Saturday, March 11, 2006

Slobodan Milosevic Found Dead in Prison Cell

Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav leader who orchestrated the Balkan wars of the 1990s and was on trial for war crimes, was found dead in his prison cell near The Hague, the U.N. tribunal said Saturday.

Milosevic, 64, apparently died of natural causes, a tribunal press officer said. He was found dead in his bed at the U.N. detention center.

Milosevic has been on trial since February 2002, defending himself against 66 counts of crimes, including genocide, in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

The trial repeatedly was interrupted by Milosevic's poor health and chronic heart condition. It was recessed last week until Tuesday to await his next defense witness.

His death comes less than a week after the star witness in his trial, former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babic, was found dead in the same prison. Babic, who was serving a 13-year prison sentence, committed suicide. He testified against Milosevic in 2002.

A figure of beguiling charm and cunning ruthlessness, Milosevic was a master tactician who turned his country's defeats into personal victories and held onto power for 13 years despite losing four wars that shattered his nation and impoverished his people.
He was a dictator responsible for mass murder, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The court had been in recess while considering Milosevic's request to subpoena former US President Bill Clinton.

Wikipedia has more details about his death, and that his supporters are already calling his death a murder:
On March 11, 2006, B-92, a Belgrade radio station, reported Milošević had been found dead in his cell in The Hague, citing "non-official" sources. This report has been confirmed by his lawyer. His death was confirmed by the Dutch NOS News Agency at 13.20 CET. An official in the chief prosecutor's office said that he had been found at about 10 a.m. Saturday and had apparently been dead for several hours.[8] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said that he had been suffering from heart problems and high blood pressure.[9][10]. His trial had been due to resume on 14 March with testimony from the former president of Montenegro, Momir Bulatović. The tribunal had recently denied his request to travel to Russia for specialist medical treatment. He had planned to appeal against this decision, saying that his health was worsening.[8] His death from natural causes has been announced by the Serbian Socialist Party.[11]

However, according to the B92 the Socialist Party leader Zoran Anđelković has released a following statement: "Slobodan Milošević, the president of the Socialist Party of Serbia and a former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia was murdered today at the Tribunal in Hague. The decision of the Tribunal to disallow Milošević's medical treatment at the Bakunin Institute in Moscow represents a prescribed death sentence against Milošević. Truth and justice were on his side and this is why they have used a strategy of gradual killing of Slobodan Milošević. The responsibility for his death is clearly with the Hague Tribunal".[12]

Austin Bay has more details, including his thoughts that the Iraqis were handling Saddam's trial better than the UN was managing Milosevic despite the fact that Saddam was essentially ripping off his shennanigans from Milosevic's playbook.

Others noting Milosevic's death: Mac Ranger, who thinks Milosevic got off way too easy and escaped justice. AJ Strata notes that the Grim Reaper has reclaimed one of his own. Justice was not served. Michelle Malkin has a roundup. Bubblehead wonders whether the UN will be investigated for the mysterious deaths and suicides on its watch over the past several months in the course of its trial of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. Not likely. It's the UN, not the US.

Nimne opines on learning of the earlier suicide by Milan Babic
Either that, or he just couldn’t take the boredom anymore.
The war crimes trials have been ongoing for years, and there are still war criminals still roaming the countryside more than a decade after the end of the war. This, in Europe's backyard with NATO troops and the UN all over the place. It took years to bring Milosevic in, and in the end even he escaped justice.

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