Milošević's support after the overthrow of Azem Vllasi. Ethnic Albanians continued to represent Kosovo's leadership politically until the Communist party of Yugoslavia collapsed along ethnic and republican lines in 1990. Vllasi himself revealed in The Death of Yugoslavia that Milošević only decided to overthrow him when he refused an invitation by Milošević to support Milošević's political agenda of decreasing the autonomy of Kosovo during the Anti-bureaucratic revolution.

As the other nationalities in Yugoslavia reacted negatively to Milošević's agenda to strengthen the Serbs' position in Yugoslavia, the collapse of the Communist political system led to a number of new nationalist and secessionist governments. Milošević continued the nationalist rhetoric of promising unity and security for Serbs against separatism to allow the largely ex-Communist members of his new Socialist Party of Serbia to be elected in 1990. He responded to the demands of the increasingly nationalist sentiment amongst Serbs by recognizing the legitimacy of the Serb breakaway entities and their leaders in Bosnia and Croatia as well as working with the dominant Serb faction of the Yugoslav army to give weaponry and supplies to the Serbs of Bosnia and Croatia. This action has been seen by opponents as proof that he was pursuing the creation of a Greater Serbia as Yugoslavia fell apart.

No direct orders to commit atrocities by Milošević have been discovered, though little or no effort was made by Milošević to punish people deemed responsible for such atrocities, including Ratko Mladić who, after being accused of allowing atrocities to occur against Croats in Vukovar, was sent to lead the Bosnian Serb Army, in which capacity Mladić was accused of ordering atrocities, including the murder of thousands of Bosniaks in Srebrenica. Even after the reports of Srebrenica were released, Milošević refused to accept that Mladic was responsible for the crimes he was accused of. The political climate in Serbia and Serb territories fostered the rise of ultranationalism and created tense and, at times, violent confrontations between Serbs themselves, particularly between nationalist Serbs and non-nationalist Serbs. Serbs who publicly opposed the nationalist agenda were reported to have been harassed, threatened, or killed.[91] Opponents have claimed that Milošević sponsored these attacks, while others have claimed that they were committed outside of his control. The spread of violent nationalism has also been imputed to indifference[92] or incompetence on Milošević's part.

The nationalistic thrust of Milošević's government reached its peak between 1990 and 1993 when he governed in a coalition with the support of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party, which directly promoted the creation of a Greater Serbia. In this period, Milošević adamantly supported Serbs' right to self-determination in Bosnia and Croatia, which allowed his government to maintain power with the support of the ultranationalists. The nationalist agenda in Serbia from 1990 onward led to Milošević-appointed ethnic Albanian representatives of Kosovo being replaced by minority Serb representatives ruling the majority-ethnic Albanian province. After 1993, media reports of large-scale atrocities by the Bosnian Serb armed forces, such as the long siege of Sarajevo, resulted in increased pressure and sanctions by western governments against Serbia and Montenegro to persuade Milošević to withdraw his support of the Bosnian Serb government. It is believed that Milosevic's wife told him that his alliance with ultranationalists was endangering his hold on power, and that this convinced Milošević to seize the opportunity to secure his government by abandoning nationalist rhetoric.[citation needed] Milošević abandoned his alliance with the Serbian Radical Party in 1993 and entered a coalition with liberal political forces, and declared that his government advocated a peaceful settlement to the war. The new coalition government abandoned its support of Radovan Karadzic's Bosnian Serb government and pressured the Bosnian Serbs to negotiate a peace treaty. After 1993, Milošević acted to repress the Serbian Radical Party challenge to his regime by briefly arresting its leader in 1994. During the Dayton Accord, Milošević sparred with Karadzic, who opposed the Dayton Accord, while Milošević supported the accord as it gave the Bosnian Serbs autonomy and self-governance over most of the territories they had claimed. This outcome did not result in the creation of a Greater Serbia, which Milošević critics accused him of sponsoring, though critics[who?] argue that the autonomy of Srpska opened up the possibility of Srpska joining with the rump Serb-dominated Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The next nationalist phase began in 1998, one year after Milošević was elected Yugoslav President, and in a period where liberal-minded parties had consolidated in opposition against his government, and Montenegro's government had swung to support independence from Serbia. Facing political crisis, Milošević formed a national-unity government with the Serbian Radical Party. After 1998, conflict in Kosovo intensified, and reports of atrocities in Kosovo by Yugoslav military forces and Serbian paramilitary forces against ethnic Albanian civilians led to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) launching a series of air raids against Yugoslavia to force Milošević to halt military operations and allow NATO forces to take control of Kosovo.

Milošević's views

A large number of Slobodan Milošević's interviews have been collected online by his supporters[93]. Milošević argued that the Serbian Constitution gave self-determination to peoples, not to nations. On this basis, he states that the Croatian Serbs and later the Bosnian Serbs should not have been subject to the declarations of independence by the nations of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Milošević denied that Serbia was at war during the wars in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia. Milošević was President of Serbia, not of Yugoslavia, and claims that his government was only indirectly involved through support for Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia at some points. Others including former members of his cabinet such as Borisav Jović have claimed that Milošević, while not head of state of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, in fact played a key role in the military affairs taken in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia. This included a scheme discussed and designed by both Jović and Milošević that transferred every Bosnian Serb unit from the Yugoslav army to the newly formed Bosnian Serb army upon Bosnia's separation from Yugoslavia, which meant that Yugoslavia could not be criticized for occupying parts of Bosnia as it was officially a civil war, though the Jovic admits that the Bosnian Serb army was fully funded by Belgrade because the Bosnian Serb budget was too small to support such an army.[94] Biographer Adam LeBor writes that Milošević cut off links with the Bosnian Serbs due to hyperinflation in Serbia rather than to objections over their tactics.

Milošević spent most of 1988–89 focusing his politics on the "Kosovo problem". In Kosovo, to not seem contradicting Milošević alleges that he supported the right of the Albanians to "self-determination", but not to independence, as he claimed that Kosovo was an essential part of Serbia due to its history and its numerous churches and cultural relics. He also claimed that the KLA were a neo-Nazi organisation that sought an ethnically pure Kosovo, and he argued that independence would deliver Kosovo to their hands[95].

Milošević denies that he gave orders to massacre Albanians in 1998. He claims that the deaths were sporadic events confined to rural areas of West Kosovo committed by paramilitaries and by rebels in the armed forces. Those from the Serbian army or police who were involved were all, he claims, arrested and many were sentenced to long prison sentences[96].

Former United States ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann, during his conversations with Milošević claimed that he was not a genuine nationalist, but rather a political opportunist.[97] Zimmerman has claimed that unlike other politicians which he had discussions with during the collapse of Yugoslavia, such as Franjo Tudjman and Radovan Karadzic, Milošević in public did not emphasis any hatred of ethnic groups and emphasized that Serbia would continue to be a multiethnic republic in Yugoslavia. Zimmerman has claimed that Milošević opportunistically used nationalism to allow him to rise to power in the Communist establishment in Serbia as Communism in eastern Europe became increasingly unpopular, and continued to advocate a nationalist agenda to draw in support for his government.[97] However on another occasion Milošević revealed to Zimmerman his negative attitude towards ethnic Albanians who had demanded autonomy and in the 1990s, independence from Serbia and Yugoslavia. Milošević told Zimmerman jokingly that the Albanians of Kosovo were the most pampered minority in Europe.[98] Milošević also was known to talk despondently about Slovenes, when he in conversation with an interviewer of what he thought of the Slovene delegations decision depart the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, Milošević made a derogatory joke calling the Slovene League of Communists delegation, "those stingy Slovenes".[99] Zimmerman later reported that Milošević's unusual and conflicting positions and mannerisms were almost schizophrenic in nature, as at times Milošević would behave in an arrogant, stubborn, authoritarian and aggressive in manner towards others, which staunchly supported Serbian nationalism against all opponents, while at other times he would be polite, conciliatory, and be eager and willing to find moderate and peaceful solutions to the crisis in Yugoslavia.[100] Zimmerman has concluded however that Milošević constantly demonstrated that he primarily saw Yugoslavia as a state for ensuring the unity of Serbs, and did not have much interest in preserving the unity Yugoslavia outside of areas of Serb national interests.[101]

Milošević's personality according to others has indicated a similar double-sided nature as U.S. ambassador Zimmerman has claimed. In public appearances, he would appear strong, confidant, bold and serious while in private, it is said that Milosevic was very laid back, and according to the former director of Politika, Hadzi Dragan Antic, Milosevic often interested in non-political things such as comic strips and Disney cartoons and admired the music of Frank Sinatra.[102] Milosevic only allowed a close inner circle of personal friends to visit him while others including the former Information Minister of Serbia during Milosevic's era, Alexander Tijanic have said that in private Milosevic demonstrated elements of paranoia to many people outside of his inner circle, such as demanding that Tijanic remove the battery from his mobile-phone on each occasion that Tijanic met him.[102] Milošević also refused to keep notes on talks on important issues and would only meet with his most trusted allies to which he simply gave directions and instructions and did not engage in any substantial discussions over such matters.[103]

Death of political opponents

In the summer of 2000 former Serbian President Ivan Stambolić was kidnapped; his body was found in 2003 and Milošević was charged with ordering his murder. In 2005, several members of the Serbian secret police and criminal gangs were convicted in Belgrade for a number of murders, including Stambolić's. These were the same people who arrested Milošević in April 2001. Later, Interior Minister Dušan Mihajlović denied that Milošević had been involved in Stambolić's death at Fruška Gora.[104]

In June 2006 the Supreme Court of Serbia ruled that Milošević had ordered the murder of Stambolić. The Supreme Court accepted the previous ruling of the Special Court for Organized Crime in Belgrade which targeted Milošević as the main abettor of politically motivated murders in the 1990s.

Milošević's attorneys said the Court's ruling was of little value because he was never formally charged or given an opportunity to defend himself against the accusations.

Moreover, most of these murders were of Serbian and Yugoslavian government officials, such as high police official Radovan Stojičić, Defence Minister Pavle Bulatović, and the head of JAT Yugoslav Airlines Žika Petrović.

Downfall of presidency

On 4 February 1997, Milošević recognized the opposition victories in some local elections, after mass protests lasting 96 days.

Constitutionally limited to two terms as Serbian president, on 23 July 1997, Milošević assumed the presidency of the Yugoslav Federation (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).

Armed actions by Albanian separatist groups and Serbian police and military counter-action in Serbia's previously autonomous (and 90 percent Albanian) province of Kosovo culminated in escalating warfare in 1998, NATO air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between March and June 1999, and finally a full withdrawal of all Yugoslav security forces from the province.

During the Kosovo War he was indicted on 27 May 1999, for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Kosovo, and he was standing trial, up until his death, at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. He attempted to assert that the trial was illegal, having been established in contravention of the UN charter.[105]

Milošević's rejection of claims of a first-round opposition victory in new elections for the Federal parliament and presidency in September 2000 led to mass demonstrations in Belgrade on 5 October, known as the Bulldozer Revolution. The Yugoslav constitution called for a second election round with all but the two leading candidates eliminated, in the event that no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote. Official results put Koštunica ahead of Milošević but at under 50 percent. The U.S.-financed CeSID claimed otherwise, though its story changed throughout the two weeks between 24 September and 5 October.

Milošević was forced to accept this when commanders of the army whom he had expected to support him had indicated that in this instance they would not, and would permit the violent overthrow of the Serbian government. On 6 October, Milošević met with opposition presidential candidate leader Vojislav Koštunica and publicly accepted defeat. Koštunica finally took office as Yugoslav president on 7 October following Milošević's announcement.

Ironically, Milošević lost his grip on power by losing in elections which he scheduled prematurely (before the end of his mandate) and which he did not even need to win in order to retain power which was centered in the parliaments which his party and its associates controlled.

In the five-man presidential race held on September 24, 2000, Milošević was defeated in the first round. The election was won by the opposition leader V.Koštunica, who won slightly more than 50% of votes. Initially refusing to acquiesce, Milošević had to concede defeat amidst street protests.

Following a warrant for his arrest by the Yugoslav authorities on charges of corruption and abuse of power, Milošević was forced to surrender to security forces on 31 March 2001 following an armed stand off at his fortified villa in Belgrade. On 28 June of the same year, Milošević was transferred by Yugoslav government officials from the jail in Belgrade where he was being held to United Nations custody just inside Bosnian territory. He was then transported to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav Constitution prohibited extradition of Yugoslav citizens and Koštunica formally on legal grounds opposed the transfer that has been ordered by Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić.[106]

Relations with other countries

Relations with Russia

Historically, Russia has consistently had very close relations with Serbia and the former Yugoslavia, with Russian influence on Serbia/Yugoslavia often strong. Russia and Serbia have significant affinities, including majority populations of Slavic ethno-linguistic groups, Orthodox Christianity, multi-ethnic polities. Russia is remembered by Serbs for giving assistance to Serbia in becoming autonomous from the Ottoman Empire and establishing the Kingdom of Serbia in 19th century. During Milošević's rule, Russia pursued policies that generally supported the Milošević regime. During the Kosovo conflict in 1999, some observers suggested the possibility of Russia deploying troops in support of Serbia.[107] However, in spite of being considered as a great friend in need for Serbia, Russia has provided political asylum to Milosevic's family, which the families of those murdered in the conflicts have protested.[108]

Relations with China

Milošević first visited China in the early 1980s while head of Beobank. Milošević visited China again in 1997, after an invitation by Chinese president Jiang Zemin. Milošević was often popularly known in China by the nickname "Lao Mi" (老米), a shortened form of the informal Chinese-style nickname "Old Milošević" (老米洛舍维奇); among the state-operated media in China, Milošević was often referred to as "Comrade Milošević" (米洛舍维奇同志). Many sources hold that the Chinese government asserted strong backing of Milošević throughout his presidency until his surrender, and was one of the few countries supportive of him and the Yugoslav regime,[109] at a time when most Western countries were strongly critical of the Milošević government. The New York Times states that China was "one of Mr. Milošević's staunchest supporters" during the Kosovo conflict.[110] China vocally opposed NATO armed intervention in Kosovo throughout the campaign. Chinese parliamentary leader Li Peng, was presented by Milošević with Yugoslavia's highest medal (the Great Star) in Belgrade in 2000.[111]

The New York Times observed that Milošević, and particularly his wife Marković had "long viewed Beijing and its Communist party" as allied and "the sort of ideological comrades" lacking in Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism in the 1990s.[111] After Milošević's indictment, China's public statements shifted toward emphasizing Yugoslav-Chinese relations rather than focusing on its support for Milošević, while after the election of Vojislav Koštunica as Yugoslav president, Chinese foreign ministry officially stated that "China respects the choice of the Yugoslavian people."[111]


Milošević was indicted in May 1999, during the Kosovo War, by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for crimes against humanity in Kosovo. Charges of violating the laws or customs of war, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions in Croatia and Bosnia and genocide in Bosnia were added a year and a half later.

Following Milošević's transfer, the original charges of war crimes in Kosovo were upgraded by adding charges of genocide in Bosnia and war crimes in Croatia. On 30 January 2002, Milošević accused the war crimes tribunal of an "evil and hostile attack" against him. The trial began at The Hague on 12 February 2002, with Milošević defending himself while refusing to recognize the legality of the court's jurisdiction.[citation needed]

The trial was a controversial issue and has featured many conflicting testimonies. For example:

  • Rade Marković's statement that a written statement he had made implicating Milošević had been extracted from him by ill-treatment legally amounting to torture by named NATO officers[112] Judge May declared this to be "irrelevant", but Milošević stated that it was forbidden under the 1988 rules concerning evidence gained by torture.

The prosecution took two years to present its case in the first part of the trial, where they covered the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Throughout the two-year period, the trial was being closely followed by the publics of the involved former Yugoslav republics as it covered various notable events from the war and included several high-profile witnesses.

Milosevic, while defending himself, read from Friedrich Naumann's book Mitteleuropa, claiming it was a long-standing objective of German foreign policy and the German liberal party in particular to "erase Serbia from the map", citing a number of alleged wrongdoings by Germany against Serbia during the last hundred years, including the recognition of Croatia and other countries. He pointed out that Klaus Kinkel, the German Foreign Minister who proposed the creation of the tribunal, was a German liberal. In particular, he pointed out statements by Kinkel that Germany had to accomplish in Yugoslavia what it had "failed to accomplish twice before," and that "the Serbs should be brought to their knees."[113]

A two-hour documentary entitled Milosevic on Trial documents the trial against Milošević.

Other views

A number of professors, writers and journalists, among them political scientist Michael Parenti in his book To Kill a Nation, have argued that the actions of Milošević, and of the Serbs more broadly, were systematically exaggerated by the Western media and politicians during the Bosnian War in order to provide justification for military intervention.[114]

Adam Lebor, a biographer of Milošević, states that Milošević was not a dictator, suggesting that Serbia under Milošević was not a totalitarian regime. Lebor points out that the opposition continued to operate throughout his rule, and Slobodan even negotiated with and made concessions to a leader of student demonstrations on one occasion. LeBor also points out that when election results in Serbia were disputed, the government had called in international observers to evaluate the validity of the elections and accepted their verdict when it was judged that Milošević's Socialist Party had been involved in electoral fraud.[115]

Lebor also believes that Milošević's role in the Slovenian War was restricted to making weighty demands on the use of Slovene airports, and being a passive supporter of the Yugoslav military in the war. Some had seen the conflict as the first of four wars that Milošević was responsible for. Many reports from the time do not mention Milošević at all[116].

In her book Fool's Crusade Paris-based journalist Diana Johnstone contends that Milošević's actions during the conflict in the Balkans were no worse than the crimes of the Croats or the Bosnian Muslims, asserting also that the massacre in Srebrenica has been exaggerated. Political scientist Edward Herman endorsed Johnstone's findings in his review of Fool's Crusade in the Monthly Review[117].

In another book, The New Military Humanism, Noam Chomsky, who at times writes collaboratively with Herman, disagrees with Johnstone's views on Milošević, the Serbs, and Srebrenica in particular. While Chomsky believes that the massacres at Srebrenica did occur, he does not believe that Milošević was involved, pointing to the Dutch report that claimed that he was horrified to hear of it.[118] He has described Milošević as a "terrible person", but still believes that he was not a dictator and that his crimes have been exaggerated while the crimes of the Kosovo Liberation Army have been ignored.[119] In a 1999 interview, Chomsky sparked controversy with his view that to call the deaths in Kosovo a "genocide" was "an insult to the victims of Hitler".[120]

Leadership of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milošević (ICDSM) includes: Professor Velko Valkanov (President of the Bulgarian Committee for Human Rights, Honorary President of the Bulgarian Antifascist Union, former Member of Parliament, and founder of ICDSM, Bulgaria); Ramsey Clark, former United States Attorney General; Professor Alexander Zinoviev, a Russian philosopher and writer; and Canadian lawyer Christopher Black, co-founder, vice-chairman, and chair of ICDSM's legal committee. In 2004 Clark wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stating that "the Prosecution has failed to present significant or compelling evidence of any criminal act or intention of President Milošević".[121] Those who have joined the ICDSM include (in 2001) playwright and Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, who also signed the "Artists’ Appeal for Milošević" (March/April 2004), a statement protesting unfair and biased conduct of the Tribunal, asserting its failure to prove Milošević's guilt justly, and calling for his immediate release.[122]

As to his personal characteristics, former acquaintances have said that in private Milošević was patriarchal and conservative, devoted to his wife and family. His personality was marked by stubbornness—a trait of which he was proud; and his most devoted followers were older people, who had spent most of their lives in an era characterised by a moral code which they believed Milošević embodied. His stubbornness and unwillingness to compromise may be partly credited for the political problems and wars which marked his years in power, as well as his unrelenting defence in his trial. His lifelong devotion to his wife was reflected in the place of his burial, which is under the tree where they first kissed in 1958.

His defenders deny that Milošević was a racist; Jared Israel even offered a $500 reward for anyone to find incitements to racial hatred in any of his speeches[123].


Milošević was found dead in his cell on March 11, 2006, in the UN war crimes tribunal's detention center, located in the Scheveningen section of The Hague.


Autopsies soon established that Milošević had died of a heart attack. He had been suffering from heart problems and high blood pressure. However, many suspicions were voiced to the effect that the heart attack had been caused or made possible deliberately - by the ICTY, according to sympathizers, or by himself, according to critics. Shortly before his death, Milošević had requested to be treated in a heart surgery center, but the Tribunal had refused to permit that, citing mistrust guarantees that an escape would be made impossible. At the same time, Milošević had expressed fears that he was being poisoned. A scandal emerged when it was found that, according to an earlier medical test from 12 January, Milošević's blood contained rifampicin, an antibiotic that is normally used to treat leprosy and tuberculosis and which would have neutralized some of the effects of his medicines for his high blood pressure and heart condition. Milošević had complained about the presence of a leprosis drug in his blood in a letter to the Russian foreign ministry. After that fact was disclosed, some hypothesized that the Tribunal medical staff had administered the drug deliberately, while others believed that he had taken it himself to worsen his heart condition and thus force the Tribunal to let him travel to Russia and escape. It is, however, questionable that he would have been able to smuggle in such drugs, since all his visitors were searched at least once before gaining access to him in response to an incident in September 2005 in which he had taken medicine from a Serbian doctor without the approval of the Hague doctors. Blood tests conducted as part of his post mortem showed that it was unlikely that Milošević had ingested rifampicin in the last few days before his death.

Several medical experts, such as Leo Bokeria (the director of the Russian heart surgery centre, where Milošević had requested to be treated) and The Times' medical columnist Thomas Stuttaford, asserted that Milošević's heart attack could and should have been prevented easily by means of standard medical procedures.


The reactions to Milošević's death were mixed: officials and sympathisers of the ICTY Prosecution lamented what they saw as Milošević's having remained unpunished, while opponents, mostly Serbian and Russian figures, stressed what they viewed as the responsibility of the Tribunal for what had happened.

ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte delivered her public statement following Milošević's death:

I deeply regret the death of Slobodan Milosevic. It deprives the victims of the justice they need and deserve.

In the indictment which was judicially confirmed in 2001, Milosevic was accused of 66 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo between 1991 and 1999. These crimes affected hundreds of thousands of victims throughout the former Yugoslavia.

During the prosecution case, 295 witnesses testified and 5000 exhibits were presented to the court. This represents a wealth of evidence that is on the record. After the presentation of the prosecution case, the Trial Chamber, on 16 June 2004, rejected a defense motion to dismiss the charges for lack of evidence, thereby confirming, in accordance with Rule 98bis, that the prosecution case contains sufficient evidence capable of supporting a conviction on all 66 counts. The Defense was given the same amount of time as the prosecution to present its case. There were in total 466 hearing days. 4 hours per day. Only 40 hours were left in the Defense case, and the trial was likely to be completed by the end of the spring.

It is a great pity for justice that the trial will not be completed and no verdict will be rendered. However, other senior leaders have been indicted for the crimes for which Slobodan Milosevic was also accused. Later this year, the trial of eight senior leaders accused of the Srebrenica genocide will begin. Furthermore, also this year, six most senior former Serbian leaders will be tried for crimes committed in Kosovo. But the most senior perpetrators are still at large. Now more than ever, I expect Serbia to finally arrest and transfer Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadžic to The Hague as soon as possible.

The death of Slobodan Milosevic makes it even more urgent for them to face justice. Finally, I would like to share a thought for Zoran Đinđic, his wife and his family. Exactly three years ago, he was murdered in Belgrade. He is the man who had the courage to bring Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague so that he could face justice.


A private funeral for Milošević was held by his friends and family in his hometown of Požarevac, after tens of thousands of his supporters attended a farewell ceremony in Belgrade. The return of Milošević's body to Serbia, as well as his widow's return (who did not return to Serbia to attend his funeral, as she would have been arrested immediately upon her arrival due to a current arrest warrant issued related to fraud charges) was very controversial, leading to great difficulties before their resolution.

Legacy and debate

Emblematic of Milošević's detractors was Miroslav Milošević (no relation), a former member of OTPOR and self-described vampire hunter, arrested in 2007 after leading a group who told police that they had driven "a three-foot-long wooden stake into the ground and through the late president's heart" to prevent him from "returning from the dead". It is unclear whether the group actually believed in vampires, or if the act was politically motivated.[124][125][126] The last opinion poll taken in Serbia before Milošević's death listed him as the third most favorably rated politician in Serbia behind Serbian Radical Party chairman Tomislav Nikolić #1, and current Serbian President Boris Tadić #2.[127] In February 2007, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) cleared Serbia of genocide, but ICJ's president stated that Milošević was aware of the risk of massacres occurring and did not act to prevent them.[128]

Further reading

Sell, Louis D., Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (Duke University Press, 2002)]


  1. CNN Transcript; Slobodan Milošević to Stand Trial in Serbia; Aired 31 March 2001 - 10:25 p.m. ET; http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0103/31/bn.03.html
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  9. possibly after a pupil he had given a poor grade had committed suicide - http://books.google.com/books?id=fu1QiZ1n5AgC&pg=PA16&dq=Slobodan+Milo%C5%A1evi%C4%87+father
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  14. Time magazine; I Am Just An Ordinary Man, Monday, July 17, 1995; By James R. Gaines, Karsten Prager, Massimo Calabresi, and Marguerite Michaels; http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,983190-2,00.html
  15. The New York Times; Protest Staged by Serbs In an Albanian Region; 26 April 1987, Sunday, Late City Final Edition
  16. ICTY (2005). "trial transcript, pg. 35947". http://www.un.org/icty/transe54/050209IT.htm. 
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  19. ICTY (2005). "trial transcript, pg. 35654". http://www.un.org/icty/transe54/050125IT.htm. 
  20. The Xinhua General Overseas News Service; SEPTEMBER 25, 1987, FRIDAY; Senior Yugoslav Party Official Sacked Over Kosovo Issue; Belgrade, 25 September; ITEM NO: 0925148
  21. BBC Summary of World Broadcasts; BELGRADE COMMUNISTS GIVE VIEWS ON STAMBOLIC'S RELATIONS WITH DRAGISA PAVLOVIC; 27 November 1987, Friday; SOURCE: Belgrade home service 2100 gmt 24 November 1987
  22. The Xinhua General Overseas News Service; DECEMBER 14, 1987, MONDAY; Leader of Yugoslavia's Serbia Republic Sacked; ITEM NO: 1214003
  23. Sell, Louis (2002). Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. Durham: Duke University Press. pp. 47–49. 
  24. LeBor, Adam (2002). Milosevic: A Biography. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 92–94. 
  25. Karadjis, Mike (2000). Bosnia, Kosova & the West. Australia: Resistance Books. pp. 39–40. 
  26. Milosevic et al. - Second Amended Indictment for Kosovo; Paragraph 78; http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/mil-2ai011029e.htm
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  33. The Times (London); 7 October 1988, Friday; Angry Serbs topple the leadership of Vojvodina province; Demonstrations against the Communist Party; Yugoslavia
  34. The Globe and Mail (Canada); 6 October 1988 Thursday; Yugoslavs demand new leader
  35. Growing Yugoslav Ethnic Protests Lead Province Officials to Resign - New York Times
  36. BBC Summary of World Broadcasts; 25 January 1989, Wednesday; SECOND DAY OF VOJVODINA LC CONFERENCE NEW LEADERSHIP ELECTED
  37. BBC Summary of World Broadcasts; 9 May 1989, Tuesday; Election of SFRY Presidency member from Vojvodina confirmed; SOURCE: Yugoslav News Agency in Serbo-Croat 1534 gmt 4 May 1989
  38. The Guardian (London); 11 January 1989; 50,000 in Titograd protest
  39. The Guardian (London); 12 January 1989; Montenegro leaders quit en masse
  40. The Associated Press; 13 January 1989, Friday, AM cycle; Government Leadership Resigns En Masse
  41. The New York Times; 22 January 1989, Sunday, Late City Final Edition; The Yugoslav Republic That Roared; By HENRY KAMM
  42. The Associated Press; 10 April 1989, Monday, AM cycle; Reformer Elected in Montenegro Presidential Election
  43. Xinhua General News Service; DECEMBER 24, 1990, MONDAY; Bulatovic Elected Montenegro President
  44. BBC Summary of World Broadcasts; 28 December 1990, Friday; Momcir(sic) Bulatovic elected President of Montenegro
  45. Milosevic Trial Transcript; 1 December 2004; pg. 34030; http://www.un.org/icty/transe54/041201IT.htm
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  47. BBC Summary of World Broadcasts; 16 March 1989, Thursday; PARTY AND GOVERNMENT Vojvodina agrees to Serbian constitutional changes; SOURCE: Excerpts Yugoslav News Agency in English 1815 gmt 10 March 1989
  48. BBC Summary of World Broadcasts; 24 March 1989, Friday; Kosovo Assembly adopts changes to Serbian Constitution
  49. The Washington Post; 29 March 1989, Wednesday, Final Edition; 21 Dead in Two Days Of Yugoslav Rioting; Federal Assembly Ratifies Changes at Issue
  50. The Xinhua General Overseas News Service; MARCH 23, 1989, THURSDAY; Kosovo adopts constitutional changes
  51. Milošević Trial Transcript; 1 December 2004; pg. 34046; http://www.un.org/icty/transe54/041201IT.htm
  52. Milošević Trial Transcript; 1 December 2004; pg. 34049; http://www.un.org/icty/transe54/041201IT.htm
  53. United Press International; 29 March 1989, Wednesday, BC cycle; Tense calm maintained in restive province
  54. United Press International; 14 December 1990, Friday, BC cycle; Ethnic Albanians reject Serbia's first multi-party polls
  55. BBC Summary of World Broadcasts; 23 December 1993, Thursday; ATA: a million Kosovo Albanians boycott Serbian elections; SOURCE: Albanian Telegraph Agency news agency, Tirana, in English 0911 gmt 21 December 1993
  56. The Associated Press; 24 November 1989, Friday, AM cycle; Prosecutors Try 15 Ethnic Albanians; Former Vice President Charged
  57. Burg, Steven L; Shoup, Paul S. 1999. The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Ethnic Conflict and International Intervention. M.E. Sharpe. p102
  58. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina"." Pp. 59
  59. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina"." Pp. 59
  60. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina". International Centre Against Censorship. Article 19, May 1994. Avon, United Kingdom: The Bath Press. Pp. 59
  61. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina"." Pp. 59
  62. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina"." Pp. 59
  63. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina"." Pp. 60
  64. Second Amended Indictment; Case No. IT-99-37-PT; Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milošević; 16 October 2001; http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/mil-2ai011029e.htm
  65. Yugoslavia Talk, Talk – Fight, Fight, TIME Magazine, October 31, 1988.
  66. International Centre Against Censorship. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina". International Centre Against Censorship, Article 19. Avon, United Kingdom: Bath Press, May 1994. P55
  67. International Centre Against Censorship. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina". International Centre Against Censorship, Article 19. Avon, United Kingdom: Bath Press, May 1994. P74
  68. International Centre Against Censorship. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina". International Centre Against Censorship, Article 19. Avon, United Kingdom: Bath Press, May 1994. P72
  69. International Centre Against Censorship. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina". International Centre Against Censorship, Article 19. Avon, United Kingdom: Bath Press, May 1994. P72
  70. International Centre Against Censorship. "Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina". International Centre Against Censorship, Article 19. Avon, United Kingdom: Bath Press, May 1994. P76
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  73. [1]
  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 74.3 [2]
  75. Wide Angle, Milošević and the Media. "Part 3: Dictatorship on the Airwaves." PBS. [3]
  76. Remarks by the President to Veterans Groups on Kosovo; Eisenhower Hall, Ft. McNair; 13 May 1999
  77. Address by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright To the UN Human Rights Commission; Palais des Nations; 23 March 2000; http://geneva.usmission.gov/humanrights/2000/albright.html
  78. United States of America Proceedings and Debates of the 106th Congress, 1st Session; Wednesday, 10 March 1999 before the U.S. House of Representatives
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  81. Norman Cigar & Paul Williams; Indictment at the Hague: The Milosevic Regime and Crimes of the Balkan Wars; New York University Press; 2002
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  90. Wydra. 2007. Pp. 232.
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See also

External links

  1. REDIRECT Stampa:WikiQuote
Preceded by
Ivan Stambolić
 Chairman of the League of Communists of Serbia 
1986 – 1989
Succeeded by
Bogdan Trifunović
Preceded by
Office created
 post created
President of Serbia 

1989 – 1997
Succeeded by
Dragan Tomić
Preceded by
Zoran Lilić
 President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 
1997 – 2000
Succeeded by
Vojislav Koštunica

Template:President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Template:Serbian President Template:SKS Chairman

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