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Former Yugoslav President Milosevic Dies at Age 64

  • VOA News

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been found dead in his prison cell at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

A statement issued by the tribunal on Saturday says Milosevic's lifeless body was found on his bed. Officials say it appears that he died of natural causes, but a full autopsy and toxicology exam were ordered.

The 64-year-old Milosevic had been on trial in The Hague since February 2002, facing more than 60 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the Balkan conflicts. His trial was interrupted repeatedly because of his poor health resulting from a heart condition and high blood pressure.

Milosevic became president of Serbia in 1989. He was blamed for Serbian military aggression and brutal ethnic cleansing policies after Yugoslavia disintegrated in the early 1990s. He also was implicated for similar crimes in Kosovo and Croatia after he became president of what was left of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) in 1997.

The Serbian native lost re-election in a 2000 presidential vote, but only relinquished power after widespread strikes and demonstrations. He was arrested in 2001 and was turned over to the U.N. tribunal.

Milosevic was the first head of state to face an international war crimes court. He called the tribunal and the indictments against him false.

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