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Serb President Blames Tribunal for Death

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro - Serbian President Boris Tadic said Monday the U.N. war crimes tribunal is responsible for Slobodan Milosevic

Slobodan Milosevic's death, but he added that it would not hamper Serbia's future cooperation with the court.

"Undoubtedly, Milosevic had demanded a higher level of health care," Tadic said in an interview with The Associated Press. "That right should have been granted to all war crimes defendants."

He added, "I think they are responsible for what happened."

Milosevic died Saturday of a heart attack in his prison cell near the tribunal in
The Hague The Hague, Netherlands. The former Serbian president had recently demanded to be temporarily released to go to Moscow for treatment after years of suffering from heart problems and high blood pressure.

But the judges refused, ruling that even with Russian guarantees to send him back to the court, they were afraid he would not return.

"Unfortunately, today we are getting messages from the tribunal that they are not responsible," Tadic said. "I think they are responsible for what happened."

A Dutch toxicologist said Monday that Milosevic was taking antibiotics that diluted prescriptions for his ailments while he was pleading with a U.N. tribunal for permission to get treatment in Russia.

Tadic, whose Democratic Party led a popular revolt that toppled Milosevic in 2000, said that despite "the lack of credibility" the tribunal has among Serbs, Serbia will try to hand over more war crimes suspects, including top fugitive Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb army commander wanted on genocide charges.

Milosevic's death "won't jeopardize our cooperation with the tribunal," Tadic said.

Tadic reiterated that he would not issue a pardon that would abolish an international arrest warrant for Milosevic's widow, Mirjana Markovic, if she planned to attend his funeral in Belgrade. He said that the ultimate decision on the warrant would be made by a Serbian court Tuesday.

"I won't lift the responsibility off the person who is suspected of some very serious crimes in the past," Tadic said. He also said that holding a state funeral for Milosevic "would be highly inappropriate."

A Belgrade district court said Monday it would reconsider a demand by Milosevic's family lawyers to waive an arrest warrant for Markovic to enable her to return from Russia and attend the ex-president's funeral.

It remains unclear where and how Milosevic will be buried.

Markovic, considered the power behind the scenes during Milosevic's warmongering 1990s rule, has been charged here with abuse of power during Milosevic's reign. Some other allegations link her directly to several murders of Milosevic's political opponents.

Tadic said he was certain that Milosevic's death would not help his ultranationalist allies regain power in Serbia, despite signs that they have rallied around the policies of their former leader.

"Today in Serbia we have a fight (for power) by those who ruled together with Milosevic," Tadic said, referring to Radical Party ultranationalists and Milosevic's Socialists.

"But I'm absolutely confident that there will be no turning back on the political scene in Serbia," Tadic said. "Not even Milosevic's death will change Serbia's path toward democracy."

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