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Dutch Grant Visa To Milosevic's Son, Russian Doctors

A Russian supporter of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (epa) March 13, 2006 -- The Dutch Embassy in Moscow has granted a three-day visa to Slobodan Milosevic's son, Marko, so he can travel to The Hague to claim the former Yugoslav president's remains.

A Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman, Dirk Jan Vermeij, said four Russian doctors have also been granted one-week visas.

Milosevic died in prison at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague on March 11. An autopsy conducted on March 12 revealed he died of a heart attack. A Dutch toxicologist said on March 13 that he found traces of a drug in Milosevic's blood two weeks ago that could have counteracted the effects of the hypertension medication he was taking.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said prior to the visas being issued that the Kremlin wants to send its own doctors to the Netherlands to examine the body, "or at least acquaint themselves with its results," because "in the situation where we were not trusted, we also have the right not to believe and not to trust those who are conducting the autopsy."

Russia had wanted a Russian pathologist to take part in the autopsy and had expressed regret that the UN tribunal had refused Milosevic permission to receive treatment in Moscow.

Milosevic had been on trial at the UN war crimes tribunal since 2002 on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed in the Balkans in the early 1990s.

A legal advisor to Milosevic said the family has decided to hold the former president's funerals in Belgrade. But Marko Milosevic said he will ask Russia for permission to bury his father in Moscow if members of the family receive no guarantee of their safety in Serbia.

A Belgrade court is expected to rule on March 14 on a request to waive an arrest warrant and provide guarantees for Slobodan Milosevic's widow, Mirjana Markovic.

(compiled from agency reports)

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