Blood tests: Milosevic not poisoned
The UN war crimes tribunal said on Friday that preliminary results of blood tests showed no indication that Slobodan Milosevic's death by heart attack was caused by poisoning.
Milosevic, who died in jail last Saturday just months before a verdict in his war crimes trial, had suffered from high blood pressure and a heart condition.
"So far no indications of poisoning have been found," Judge Fausto Pocar, president of the UN war crimes tribunal, told a news conference. "I would like to stress that these are provisional results."
Tribunal registrar Hans Holthuis confirmed that traces of rifampicin a leprosy and tuberculosis drug that would have neutralized Milosevic's medicines for his existing health conditions was found in an earlier January 12 blood test.
But Pocar said no traces of the drug rifampicin were found at the time of Milosevic's death. There was evidence of his prescribed medication, but not in toxic concentrations.
"So far no traces of rifampicin were found," Pocar said, adding it was unlikely that rifampicin had been ingested or administered in the last few days before Milosevic's death.
In a preliminary autopsy report, pathologists said Milosevic died of a myocardial infarction, or heart attack, that could be explained by two heart conditions he suffered from.
The court had denied an earlier request in December by Milosevic to travel to Russia for heart treatment, and in a letter addressed to Moscow the day before he died, Milosevic said he suspected he was being poisoned with drugs for leprosy and tuberculosis.
"The tribunal provided the best possible treatment to Mr Milosevic," registrar Holthuis said.
Groningen University toxicologist Donald Uges one of the experts who conducted the January blood tests said earlier this week he thought Milosevic had knowingly taken harmful medicines to improve his case for going for medical treatment to Russia, where his wife, son and brother live.
Milosevic's body, which was flown to Belgrade earlier this week, was put on view in Belgrade on Thursday ahead of a private weekend burial under a lime tree in the grounds of Milosevic's provincial home in Pozarevac a far cry from the state funeral sought by his dwindling band of loyalists.
The man had been on trial for four years charged with 66 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, involving conflicts in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo that tore Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s.
(China Daily 03/18/2006 page7)
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