Slobodan Milošević

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Portrait of Milošević (1980s)

Slobodan Milosevic [ slɔbɔdan milɔːʃɛvitɕ ] ( Cyrillic Слободан Милошевић, pronunciation ? / I * 20th August 1941 in Pozarevac , Serbia ; † 11. March 2006 in The Hague - Scheveningen , Netherlands ) was a communist and later socialist Yugoslav and Serbian politicians . From 1987 to 2000, he was the decisive political leader in Serbia and later in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia within various political functions . Audio file / audio sample

Milošević was party chairman of the Union of Communists of Serbia (1986-1989) and also founder and long-time chairman of the Socialist Party of Serbia (1990-2006). Milošević served as President of the Socialist Republic of Serbia (1989–1991), President of the Republic of Serbia (1991–1997) and President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1997–2000).

In connection with the Kosovo war , he was the first head of state to be charged with genocide by a war crimes tribunal while he was still in office (the charges were later extended to the Yugoslav wars 1991–1995). After Milošević resigned as Yugoslav president on October 5, 2000 due to mass demonstrations , he was arrested at the instigation of the Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić in 2001 and extradited to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague . The trial began in 2002, but Milošević died before the end of the trial in 2006, so there was no verdict.



Slobodan Milošević was the second son of Svetozar Milošević and Stanislava Milošević. His parents were Montenegrins . His father, an Orthodox clergyman, left the family when Milošević visited nor the elementary school, and committed 1962 suicide ; his mother killed herself eleven years later. Slobodan Milošević saw himself as a Serb , in contrast to his brother Borislav, who made a career as a Montenegrin in the diplomatic service of the SFR Yugoslavia and the later Federal Republic of Yugoslavia .

Political career (1959–1986)

Slobodan Milošević joined the Union of Communists of Yugoslavia (BDKJ) in 1959 . In 1964 he completed his law studies with the legal state examination at Belgrade University . From 1969 he was Vice Director and from 1974 General Director of Technogas . From 1978 to 1983 he was director of Beogradska Banka . In 1984 he became head of the Communist Party in Belgrade, and in 1986 party chairman of the Union of Communists of Serbia .

Milošević was married to Mirjana Marković since 1965 and had two children with her.

Milošević's regime in Serbia (1987-2000)

Politics before the beginning of the Yugoslav wars

Flag of Serbia under Milošević

In September 1987, Milošević brought about the overthrow of the Serbian President Ivan Stambolić , eliminated the internal party opposition and thus became the de facto sole ruler of Serbia. In 1988 and 1989 he was the driving force behind the so - called anti - bureaucratic revolution , during which the political leadership of the two autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina as well as the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro were replaced by politicians loyal to Milošević. In addition, the extended autonomy status of the two Serbian provinces, which has existed since 1974, was downgraded to the level from before 1974.

In 1989 Milošević took over the presidency of the Yugoslav republic of Serbia and was confirmed in office with 65 percent of the vote in December 1990 in the first free elections since World War II . On June 28, 1989, he gave a speech on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the battle on the Amselfeld , the so-called Amselfeld speech .

In January 1990, the increasing independence movements of Croatia and Slovenia led to the de facto dissolution of the BDKJ. In July 1990 the Union of Communists of Serbia , the Serb republic organization of the BDKJ, merged with the mass organization Serbian Alliance for the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) , of which Milošević was elected first chairman.

The war in Yugoslavia

Slobodan Milošević after signing the Dayton Agreement in 1995

During the Yugoslav Wars, Serbia and the remaining Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Milošević supplied supplies, fuel and weapons to the war zones, but after the short Slovenian War of Independence in 1991 ( 10-day war ) and the first period of the Croatian War, it was no longer with regular troops involved in these disputes.

It was claimed during and after the war that the Serbian government under Milošević had planned the military conflict as early as 1990, possibly even before that, in order to create a joint Greater Serbian state, the main aim of which was to give territories to Serbia affiliate. However, this view cannot be proven, since politicians of the Republic of Serbian Krajina have repeatedly called for a common state, but has been publicly rejected by Milošević, who as a member of the communist party pursued the preservation of the previous state.

On November 21, 1995, Milošević, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović and Croatian President Franjo Tuđman signed the so-called Dayton Agreement , which ended the war in the former republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and established the political system in the now independent Bosnia and Herzegovina. The greatest success of Milošević's policy was the creation of the Republika Srpska as an independent entity within this republic.

From the President of Serbia to the President of Yugoslavia

Slobodan Milošević (right) in conversation with the IFOR commander and US Admiral T. Joseph Lopez in Belgrade in September 1996

In the local elections of November 17, 1996, opposition parties emerged victorious in many cities and towns in Serbia, including Belgrade, and the representatives of the SPS under Milošević were only able to claim political power through election fraud . In Belgrade and other Serbian cities, the opposition then called for the overthrow of Milošević in mass demonstrations, which led to the government's recognition of the opposition's electoral successes in February 1997. With this, Milošević's power in Serbia began to crumble. In July 1997 he resigned from the office of Serbian President, also because he could not have been re-elected to this position according to the constitution, but was then elected President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on July 15, 1997 by the socialist majority of the Yugoslav Federal Parliament.

In May 1998 he brought about the overthrow of the Yugoslav Prime Minister Radoje Kontić from Montenegro , which considerably exacerbated the tensions between the German government ruled by Milošević and Montenegro.

Kosovo war and fall

During the 1990s, the differences between the Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo intensified. From about 1996 onwards there were armed clashes between the Liberation Army of Kosovo (UÇK) and the armed forces of the FR Yugoslavia. This conflict finally culminated in the initially internal Kosovo war in 1998/1999, which resulted in NATO attacks from March 24, 1999 due to the support of the Kosovar Albanians by NATO and the refusal of the Yugoslav government to accept NATO troops on its own soil to Yugoslavia and ultimately to a United Nations-administered Kosovo, but still formally part of Yugoslavia.

After protracted protests and mass demonstrations, Milošević was overthrown in a popular uprising on October 5, 2000, after he had initially declared himself the winner of the presidential elections on September 24, 2000. Vojislav Koštunica was elected as the new president .

Since an international donor conference in the form of billions in reconstruction aid for Serbia and Montenegro depended on the extradition of the former ruler, the now Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić had Milošević arrested on April 1, 2001 and extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague .

Charges at the war crimes tribunal

On 27 May 1999, Milosevic, who was a key figure of the Yugoslav wars was, from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague of crimes against humanity indicted. The final indictments added violations of the laws and customs of war and the Geneva Conventions, as well as genocide .


Milošević was charged with a total of 66 counts in three indictments for the following acts:

Charges against the Croatian war:

Charges in the Bosnian War: additionally the following crimes:

Charges in the Kosovo War:

In connection with the war in Kosovo, Milošević was also charged with the following crimes:

  • to have planned, ordered and carried out the systematic expulsion of the Albanian population
  • the displacement of 800,000 civilians from Kosovo
  • the death of at least 900 people
  • Crimes against humanity
  • War crimes.

According to all three indictments, Milošević was responsible for:

The trial before the tribunal began in 2002. Milošević did not recognize the court as legitimate. He was allowed to defend himself. The trial was often interrupted because he temporarily viewed the court as a suitable place for political (defense) speeches. Over 400 witnesses were heard, 200 videos and an enormous amount of files and documents were viewed in the complex legal proceedings . In Serbia, as in the other republics of the former Yugoslavia, the negotiations were initially followed with great attention. There were clearly divergent assessments within the Serbian population between supporters and opponents of his policy. Due to the long duration of the process, however, the interest noticeably waned.

During the trial, Milošević blamed “Germany, the Vatican, the United States and the European Union” for the war and war crimes in his defense. He described his indictment before the court established for him as an "unscrupulous lie and distortion of history". The only purpose of the proceedings against him was "to protect those who are in truth responsible" and "to draw the wrong conclusions". He described the NATO mission as "NATO aggression".

The gathering of evidence was largely complete at the time of his death and a verdict was due to be passed in 2006. The chief prosecutor of the war crimes tribunal, Carla Del Ponte , said on Swiss television that the trial had come to an end and Milosevic had been convicted. Enough evidence has been presented for this. "I also regret it for the victims, the thousands of victims who waited for justice."

After Milošević's death, the proceedings were discontinued after four and a half years without a final report.

In the context of the judgment against Radovan Karadžić , the ICTY found in 2016 that Milošević's responsibility for the charges relating to the Bosnian war could not be proven. Various media incorrectly interpreted this as a subsequent “acquittal”.

Critical voices about Milošević's guilt in the Yugoslav Wars

In 1999, editors of the WDR broadcast Monitor spoke in a documentary of “conscious falsifications” in connection with reporting in Germany about the Kosovo war. Because of its research methods, this report was again criticized by the FAZ and the magazine Der Spiegel for “unclean” questioning of witnesses and the selective reproduction of their statements. Rupert Neudeck and Norbert Blüm also raised serious allegations against the WDR. The WDR stuck to his presentation and the German police officer and OSCE observer Henning Hensch reiterated the statements made in the documentation about the Rogovo incident in 2013 .

Journalists Oliver Tolmein , Hermann L. Gremliza , Christian Y. Schmidt , Georg Fülberth , Germinal Civikov and Stefan Frank , as well as Jürgen Elsässer have, among other things in the magazine actually reported from 2000 continuously over the Kosovo war and the trial of Milosevic. Like Monitor, they were of the opinion that often published alleged evidence of Milošević's guilt for alleged war crimes had been falsified by Western media, including both pertinent media law trials in Great Britain and continued failure of the prosecution in the trial against Milošević. Furthermore, according to these sources, fundamental legal principles were violated in The Hague proceedings. So be u. a. The indictment itself, as well as the arguments of the prosecutors on individual points of view, were based to a large extent on proven perjuries by witnesses for the prosecution, but these perjuries were not prosecuted. About 1000 exculpatory pieces of evidence were also made available by UN diplomats, but the court did not include it in the proceedings with reference to the diplomatic activities of these witnesses. In September 2002 was, according to concrete the evidence the prosecution has ended unsuccessfully against Milosevic.

Furthermore, on March 3, 2004 , so-called friends of the court filed an application for acquittal from the indictment of genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as this had not been adequately proven by the prosecutors in the two-year-old proceedings. That motion was dismissed by Presiding Judge Bonomy on June 16 of the same year, just nine days after he took over the presidency to succeed Judge Richard May, who had resigned on health grounds. Germinal Civikov was astonished by this decision, because in his opinion it would be necessary to familiarize himself with the 35,000 pages of court minutes and over 600,000 pages of evidence in order to be up to date with the process and to be able to decide on an acquittal in a partial charge.

Other points of view

The writers Harold Pinter and Peter Handke as well as the journalist Jürgen Elsässer , despite the allegations of human rights violations and genocide, have called for a more differentiated view of Milošević's work in several books and articles. Handke gave an eulogy at Milošević's funeral. This was also the reason for the broad discussion about the intended award of the Heinrich Heine Prize 2006 to Peter Handke, which the latter ultimately renounced.

Diseases and death

Milošević suffered from diabetes , high blood pressure and heart problems. The court proceedings were therefore interrupted several times and for this reason also dragged on. His condition deteriorated dramatically within a short period of time in early 2006. The Hague judges refused treatment of the accused in Russia at the end of February of that year, as appropriate medical options were also available in the Netherlands.

On the morning of March 11, 2006, Milošević was found dead in his cell in the United Nations Detention Unit , the prison of the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague . A first autopsy of the body by court-appointed appraisers revealed that he had died of a heart attack .

An examination of a blood sample taken before his death on January 12, 2006 revealed evidence of the use of the antibiotic rifampicin - a drug that is typically used together with other drugs for leprosy , tuberculosis or meningococci . This can weaken or neutralize the effects of drugs, including those that act on the heart, through enzyme induction .

Milošević was buried a week after his death in his hometown Požarevac on his family's estate. The funeral took place in front of 20,000 mourners without his widow Mirjana Marković and his son being present, as they refused to leave their Moscow exile for fear of arrest. Instead, farewell letters from his family were read out.

Political functions

  • 1984–1986: Party leader of the local Communist Party of Belgrade
  • 1986–1989: Party leader of the Union of Communists of Serbia
  • 1989–1991: President of the Socialist Republic of Serbia
  • 1990–1997: President of the Republic of Serbia
  • 1997–2000: President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
  • 1990–2006: Chairman of the Socialist Party of Serbia


  • Germinal Civikov: The Milosevic Trial. Report from an observer . Promedia, Vienna 2006, ISBN 3-85371-264-9 .
  • Slavoljub Djukić: Milošević and power. Serbia's path into the abyss . Nidda-Verlag, Bad Vilbel 2000, ISBN 3-9806814-2-4 .
  • Rajko Djuric, Bertolt Bengsch: The disintegration of Yugoslavia . Morgenbuch, Berlin 1992 with a detailed biography of Milošević.
  • Caroline Fetscher u. a .: Milošević in The Hague . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-518-12291-6 .
  • Ralph Hartmann : The Milošević case. A reader . Dietz, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-320-02034-X .
  • Ralph Hartmann: The glorious winners. The turning point in Belgrade and the miraculous rescue of German warriors of honor "Karl Dietz Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-320-02003-X ( excerpt ).
  • Sead Husic: Psychopathology of Power. The destruction of Yugoslavia as reflected in the biographies of Milošević, Tudjman and Izetbegović. Hans Schiler Verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89930-183-0 .
  • Adam LeBor : Milošević. A biography . Bloomsbury, London 2002, ISBN 0-7475-6090-0 (English biography).
  • Slobodan Milošević: The Destruction of Yugoslavia. Slobodan Milošević answers his accusers. With a foreword by Klaus Hartmann . Zambon-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2006, ISBN 3-88975-135-0 .
  • Nebojša Popov, Hans-Günther Stobbe u. a. (Ed.): Serbia's path to war. Berlin 1998 Detailed account of Milošević's rise to power written by Serbian authors.
  • Louis Sell: Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. Duke University Press, Durham / London 2002, ISBN 0-8223-3223-X .
  • Laura Silver, Alan Little: Fratricidal War. The fight for Tito's legacy . Styria Verlag, Graz, Cologne, Vienna 1995, ISBN 3-222-12361-6 . Standard work on the Yugoslavia conflict up to 1995.

Web links

Commons : Slobodan Milošević  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Milošević, Slobodan , entry in Munzinger Online / Personen - Internationales Biographisches Archiv, URL: (accessed on December 6, 2018)
  2. UN Tribunal Milosevic blames the West and the Vatican . Article from August 31, 2004 in the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung .
  3. Milosevic: Germany caused the Balkan War . FAZ .net , August 31, 2004.
  4. "Milosevic would have been convicted". Spiegel Online .
  5. "Del Ponte regrets Milosevic's sudden death" ( Memento of May 21, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) .
  6. Dirk Eckert: Rehabilitation of Milošević? In: telepolis , September 21, 2016, accessed on April 21, 2017.
  7. WDR: It started with a lie
  8. ^ Matthias Rüb: A case of bulldozer journalism. What the WDR film "It began with a lie" hides about Kosovo . In: FAZ , March 1, 2001, p. 51
  9. Nice brandishing the apartheid . In: Der Spiegel . No. 11 , 2001, p. 157-159 ( online ).
  10. Michael Hanfeld: Milosevic's helper. Neudeck and Blüm reprimand the WDR . In: FAZ , February 20, 2002, p. 55
  11. a b concrete 5/2005, article: “Film off! The Kosovar Albanians, allegedly expelled by Serbs in March 1999, were filmed in the refugee camps of Macedonia by western camera teams as the television broadcasters and the warring powers wished. The trial of Slobodan Milošević brings it to light "
  12. Honor, Your Honor - The limits of criticism of warlords and war propaganda are narrow, as court decisions in Berlin and London show . In: concrete , 5/2000:
  13. a b c concrete 4/2005, article: "Klasse Justiz - The judges of the Hague Yugoslavia Tribunal do not like to hear what Milosevic has to say ", p. 36 f.
  14. a b concrete 8/2005, article: “Shot from the hip - What remains of the 'evidence' according to which the former Yugoslav President Milošević is responsible for the Srebrenica massacre? ", P. 38 f.
  15. concrete 4/2006, article: “Such a scoundrel! - Slobodan Milošević's death suits the The Hague Tribunal above all ”, p. 35
  16. a b c concrete 5/2006, article: "Joint Criminal Enterprise - How Milosevic died ", p. 28 f.
  17. novo 73/74, article: "The War Criminal Tribunal - a joint criminal enterprise"