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Timeline: The Political Career Of Slobodan Milosevic

Slobodan Milosevic in 1999 (ITAR-TASS) Below is a chronology of the last years of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's life, from his rise to power in Serbia to his death in a jail cell while on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

March 11, 2006: Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic found dead in his jail cell in The Hague, apparently of natural causes.

February 24, 2006: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague rejects Milosevic's request to travel to Russia for medical treatment. Milosevic said he would appeal against the decision, saying his health was worsening.

December 13, 2005: The tribunal decides against splitting off the indictment on the 1999 Kosova conflict so that part of the four-year trial can be concluded.

June 1, 2005: Prosecutors show court a video of Serb paramilitary soldiers murdering six Bosnian Muslim youths near Srebrenica.

November 30, 2004: Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov tells the court that Milosevic was a peacemaker who did not want to fight for a "Greater Serbia," while an anti-Serb West stoked the bloody collapse of Yugoslavia.

November 1, 2004: Milosevic wins back the right to lead his own defense on appeal after the tribunal had appointed lawyers to run his case in order to prevent delays due to his ill health.

Milosevic at The Hague tribunal in 2004 (AFP)

August 31, 2004: Milosevic launches his defense case, branding his war crimes trial a "distortion of history" and blaming the West for fuelling Yugoslavia's collapse.

July 1, 2004: Richard May, the British judge who presided over the first two years of Milosevic's trial before stepping down in February 2004 for health reasons, dies aged 65.

February 25, 2004: Prosecutors rest their case after calling about 290 witnesses.

December 2003: Ex-NATO commander Wesley Clark tells the court Milosevic knew Bosnian Serbs planned to massacre Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995.

October 2002: Croatian President Stjepan Mesic accuses Milosevic of engineering the breakup of Yugoslavia and using the army to seize Croat land in his pursuit of a Greater Serbia.

February 12, 2002: Milosevic goes on trial, charged with 66 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosova.

June 28, 2001: Milosevic is sent to the tribunal.

June 23, 2001: Under Western pressure ahead of a June 29 donors conference, reformist ministers in the Yugoslav government push through a decree paving way for the transfer of war crimes suspects, including Milosevic, to the UN tribunal.

April 11, 2001: Milosevic is transferred to a hospital after he complains of heart problems. He returns to jail two days later after doctors concludes his condition is satisfactory.

April 3, 2001: Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica rules out any immediate transfer of Milosevic to the UN war crimes court.

April 2, 2001: UN chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte says she has prepared a second arrest warrant for Milosevic on charges of war crimes in Bosnia.

April 1, 2001: Milosevic is arrested after a 36-hour standoff. He pleads not guilty to charges of diverting state funds and is remanded in custody for a 30-day investigation period.

February 1, 2001: Serbian Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic says Milosevic has been placed under round-the-clock police surveillance.

January 25, 2001: Serbia's parliament overwhelmingly approves a reformist government headed by Zoran Djindjic, head of the Democratic Party, who pledges a new era of peace and prosperity.

December 23, 2000: Serbia's reformist DOS alliance crushes Milosevic's Socialists in elections in Yugoslavia's dominant republic.

November 25, 2000: Milosevic, the only candidate, wins reelection as leader of his Socialist Party.

Vojislav Kostunica (CTK file photo)

October 7, 2000: Kostunica is sworn in as new Yugoslav president at a session of new parliament.

October 6, 2000: Milosevic concedes defeat in the presidential election, bowing to massive opposition demonstrations.

September 29, 2000: The opposition begins campaign of strikes and civil disobedience to force Milosevic to step down.

September 26, 2000: Federal elections commission says opposition candidate Kostunica won by 48.22 percent to Milosevic's 40.23 and calls a second round since neither candidate won an absolute majority. Kostunica camp cries fraud and rejects the results.

July 27, 2000: Milosevic sets presidential, parliamentary, and local elections for September 24.

April 14, 2000: At least 100,000 Serbs pack central Belgrade to hear opposition leaders call for early general elections.

June 10, 1999: NATO suspends its bombing campaign after Serb troops begin to withdraw from Kosovo.

May 27, 1999: UN war crimes tribunal confirms it has indicted Milosevic as war criminal.

March 24, 1999: NATO warplanes begin air campaign against targets throughout Yugoslavia in retaliation for the crackdown in Kosovo.

A Bosnian woman visits the grave of her brother, who was killed in fighting in 1995 (epa)

March 18-19, 1999: Kosovo Albanians sign peace deal in France but Yugoslavia rejects it. Peace talks break up in failure.

September 24, 1998: NATO issues ultimatum to Milosevic to stop crackdown on Kosovo Albanians or face air strikes.

March 1998: Milosevic rejects calls for international action to end violence in Kosovo. Invites ethnic-Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova for peace talks.

July 15, 1997: Milosevic is elected Yugoslav president by the federal parliament after junior federation partner Montenegro thwarts his plans for a popular ballot. He steps down as Serbian president after serving the maximum two terms.

November 1996: Serbian opposition supporters, accusing the government of election fraud, march in Belgrade in a campaign to oust Milosevic, who backs down after 88 straight days of opposition protests.

November 21, 1995: Following NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serbs, Milosevic joins the presidents of Bosnia and Croatia in peace agreement at U.S.-sponsored talks at Dayton, Ohio.

January 1993: Bosnia peace efforts fail, and war breaks out between Muslims and Croats, previously allied against Serbs.

May 1992: UN sanctions slapped on Serbia for backing rebel Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia.

April 6, 1992: European Union recognizes Bosnia's independence; war breaks out between Bosnian government and local Serbs, who start 1992-95 siege of capital Sarajevo.

U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke arriving in Sarajevo for talks in December 1995 (epa)

February 29-March 1, 1992: Bosnia's Muslims and Croats vote for independence in referendum boycotted by Serbs.

January 1992: Fighting ceases in Croatia.

June 1991: Yugoslav tanks fail to crush Slovenian independence. Fighting begins in Croatia between Croats and ethnic Serbs.

June 25, 1991: Croatia and Slovenia proclaim independence.

December 9, 1990: Milosevic, riding a wave of Serb nationalism, elected president in Serbia's first multiparty election since World War II.

June 28, 1989: Milosevic addresses 1 million Serbs at a rally at the Kosova Polje battlefield on the 600th anniversary of the defeat of the medieval Serb kingdom by the Turks, offering a foretaste of Yugoslavia's violent disintegration through nationalism.

January 1988: Milosevic's wing in Serbian Communist Party ousts Serbian state President Ivan Stambolic.

October 1987: Milosevic purges Serbian Communist Party and the media.

April 24, 1987: First major Serb protest in Kosova over alleged persecution by majority ethnic Albanians. Milosevic's star rises in Serbia as he defends protesters from allegedly being beaten by predominantly ethnic-Albanian Kosova police.

May 15, 1986: Milosevic becomes Serbian regional Communist Party President.

(compiled by Reuters)

Croatia's President Comments

Croatia's President Comments

Slobodan Milosevic (left) shakes hands with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman after the signing of the Dayton peace accord in Paris on 21 November 1995 (epa)

NO COMPROMISES: On September 20, 2004, Croatian President STIPE MESIC gave an extensive interview to RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service in which he discussed the history of the collapse of Yugoslavia, as well as the 1990s Balkans conflicts and Slobodan Milosevic's role in them (the complete interview in Croatian).
During this period, Mesic enjoyed a stormy relationship with Franjo Tudjman, who was Croatia's president at the time. Mesic was one of several prominent moderate Croats who did not hide his disapproval of the 1993-94 Croatian-Muslim conflict in Bosnia. Many observers held Tudjman responsible for that conflict, since he seemed bent on partitioning Bosnia with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and establishing a greater Croatia.
Asked whether he, as the last president of the second or communist-era Yugoslavia, feels some responsibility for the demise of that state, Mesic told RFE/RL that it was clear to him when he arrived in Belgrade in 1991 to try to take up the rotating chair of the eight-member Yugoslav presidency that federal Yugoslav institutions had ceased to function. The solution, he felt, was to reach a new political agreement. The presidency consisted of representatives of the six republics -- Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia -- plus the Serbian autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, which enjoyed a legal status close to that of the republics under the 1974 constitution.
But, Mesic argued, Milosevic did not want such a compromise. Instead, Milosevic sought to break up Yugoslavia and create a greater Serbia. In the course of carrying out his plan, Mesic charged, Milosevic indulged in genocide and other war crimes, and for that he was brought before the Hague-based war crimes tribunal.
Milosevic never gave Mesic the opportunity to lead the country to a compromise solution, because the Serbian leader and his three allies on the presidency prevented the Croat from taking over the rotating chair.
Mesic was supported by the representatives of Slovenia, Bosnia, and Macedonia, all of which were to declare their independence in the following months when it became clear that Milosevic was interested in controlling the federation and would destroy it if he could not dominate it. (Patrick Moore)

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

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