Sunday, March 12, 2006
Butcher of Balkans dead
Slobodan Milosevic, 64, a depressive with a history of high blood pressure and chronic heart disease, was found lifeless in bed by one of his guards at a UN prison near the Hague, where he was being tried on 66 counts of crimes against humanity, including genocide.
As news of his death spread, mixed reactions from former Yugoslav republics. Guardian reports people were divided between celebrating his death and regretting he was not finally judged guilty for his crimes:
President Mesic of Croatia, which fought Serb forces in 1991-92, said: 'It's a pity he did not live through the trial and get his deserved sentence.'
A Croatian government statement summed up the views of many people in the Balkans: 'Several hundred thousand dead, millions of refugees, billions of euros of damage, dozens of destroyed towns, ethnic cleansing, genocide, those are all consequences of his policies.'
'It seems that God punished him already,' said Hajra Catic, of the association representing the mothers and widows of 8,000 Muslim men and boys massacred by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica.
Milosevic passed away with a typically dictatorial trait intact:
"He told me, 'Don't you worry: They will not destroy me or break me; I shall defeat them all,'" said Milorad Vucelic of the Socialist Party, recounting a phone conversation with Milosevic late Friday. "But it was obvious he was very ill."