Slobodan Milosevic

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Milošević, Slobodan

(slôbô`dän mēlô`shəvĭch'), 1941–2006, Yugoslav and Serbian political leader, president of Serbia (1989–97) and of Yugoslavia (1997–2000), b. Požarevac, Serbia. He joined the Communist party in 1959, beginning his political career in the 1960s as an economic adviser to the mayor of Belgrade and holding various posts in the party and state enterprises. He became the leader of the Belgrade Communist party in 1984 and Serbian party leader in 1986.

Initially opposed to liberalization, he was elected president of SerbiaSerbia
, Serbian Srbija , officially Republic of Serbia, republic (2015 est. pop. 8,851,000), 34,116 sq mi (88,361 sq km), W central Balkan Peninsula; formerly the chief constituent republic of Yugoslavia and of its short-lived successor, Serbia and Montenegro.
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 in 1989 and proceeded to transform its Communist party into the nationalistic Socialist party. Milošević called for the inclusion of Serb areas in other republics in a "greater Serbia" as the price for Yugoslavia's dissolution. He supported Serb forces in CroatiaCroatia
, Croatian Hrvatska, officially Republic of Croatia, republic (2015 est. pop. 4,236,000), 21,824 sq mi (56,524 sq km), in the northwest corner of the Balkan Peninsula.
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 and Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina
, Serbo-Croatian Bosna i Hercegovina, country (2015 est. pop. 3,536,000), 19,741 sq mi (51,129 sq km), on the Balkan peninsula, S Europe. It is bounded by Croatia on the west and north, Serbia on the northeast, and Montenegro on the southeast.
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 after the two became independent and was widely blamed for the Serbs' military aggression and brutal "ethnic cleansing" policies, but he ultimately abandoned the Serbs outside Serbia, signing (1995) a peace accord.

Barred from a third term as Serbia's president, he became president of Yugoslavia in 1997. In 1999 his government's refusal to restore autonomy to KosovoKosovo
, Albanian Kosova, Serbian Kosovo i Metohija and Kosmet, officially Republic of Kosovo, republic (2015 est. pop. 1,871,000), 4,126 sq mi (10,686 sq km), SE Europe, a former province of Serbia that unilaterally declared its independence in 2008.
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 and its harsh tactics there led to NATO air attacks (Mar.–June) on Yugoslavia as Serbian forces deported hundreds of thousands of Albanian Kosovars; Serbia was forced to withdraw from Kosovo. As a result of Serbian actions, Milošević was charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

In 2000 the Yugoslav constitution was amended to permit the president to hold office for two terms; direct presidential elections also were instituted. The changes were designed to permit Milošević to remain in power, but when elections were held he was defeated by Vojislav KoštunicaKoštunica, Vojislav
, 1944–, Serbian politician, president of Yugoslavia (2000–3) and prime minister of Serbia (2004–8) b. Belgrade. A constitutional lawyer and liberal anticommunist, he lectured at his Belgrade Univ.
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. Milošević only conceded after being forced to by strikes and demonstrations and international pressure, and remained head of the Socialist party of Serbia.

In 2001 he was arrested on charges of abuse of power and corruption and later turned over to the UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague, which tried him (2002) on charges of war crimes in Kosovo, Croatia, and Bosnia. He died, however, before his lengthy trial concluded. His family blamed his death on foul play, but a Dutch investigation found no evidence of this. Some tribunal officials believed he manipulated the treatment of his high blood pressure in an attempt to delay his trial or win release on medical grounds; earlier in 2006 an unprescribed antibiotic that interferes with blood pressure medication was found in his blood.


See biography by D. Doder and L. Branson (1999).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Slobodan Milosevic (1941-2006) was in office as President of Serbia in 1989-1997 and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1997-2000.
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Finally, the ongoing trial of Slobodan Milosevic marks the first time a world leader has landed in the dock for war crimes committed under his watch.