Milosevic death prompts UN jail audit

Sweden has accepted a request by the Hague war crimes tribunal to conduct an independent audit of the detention unit where Slobodan Milosevic died earlier this month, the court said.

    Milosevic died in jail on March 11

    The former Yugoslav president died in his cell on March 11 of a heart attack, months before an anticipated verdict in his United Nations war crimes trial. The 64-year-old suffered from high blood pressure and a heart condition.

    "The tribunal is grateful to the Swedish government for its support," the court said in a statement on Friday, adding that the audit would cover all areas related to the management and administration of the detention unit in a Dutch prison outside The Hague.

    Milan Babic, a Croatian Serb leader committed suicide in the same detention centre a week before Milosevic's death.

    In New York, Fausto Pocar, an Italian judge and president of the UN tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, told UN Security Council members in a video briefing that Milosevic had been examined by several doctors, including a Belgrade-based cardiologist and seven others he had requested.

    Russian dissatisfaction

    "The tribunal is grateful to the Swedish government for its support"

    Hague war crimes tribunal statement

    Russia asked for the briefing but diplomats who attended said Russian representatives were not satisfied and questioned why Milosevic had not been allowed to go to Moscow for treatment as he had requested.

    Cesar Mayoral, Argentine ambassador and this month's council president, said Russia wanted to renew the questioning when Pocar comes to New York in June.

    In January, Dutch physicians during a routine blood test discovered the presence of a drug that is rare in the Netherlands and is used mainly to treat leprosy and tuberculosis, Pocar told the council. The drug has been identified as rifampicin.

    In a letter sent to Russia the day before he died, Milosevic suggested he was being poisoned.

    Milosevic request

    The court had denied a December request by Milosevic to travel to Russia for treatment of his heart problems, ruling he could receive the best possible care in the Netherlands.

    Since the tribunal had granted Milosevic the right to defend himself, he was given a private office with a telephone and computer, where he could meet with witnesses.

    Milosevic had interviewed some 70 potential witnesses as well as legal experts advising him, Pocar said.

    The judge told the council that doctors who attended Milosevic, including some from Russia, were now being asked to provide additional information for an inquiry, including autopsy reports and data on "non-prescribed medicines" found in his blood stream, the diplomats reported.

    Pocar said the International Committee of the Red Cross has visited the prison 18 times to ensure it was run properly.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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