On This Day in History

Zoran Djindjic, the first person I ever voted for, was assassinated on this day four years ago. He had the guts to deport Milosevic to The Hague and he got paid for it with a bullet.

3 responses to “On This Day in History

  1. Typically tragic story. It would have been better received had they locally beheaded Milosevic and put his head on a pike at the city’s gate, but that wouldn’t have been enough.
    As I recall, some of the impetus for Djindjic cooperating with the war crimes tribunal was the aid that was being offered for cooperation. $5B seems to be a number that percolates although the article below only mentions a donor conference of $1B.
    Did any of that come to pass as a result of the Milosevic rendition, or was the goal line moved to the settlement of Kosovo’s status?
    From the NYT Article:

    In Belgrade, the leaders who pushed through the transfer appeared quietly jubilant, if deeply aware that the move caused divisions that may lead to the fall of their young, fragile and virtually bankrupt government.
    Prime Minister Djindjic went on television, telling Serbs that the government had been forced to take a ”difficult but morally correct” decision to protect the interests of Serbia. The government badly needs the money only the West — and particularly the United States — can offer, and Mr. Djindjic and the Yugoslav deputy prime minister, Miroljub Labus, the country’s leading economist, had been the main advocates for handing over Mr. Milosevic.
    ”To stop the cooperation with the Hague tribunal or to postpone this cooperation would have had major negative consequences for the present and future of our country,” Mr. Djindjic said.
    The United States had exerted strong pressure that Mr. Milosevic, who was ousted as president in October in a popular uprising, be detained — as he eventually was on April 1 — and then delivered to The Hague tribunal.
    Secretary of State Colin L. Powell spoke with Mr. Djindjic twice in the last week, and warned him that the United States was prepared to boycott a conference in Brussels today if Mr. Milosevic was not delivered to The Hague, a senior State Department official said. The new Yugoslav leaders hope to raise some $1 billion in aid at the conference — a goal they cannot meet without American participation.
    ”We made it quite clear that we want to help them,” the official said. ”But they had obligations, and they had to meet those obligations, and the secretary never wavered from that.”
    In Washington, President Bush issued a statement calling Mr. Milosevic’s transfer to The Hague a ”very important step by the leaders in Belgrade.”
    Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, ”We are witnessing one of the most significant events in postwar European history, where a nation has voluntarily turned over to an international tribunal for trial one of the most dangerous and maniacal European leaders since Hitler.”

  2. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t deporting Milosevic that got Djindjic killed. It was his decision to crack down on the Red Berets and their friends in the Zemun Gang.
    In a way, that’s even more depressing… Djindjic was killed because Legija was an idiot who wanted to be Arkan, but wasn’t smart enough.
    — I remember when it happened. I was sitting in a cafe near Trg Slaviya. Suddenly everyone’s mobile phone went off. Then my friend turned to me and said, “They just shot Djindjic.” Then everyone’s mobile phone went dead, because the network had crashed.
    Djindjic was incredibly unpopular before he died — approval ratings in the single digits. Everybody blamed him for everything. But when he died, there was a vast national outpouring of shock and grief, and more than half a million people turned out to march in his funeral procession. Go figure.
    Doug M.