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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 March 2006, 19:14 GMT
Relief and regret in the Balkans
The former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has died in his cell at the Hague tribunal detention centre.

He had been on trial at the UN war crimes tribunal for genocide and other war crimes since 2001.

The BBC News website spoke to several people in the former Yugoslavia about their reaction to his death.

JANJA BOBIC, 36, WEB DESIGNER, BELGRADE, SERBIA

Janja Bobic
Many of Janja's family and friends left Serbia because of Milosevic
I thought I'd feel relief or closure. Instead, I feel mixture of sadness and immense anger. This one has got away.

Although he spent the last years of his life imprisoned, justice has not been served. History can't be reversed, shattered lives can't be repaired, the dead can't be brought back.

I have been participating in protests since 1991. Fifteen years ago the protests against Milosevic began and, even though I was pregnant, I was on the streets.

He put our country back 30 years and left it there. Most of my friends and family are no longer in Serbia as a result of Milosevic. Until 1989, when Milosevic started up with his nationalism, I was not aware of borders within Yugoslavia.

I was really shocked by the sudden explosion of violence. I still do not consider people from Croatia and Slovenia foreign citizens.

He left us a legacy of division and it haunts us all, like Hitler's death camps or the killing fields of Cambodia.

BRANISLAV POPOVIC, 51, TOUR MANAGER, BELGRADE, SERBIA

Branislav Popovic
Branislav says there are many misconceptions about Serbia
This is a sad time for Serbia. Many were not happy about what he did during his rule. But he defended the right of Serbia to express itself in the world.

We were denied many rights during the 1990s. We couldn't travel anywhere without a visa, sanctions left Serbia in poverty.

The death of Milosevic is the result of the arrogant criminal policy of the US and Nato.

I admired Milosevic for what he did in the late 1980s and in the beginning of the 1990s. But in 1993 he made a mistake by not democratising.

There are many misconceptions and media lies which create a negative vision of Serbia and the Serbs. Milosevic manipulated the media when he was in power. The rest of the world manipulates too.

And the crime has not ended yet. Kosovo is about to be stolen from the Serbs in favour of a national minority of non-European characteristics.

I fear that Serbia, the most tolerant and open-minded ex-Yugoslav nation in the 21st Century, will face economic and demographic catastrophe.

ILIR, 36, NGO WORKER, KOSOVO

I am happy that he died. He deserves this because he killed more than 200,000 people.

They couldn't arrest me and so they jailed my brother instead
I can speak from experience. I was a soldier in Croatia as part of the Yugoslav army in 1991. At that time I was an ordinary soldier and caught between the Croats and the army. We were forced to fight against them.

I deserted from the army in September 1991 and when I returned to Kosovo the war started up again.

The Serbs came to my house and looked for me as a deserter. They couldn't arrest me and so they jailed my brother instead. I escaped to Macedonia as a refugee and stayed there until Nato entered Kosovo.

I witnessed what his regime was responsible for. I hope he rests in hell.

But this is the end of an era. He is dead. This could be a new start for the Balkans.

HUSEIN RONCEVIC, 27, SOFTWARE DEVELOPER, SARAJEVO, BOSNIA

Husein worries Milosevic will become a martyr to Serb nationalism
This is yet another Balkan issue that has ended in stalemate. He has escaped the guilty verdict.

I would be a happy man if he was pronounced guilty and died in the next second.

But by dying like this, he will become part of the Serb mythology, which already has martyrs from World War II and from the 1389 Battle of Kosovo against the Ottomans.

He will be just another one seen to be executed by Western governments.

I always considered myself a Yugoslav. I wasn't aware that I was a Bosnian and a Muslim until I had to flee my home town, Brcko, in north-east Bosnia. They set up a concentration camp there.

I had 60 members of a happy family before the war. Now only 12 are alive. Some were killed, including two in that concentration camp. Many died from stress.

I'm not a purist, a nationalist. In our family we have Serbs, Croats and Muslims. I like that unity.

I would prefer it if we were still part of Tito's Yugoslavia. We had a much better life then.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
A look back at the rise and fall of Slobodan Milosevic




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