Milošević rules from his prison cell?
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević will remain in custody for another 60 days. According to an official court communiqué, this period could be shortened. Moreover, this does not keep him out of politics. Belgrade newspapers report that Milošević still commands the leadership of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) from his prison cell. He ordered several dismissals of highest party officials, including the actual President of Serbia Milan Milutinović.
Milošević's wife, Mira Marković, the leader of the extreme left JUL Party, is the main executor of the commands and can be said to be actually leading the SPS.
Indictment at the bars
In the meantime, the Belgrade District Court sent The Hague Tribunal's indictment to Milošević. The indictment was drawn on 22 May 1999 for crimes against humanity committed against Kosovo Albanians. A statement issued by the District Court and signed by its president said that: "The reason for delivering the indictment to Milošević was so that he could get acquainted with the charges that were brought against him."
However, Milošević refused to receive the indictment: "He refused to get it and it has been left at the bars of his prison cell," his legal counsel Toma Fila told Reuters.
USA pressure in the background
According to the SENSE news agency, the governor of Yugoslav Central Bank, Mlađan Dinkić, is to pass a message from the US Department of State to Yugoslav President Vojislav Koštunica and Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić regarding the donors conference on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The US remains opposed to a conference at which financial assistance for reforms in Yugoslavia are extended, unless Belgrade provides for full cooperation with the Tribunal in The Hague.
Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batić announced that the Yugoslav government would discuss a bill for cooperation with the Tribunal in May. Batić pointed out that whether or not the bill would be presented before the Yugoslav Parliament depends solely on ministers from Montenegrin Socialist National Party, the majority coalition partner in Yugoslav government.
At a press conference of his Democratic Christian Party of Serbia (SZP), Batić confirmed that the US insists that full cooperation with the Tribunal must precede the organization of the donators conference. A conference about financing reforms in Yugoslavia is scheduled for June. A draft law could be discussed in the Parliament of Yugoslavia as soon as 8 May.
Resistance movement has new goals
What the Yugoslav public thinks of those efforts could be seen through new actions of the once revolutionary OTPOR (RESISTANCE) people's movement. Members of OTPOR have decided to visit Milošević in his cell in the Belgrade central prison on 8 May and deliver presents collected amongst its membership for him.
Activities of this organization nowadays include reformation of Football Association of Yugoslavia. OTPOR has demanded resignation of the top echelon of the Yugoslav Football Milan Miljanic (an often-cited Milošević crony). They announced demonstrations will take place unless something is done to save Yugoslav football by 11 May. The Yugoslav national team lost an at-home qualification game for the 2002 World Championship against Russia.
Not that blue and not exactly navigable Danube
An agreement on cleaning the Danube of torn down bridges and unexploded missiles after the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, was signed at the Danube Commission Headquarters in Budapest last week. This job worth euro 16 million is assigned to the Danish-Hungarian Consortium COWI-Utiber. The European Union will bear 85 percent of the costs.
At the same time, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is intensifying efforts to raise funds for the environmental clean up of Serbia, following the bombing campaign by NATO two years ago. It has raised a third of the USD 20 million needed to protect people from effects of pollution, but is now calling on international donors to fund the rest of its program. A UNEP team has just completed a tour of some of the worst affected parts of Serbia.
On the scene, however, things look different. Yugoslav Science Minister Vuko Domazet told the daily Građanski list, from Novi Sad, that Yugoslavia had become "a polygon for experiments of US genetics scientists," because it has accepted an American donation of 50,000 tons of genetically modified soy, although science has not yet determined the effect of transgenic organisms on humans or animals.
Tito died 21 years ago
On 4 May 1980, 21 years ago, President of the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito died. Like every 4 May, his widow Jovanka Broz visited his grave at eight o'clock in the morning and laid a wreath. Among delegations that visited the Flower House (Tito's tomb) was the "Josip Broz Tito Society" from Zagreb.
Ljubomir Pajić, 4 May 2001
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