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Russia Critical Of UN For Refusing Milosevic Treatment In Moscow

Former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic pictured with Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov (left) after talks about the situation in Kosovo in March 1999. (file photo) (epa) March 11, 2006 -- The Russian Foreign Ministry has implicitly criticized the UN war crimes tribunal for refusing permission for former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to receive treatment at a Moscow hospital.

Milosevic, who was found dead in his cell at a UN detention center near The Hague today, had asked the tribunal to be released temporarily to go to Moscow for treatment.

The tribunal rejected the request, despite assurances from the Russian government that Milosevic would be sent back to The Hague. There were fears he would not return to complete his trial.

The Foreign Ministry said it regretted The Hague's decision.


In Poor Health

In Poor Health

Slobodan Milosevic in an undated file photo (CTK)

HEART TROUBLES, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: Almost since the beginning of his trial in The Hague in February 2002, Slobodan Milosevic has been complaining of ill health. His trial has been repeatedly delayed as he sought medical treatment. As recently as February 24, the court declined Milosevic's request to travel to Russia for treatment for heart problems and elevated blood pressure, despite pledges from Moscow that Milosevic would be returned to The Hague to continue his trial on 66 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
"[My health is] getting worse because of the decision that gives me no chance or adequate time to prepare my defense, and that is pretty clear," Milosevic told the court on July 5, 2004. " Because of that, I think that you have an obligation to give me adequate time."
"[The judges] have been very clear that there is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Milosevic is not fit enough to stand trial," court spokesman Jim Landale told journalists the next day. "They have decided that the time has possibly come for them to assign what is called a 'standby counsel.' That is a lawyer who would work alongside Mr. Milosevic and, were Mr. Milosevic to become ill again, be able to step in and represent his interests in court."

Of related interest:

Moscow Unhappy At Milosevic Travel Ban To Russia

Milosevic Seeks Leave For Health Checks In Russia

War Crimes Trial Takes Summer Recess Amid Concerns Over Milosevic's Health

See also:

Timeline: The Political Career Of Slobodan Milosevic

Slobodan Milosevic's Life And Legacy

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: An archive of RFE/RL's coverage of the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Of related interest:

RFE/RL Special: The Collapse Of Tito's Yugoslavia

RFE/RL Special: Yugoslavia's Democratic Revolution