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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 21:16 GMT
Milosevic body released by Hague
File photograph of Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic's family have to decide where to hold his funeral
The body of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been released by officials at the war crimes tribunal at The Hague, three days after his death.

The body will stay overnight at the morgue at Amsterdam airport, but it remains unclear where it will go next.

Belgrade has said Mr Milosevic can be buried in Serbia, but his son Marko suggested Moscow as an alternative.

Mr Milosevic, who led Serbia through the Balkan wars of the 1990s, died of a heart attack in his cell, aged 64.

Reaction on Belgrade's streets

At about 1730 GMT, a minivan carrying the body of Mr Milosevic was seen leaving the forensic institute where the autopsy was carried out.

It arrived at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport shortly afterwards.

Marko Milosevic - who flew to The Hague from Moscow to collect the body - left the institute earlier.

He has said he believed his father was murdered and has also accused Belgrade of trying to block his father's burial in Serbia.

Surrender passport

A court in Serbia on Tuesday suspended an arrest warrant against Mr Milosevic's widow, Mira Markovic, potentially allowing her to return if his funeral is held in Belgrade.

She has been living in self-imposed exile in Russia, fearing arrest on fraud charges if she returns.

He [Slobodan Milosevic] simply used Russia, trying to bring it into conflict with the West for his own advantage
Kommersant
Russian newspaper

A statement by the court in Belgrade said: "The presiding judge in the case has accepted the guarantees offered so that Mirjana Markovic... will not be arrested in accordance with the warrants issued against her."

But it said she must surrender her passport on arrival and appear before a judge in connection with the fraud charges on 23 March.

"The accused remains free as long as she responds to the court's summons," a spokeswoman said. "Otherwise she will be arrested and detained."

Lawyers have posted a bond worth $18,000 (10,000) to guarantee Mira Markovic's appearance in court to face relatively minor corruption charges.

Police also want to question her about the assassination in 2000 of former Serbian president Ivan Stambolic - a political rival of Mr Milosevic.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said on Tuesday that the court ruling meant the funeral could take place in Serbia.

Serbian President Boris Tadic told the BBC on Monday it was up to the family to decide where the burial should be held, but ruled out a state funeral in Serbia.

Poison fear

Full results from the tribunal's autopsy are awaited, but a toxicologist who found traces of drugs in Mr Milosevic's blood two weeks before his death said they may have neutralised treatment for his heart conditions.

HAVE YOUR SAY
His body should be cremated in secret, with no ceremony or family members allowed to attend
Richard Hopkins, Newport, UK

The findings have not been confirmed, but have raised questions over what caused Mr Milosevic's heart attack.

Before his death, Mr Milosevic alleged in a letter that he was being poisoned. A request to travel for medical treatment to Russia was turned down.

Four Russian doctors were in The Hague to carry out their own medical enquiries, after Moscow said it did not trust the tribunal's autopsy.

But the Dutch doctor who says he discovered the drugs said he believed Mr Milosevic may have taken them deliberately.

The international war crimes tribunal said Milosevic received competent medical supervision.

The Milosevic case was declared closed at a final hearing by the tribunal on Tuesday.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Slobodan Milosevic's son talks about his father's burial




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