Milosevic to be buried in home town

The former Yugoslav leader will be buried in his home town of  Pozarevac, east of Belgrade, on Saturday after his body is put on public display.

Milosevic's coffin is due in Belgrade on Wednesday
Milosevic's coffin is due in Belgrade on Wednesday

The decision was made on Wednesday by Slobodan Milosevic’s family members after authorities in Serbia said a ceremony would not be given any of the trappings of a state funeral.


Details of the funeral preparations were given by Milorad  Vucelic, a senior official in Milosevic’s Socialist Party (SPS), which is in charge of the arrangements.


“His remains will be displayed in Belgrade on Thursday and  Friday, and on Saturday, after a send-off from Belgrade in front of  the federal parliament, it will leave for Pozarevac,” he said.


He did not say where Milosevic’s coffin would be placed, but SPS officials said earlier this week that it would be at party headquarters in central Belgrade.


In Pozarevac, Bojan Kekic, a local SPS official, refused to  confirm reports that Milosevic might be buried in the grounds of his family home there rather than in the local cemetery where his mother is interred.


Approval needed


That would need the approval of local authorities, a formality  as the town of 60,000 residents, 70 km southeast of Belgrade, is run by a coalition of the Socialists and ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party.


Milosevic’s coffin was due to arrive in Belgrade around 3:30 pm (1430 GMT) after departing on a regular flight from the Netherlands, where he had been on trial for war crimes over his role in the 1990s Balkan wars.


President Tadic has refused Milosevic a state funeral

President Tadic has refused
Milosevic a state funeral

He remains a divisive figure in Serbia even in death, with allies pushing for a dignified burial and authorities seeking to tone down the nature of the farewell to a man who had become an  international pariah.


Boris Tadic, the Serbian president, and his fragile coalition government insisted that he would not be granted any form of state funeral.


Tadic’s office told AFP that he was “explicitly against a state  funeral for Slobodan Milosevic” who should have a civilian ceremony  instead.


“Milosevic led the regime which almost destroyed Serbia and the  citizens of Serbia judged his political role on 5 October 2000,” it said, alluding to the date he was ousted in a popular uprising.


Tadic had already ruled out a funeral with state insignia, and  the military said it would not provide the services usually accorded a late head of state, such as an honour guard.


By having it in Pozarevac, once a symbol of his autocratic rule, it gives the family more leeway to organise exactly how the ceremony should look.


Latest twist


The latest twist in the funeral plans came after Belgrade‘s  district court revoked a warrant for the arrest of his widow, Mira Markovic, 63, believed to have been living in exile in Russia for three years.


Markovic had also received assurances from the government of Vojislav Kostunica, the prime minister whose fragile minority coalition depends on the support of Milosevic’s Socialist Party in parliament.


“I have still not decided where my husband will be buried. If it was only up to me to decide it would be Pozarevac”

Mira Markovic,
wife of Milosevic

In the only interview she has given since her husband died,  Markovic told a Serbian newspaper that she wanted him buried in their home town.


“I have still not decided where my husband will be buried. If it was only up to me to decide it would be Pozarevac,” she said in the Monday edition of the daily Vecernje Novosti.


Earlier there had been suggestions that Milosevic would be buried in Belgrade‘s main cemetery, Novo Groblje, which includes a zone called the Alley of Great Men that is reserved for Serbian luminaries.


However, Belgrade‘s mayor had refused permission for burial  there, and Milosovec’s daughter, Marija, was also opposed, arguing that her father should not be laid among  “betrayers”.


The Alley includes the grave of Zoran Djindjic, the prime minister who sent Milosevic to the UN court in 2001 and was  assassinated two years later.

Source : AFP

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