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Russian parliamentarians speak on Milosevic death

(RIA Novosti) - By denying the former president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, the right to undergo treatment in Russia, the UN war crimes tribunal actually "denied him the right to life," a deputy speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, Lyubov Sliska said Saturday.

Milosevic was found dead in his cell in The Hague Tribunal's prison in the morning.

Sliska said doctors had been aware of Milosevic's condition but refused to temporarily release him. She blamed his death on those who denied him treatment and urged them to resign.

Last December, Milosevic, 64, suffering from a heart condition and high blood pressure, asked to allow him to go for treatment to the Bakulev Institute, Russia's leading cardiology center, but was refused.

The International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia refused to grant Milosevic temporary release from detention to travel to Russia, saying there were no sufficient guarantees that the man, charged with genocide and war crimes, would return for his trial, nor was there any evidence to prove he could not be given adequate medical care without leaving the Netherlands.

Russian daily Kommersant speculated, however, that if allowed to come to Russia for treatment, Milosevic would try to gain political asylum and stay in the country.

Another State Duma deputy speaker, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who is also the leader of Russia's ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, said the lower house would adopt a resolution March 15 demanding to bring to account the tribunal's judges who denied Milosevic treatment in Moscow.

Zhirinovsky said MPs would demand that the tribunal be dismissed. "It's monstrous that Europe, which is fighting for human rights, refused seriously sick Slobodan Milosevic treatment," he said, adding that Milosevic, accused of genocide during the conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and the Serbian province of Kosovo in the 1990s, had not been found guilty yet.

The head of the Duma faction Rodina (Motherland), Sergei Baburin, called the tribunal's refusal a crime. He said a serious violation of human rights was evident, adding that Milosevic was a third person who died in the Hague Tribunal's prison.

The head of the Duma's international affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachev, said the circumstances of Milosevic's death should be thoroughly investigated. He said the competence of doctors who "kept refusing to recognize the seriousness of the former Yugoslavia president's condition" should come under close scrutiny.

A representative of the tribunal denied any responsibility on the part of the tribunal for the former Yugoslavia president's death. He said equal treatment could have been provided in The Hague, and added that there had been a risk that the accused would not return from Russia if he had been temporarily released from detention and allowed to go there.

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