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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 16:56 GMT
Milosevic coffin goes on display
Socialist Party officials form an honour guard round the coffin
Mr Milosevic's coffin will be on display in Belgrade for two days
The coffin of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is on display in a Belgrade suburb where his supporters are paying their last respects.

Hundreds of people, many of them elderly, have gathered to view his coffin at a communist-era museum.

Belgrade authorities rejected requests that the body lie in the federal parliament for public viewing.

Mr Milosevic died in jail in The Hague, where he was on trial for war crimes committed during the 1990s.

The coffin will be on show for two days near the presidential villa where Mr Milosevic was arrested in 2001.

He will be buried on Saturday in his home town of Pozarevac in eastern Serbia.

The low-key funeral indicates how far Mr Milosevic's stature had sunk in Serbia, correspondents say.

According to the BBC's Allan Little, the majority of Serbs hope his funeral will lay to rest an entire era.

Final arrangements

Mr Milosevic's body was flown to Serbia from the Netherlands on Wednesday and kept overnight in the mortuary at Belgrade's St Sava hospital.
MILOSEVIC SCHEDULE
1430 GMT Wednesday 15 March - Body arrives at Belgrade airport and is transferred to morgue
Thursday 16 March - Body goes on public view at Revolution Museum in Belgrade
Friday 17 March - Body remains on public view
1100 GMT Saturday 18 March - Farewell ceremony, then departure for Pozarevac
1300 GMT Saturday 18 March - Public viewing in Pozarevac City Hall
1400 GMT Saturday 18 March - Burial in grounds of family home

Officials say the funeral will be a private ceremony. A delegation from his Socialist Party and a crowd of supporters greeted his coffin at Belgrade airport.

Socialist Party vice-president Branko Ruzic told the BBC he expected a "great gathering of people" to visit the Revolution Museum to view the coffin.

The former Serbian Foreign Minister, Zivadin Jovanovic, said he would like to see Mr Milosevic buried at a cemetery in central Belgrade, alongside other former leaders.

The former leader's brother, Borislav, told the BBC Mr Milosevic would sooner or later get the funeral he deserved - "as a great hero, a statesman and politician".

It is still not clear whether Mr Milosevic's widow Mira, who lives in self-imposed exile in Russia, will attend the funeral.

A Belgrade court has suspended an arrest warrant against her but demanded that she hand in her passport on arrival in Belgrade and appear before a judge on 23 March to face fraud charges.

Speculation

The decision to hold the funeral in Serbia ends days of wrangling over Mr Milosevic's final resting place.

His son, Marko Milosevic, had accused the authorities of trying to prevent it being held in Serbia.

Supporters gather to view the coffin
Supporters have turned out to view their former leader's coffin

Mr Milosevic's family has accused the UN war crimes tribunal of causing the former president's death by refusing to allow him to travel to Russia for medical treatment - and Marko Milosevic has claimed that his father was murdered.

But on Wednesday a Russian doctor, reviewing the results of an official post-mortem examination, agreed with Dutch doctors that the indicted war criminal had died of a heart attack, although he said his death could have been prevented.

Full results from the post-mortem examination, conducted on Sunday, are still awaited.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Mourners pay last respects to Slobodan Milosevic




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