People vs. Milosevic, Part 6: Shadows
By CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- At the end of October, when 74 pages detailing charges against Slobodan Milosevic were read to him at The Hague, he was as dismissive as ever.
"Don't bother me and make me listen for hours on end to the reading of texts written at the intellectual level of a 7-year-old child, or rather, let me correct myself, a retarded 7-year-old," Milosevic said.
The charges read in October were that Milosevic, as head of state, was responsible for crimes against humanity in Croatia and Bosnia. He has since been charged with genocide. His trial is expected to begin in February.
Whatever the outcome, Milosevic has cast long shadows over the country he once vowed to make great.
The shadows include old faces who haunt the new regime. Vlajko Stojilkovic for instance, Milosevic's former interior minister, still sits in parliament even though he was indicted for war crimes along with his boss back in 1999.
And Milan Milutinovic -- who was also indicted by the tribunal -- is still the president of Serbia.
"This indictment is in my case strictly, I think, completely formal because I have no competence over the army. I have no competence over the police -- nothing like that by the constitution and by the law," says Milutinovic.
And even Yugoslavia's new leaders concede that many lower-profile heirs to Milosevic's empire -- his favored bankers and businessmen -- remain lynchpins of organized crime.
"Speaking about the mafia and crime, his spirit is still present. That spirit is now looking for its new godfather," says Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica.
"I think now it is more dangerous to have these financial groups which were around Milosevic continuing their work, than to have his political networks and his party -- and even to have these people from security police - acting against us," says Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
For the Yugoslav people, Milosevic's removal from power offered great hope.
"I do believe in the future, but I believe that we have to fight for that future by ourselves, that no one will serve it to us on a plate, and that we are obliged to leave a clean space for future generations who must not be responsible for everything that took place here," says Dr. Branka Prpa wife of slain journalist Slavko Curuvija, who was a prominent critic of Milosevic.
More than a year after Milosevic was forced from power, Serbia is getting the chance to develop its fledgling democracy.
And with Milosevic being held to account, the Serbian people who elected and re-elected him for a decade may start to shed the burden of collective guilt.
Case against Milosevic
CNN.com In-depth Special
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
WORLD TOP STORIES:
|Back to the top|