Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader and former president of Yugoslavia whose war crimes trial has been going on for more than four years, is dead:
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – 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.
Regardless of your belief system—whether he goes to oblivion, a Higher Judge, or to await rebirth to learn from the mistakes of this life—he will no doubt face a more severe punishment than any likely to be meted out by the Court at The Hague.
In my view Milosevic’s trial has cast the entire concept of an International Court into disrepute. There must be something between summary execution and allowing criminals to die of old age while their trials wind on and on.
UPDATE: Austin Bay notes:
He epitomized the move from “red to brown” in eastern Europe– moving from Communist to ultra-nationalist fascist as the Cold War ended. The Nazis and Communists both knew they were cut from the same hideous human mold. They both share a disdain for liberalism and a disregard for human life. They are also permanently anti-American. Hitler called the US cowboys– remember that next time you hear the US “cowboy” disparaged. You can see these traits displayed by the Stalinists still among us.
I find the death of Slobo and that of Tom Fox to be instructive when looked at together. It’s almost as if they got the cards switched.
Milosevic is not just dead, he won. He was never convicted in a court of law. He ran the clock out and that has to count as a victory for him. It will certainly be played that way by his supporters.
Justice delayed *is* justice denied. And we were supposed to throw Saddam into this system?
He in fact was imprisoned for life. But you are right, the trial was a joke, and casts the idea of international trials for war criminals into utter disrepute. Perhaps the trial of Saddam will show a better way to handle such transgressions. Or perhaps returning to the traditional treatment, the one handed out to Mussolini and many, many others, will be the way to go. In any case, I don’t think that any dictator, tyrant or murderous fanatic will tremble in fear at the idea of going to trial in the Hague.
Wow. We seem to all be thinking the same thing. Slobo did indeed outlast the Court and in that sense, win. Or rather, the Court just did what it was intended to do, which is mark time, pretend to bring criminals to justice, and wait for it all to go away.
It’s not a wonder that Saddam is absent from The Hague.