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The Fate of Milosevic

When Slobodan Milosevic accepted defeat on October 6, 2000, he said that he planned to take a break to spend time with his family, but would return to politics and the Socialist Party.

The world had other plans. During the NATO bombing campaign in early 1999 Milosevic was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). He was arrested by Serbian police on corruption charges in April 2001, and on June 29, the Serbian government under Zoran Djindjic extradited him to the Hague, making him the first former head of state to face trial before an international tribunal. His trial was widely considered to be the most important war crimes trial since the Nuremburg trials following World War II. He was charged with 66 counts in three separate indictments, each of which carried a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Milosevic appears before the International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague.

Milosevic's trial on charges related to ethnic cleansing in Kosovo began on February 12, 2002 and lasted for seven months. In September 2002, the prosecution opened its case against Milosevic on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Croatia and Bonsnia and Herzegovina. Representing himself, Milosevic refused to recognize the legitimacy of the court, and accused the United States and other Western nations of fabricating the charges as part of "a bid for global domination."

The defense case began almost two years later on August 31, 2004 when Milosevic appeared in court and submitted a list of over 1,200 witnesses. However, because Milosevic's health problems were becoming increasingly incapacitating, judges appointed two defense lawyers to present the case, a decision Milosevic vehemently opposed.

Court proceedings ended on March 14, 2006 three days after Milosevic died of heart failure in his cell at the tribunal's detention center in The Hague.