Former Yugoslav President Milosevic Set for Belgrade Burial, Fresh Questions over Death

Milosevic's son Marko was granted a visa to fly to the Netherlands -- he is expected to arrive Tuesday from Moscow -- to recover his father's body. Four Russian doctors obtained visas to visit The Netherlands where they were being sent "urgently" to examine the results of the autopsy

Also Monday, new questions arose over the cause of the former strongman's sudden death. A toxicologist alleged he may have taken drugs that put his own life at risk while Moscow challenged the results of his autopsy.

"I am sure he took the medicine himself because he wanted a one-way ticket to

A Bosnian Serb, citizen of Western Bosnian city of Banja Luka, kisses a portrait of Slobodan Milosevic at a city square, 13 March 2006 (AFP Photo)

Moscow" for treatment, Donald Uges told AFP.

Uges, who examined Milosevic's blood two weeks ago, said he believed he had deliberately taken a powerful antibiotic -- not prescribed by court doctors -- in order to counter the effects of his heart medication.

 In Moscow, four doctors obtained visas to visit The Netherlands where they were being sent "urgently" to examine the results of the autopsy, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Milosevic died Saturday aged 64 while on trial for so-called genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity over the bloody 1990s Balkans conflicts.

Milosevic's longtime legal adviser, Zdenko Tomanovic, said that his family had made a "final decision ... to have the funeral in Belgrade," adding: "The remaining question is whether it will be a state one."
 
Serbian President Boris Tadic has said a state funeral would be "completely inappropriate" given Milosevic's role in the bloody 1990s Balkan wars and his ouster in a popular uprising in 2000.

However, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's minority coalition government is under pressure from Milosevic's Socialist Party (SPS), whose votes it badly needs, to give him a fitting send-off.

Tomanovic said the family was not insisting on having Milosevic buried in the Alley of Great Men, the resting place of national luminaries in Belgrade's main cemetery.

The Belgrade Court was expected Tuesday to clear the way for the funeral of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic in the Serbian capital by withdrawing an arrest warrant for his widow.

The warrant against Mirjana Markovic, known as Mira, had been seen as the major obstacle to holding a funeral in Milosevic's homeland after his sudden death Saturday while on trial in the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Judges were due to rule later Tuesday morning, a court spokeswoman said.
 
 ICTY is slammed

The United Nations tribunal that tried former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic said it would hold a scheduled hearing in the trial Tuesday despite his death, although it was likely to be brief.

Judicial proceedings against Milosevic are officially still under way, and may continue until the judges decide to end the trial.

However, since the statutes of the ICTY prohibit lengthy proceedings in the defendant's absence, it is likely to close soon.

The circumstances of Milosevic's trial and death sparked fierce criticism.

Critics noted he was the fourth inmate to die at the tribunal's detention center, but the strongest accusations were reserved for the judicial process, which was more than four years old by the time he died.

Britain's Times daily slammed the trial as "rambling and incoherent," and charged that allowing Milosevic to list more than 1,600 defence witnesses was "indulgent to the point of paralysis".

The UN tribunal is expected to bring a formal close

A court spokesman said the hearing would go forward on Tuesday at 9:00 am (0800 GMT) as scheduled before Milosevic's sudden death on Saturday, adding that it was likely to be brief, while experts said it would probably bring down the curtain on the case.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has never tried a defendant posthumously or in absentia.

   
    AFP-SGGP

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