Milosevic’s body returns home

Speaking on state-controlled Radio-Television of Serbia (RTS), Milorad Vucelic said that people will be able to pay tribute to the former Yugoslav president before he is buried in his hometown of Pozarevac.

“The coffin will be on display from Thursday at noon (1100 GMT) until a final farewell Saturday at noon in front of the parliament (of ex-Yugoslavia), so all citizens can pay their respects to the president,” Mr Vucelic said.

On Saturday the funeral cortege will be given a send-off from the front of the federal parliament and head toward Pozarevac, where Milosevic will be buried in his family’s yard at 3:00 pm.

Milosevic was found dead in his prison cell in The Hague while on trial before the United Nations war crimes tribunal. He was charged with some of the worst war crimes in modern European history.

Airport arrival

Slobodan Milosevic’s body was flown from Amsterdam to Belgrade airport to an emotionally charged reception from supporters.

Hundreds of people chanted “Slobo! Slobo!” or “Slobo rise up! Slobodan hero!” and wept or threw red roses as his coffin was brought out of the plane.

Officials from his Socialist Party (SPS) kept ranks on the tarmac while his coffin, draped with a Serbian flag, was then put into a hearse and driven slowly to a city hospital morgue.

Despite the emotion shown by those at the airport, Serbian authorities said because of the war crimes charges against Milosevic, he would be given none of the trappings of a state funeral.

Serbian outrage

After claiming his father’s body, in The Netherlands Marko Milosevic, flew back to Moscow, where he has been living for several years with his mother, Mira Markovic.

The family had been pushing for a Belgrade burial but Mira Markovic, wanted on fraud charges there, was prevented from returning to Serbia fearing arrest on arrival.

Moscow had been suggested as an alternative burial spot for Milosevic’s remains but on Tuesday the arrest warrant for Mira Markovic was revoked, meaning she could return for the first time in three years in order to bury her husband.

Victims of the Milosevic regime were furious at the Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica for allowing the funeral in Belgrade in what is seen by some analysts as a political manoeuver.

“There are thousands of people who have lost their relatives in the wars… who have fled the country, who have lost their dignity,” Sreten Petrovic, a court clerk who lost his job in 1996 because of his views on Milosevic, told AFP.

Test results

Earlier in The Hague, Russian doctors said that they “totally agreed” with official conclusions that Milosevic had died of a heart attack.

“We totally agree with the results of the autopsy,” Leo Bokeria, who headed the Russian mission, told AFP. “This is typical of sudden cardiac death.”

The Russian parliament has called for an international inquiry into the death and sent a team of four doctors to The Hague amid questions surrounding the circumstances of his demise.

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