[Marxism] Slobodan Milosevic is dead

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Mar 11 07:18:40 MST 2006

March 11, 2006
Slobodan Milosevic, Former Yugoslav Leader, Is Found Dead

Filed at 8:08 a.m. ET

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- 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.

Milosevic led Serbia, the dominant Yugoslav republic, into four Balkan 
wars, but always managed to emerge politically stronger. The secret of his 
survival was his uncanny ability to exploit what less adroit figures would 
consider a fatal blow.

Each time he would bounce back, skillfully reinventing himself in a series 
of political transformations -- as a devout communist, a reform-minded 
nationalist, and again as a communist at a time when most of the world had 
abandoned Marxist ideology.

He once described himself as the ''Ayatollah Khomeini of Serbia,'' assuring 
his prime minister, Milan Panic, that ''the Serbs will follow me no matter 
what.'' For years, they did -- through wars which dismembered Yugoslavia 
and plunged what was left of the country into social, political, moral and 
economic ruin.

But in the end, his people abandoned him: first in October 2000, when he 
was unable to convince the majority of Yugoslavs that he had staved off 
electoral defeat by his successor, Vojislav Kostunica, and again on April 
1, 2001, when he surrendered after a 26-hour standoff to face criminal 
charges stemming from his ruinous rule.

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