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On The Scene

Amanpour: Milosevic tried to fool Western leaders

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Christiane Amanpour

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Slobodan Milosevic
Christiane Amanpour

(CNN) -- Slobodan Milosevic ruled by violent means during the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, while trying to convince other world leaders that he was trying to bring peace to the Balkans.

CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, who covered the conflicts in the region and has reported on the subsequent trial of Milosevic, talked with CNN anchor Colleen McEdwards on how the Yugoslav president tried to outwit the rest of the world.

EDWARDS: We spoke a short time ago to one of Mr. Milosevic's biographers who described him as extremely cunning, extremely intellectually cunning, and cold. ... Was there ever any doubt about that?

AMANPOUR: No, there wasn't. From the moment he ascended to the pinnacle of power that is where he stayed and that is where he directed what went on in the Balkans -- the worst crimes against humanity that Europe and the world had seen since World War II in Europe.

This was something that went on almost unabated for the better part of the 1990s decade. He was known to his enemies and to his victims as the "Butcher of the Balkans."

[He was responsible for] the paying, the sponsoring, the supporting from behind the scenes [of] his proxies -- mostly in Bosnia, where the worst bloodshed took place.

And where for instance in Srebrenica in July 1995 the massacre, the cold-blooded massacre, of boys and men who were Muslims who have never been accounted for, their bodies having never turned up, was the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

And he's been charged, and was standing trial, on 66 counts of genocide and other crimes against humanity.

So this was somebody who was deemed widely to have been responsible for what went on, while at the same time for many years being a negotiator with Western leaders, being involved in peace talks and peace conferences.

[He had] all the trappings of leadership and having the acceptance on the world stage, basically telling world leaders what they wanted to hear and always saying that he was doing his best to bring peace while for many, many years his proxies were continuing to wage their war financed and coordinated to a large extent from Slobodan Milosevic and his military.

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