Slobodan Milošević Is Found Dead in His Prison Cell

Milošević was found dead in his cell on March 11, 2006, in the UN war crimes tribunal's detention center, located in the Scheveningen section of The Hague.

Autopsies soon established that Milošević had died of a heart attack. He had been suffering from heart problems and high blood pressure. However, many suspicions were voiced to the effect that the heart attack had been caused or made possible deliberately - by the ICTY, according to sympathizers, or by himself, according to critics. Shortly before his death, Milošević had requested to be treated in a heart surgery center, but the Tribunal had refused to permit that, citing mistrust guarantees that an escape would be made impossible. At the same time, Milošević had expressed fears that he was being poisoned. A scandal emerged when it was found that, according to an earlier medical test from 12 January, Milošević's blood contained rifampicin, an antibiotic that is normally used to treat leprosy and tuberculosis and which would have neutralized some of the effects of his medicines for his high blood pressure and heart condition. Milošević had complained about the presence of a leprosis drug in his blood in a letter to the Russian foreign ministry. After that fact was disclosed, some hypothesized that the Tribunal medical staff had administered the drug deliberately, while others believed that he had taken it himself to worsen his heart condition and thus force the Tribunal to let him travel to Russia and escape. It is, however, questionable that he would have been able to smuggle in such drugs, since all his visitors were searched at least once before gaining access to him in response to an incident in September 2005 in which he had taken medicine from a Serbian doctor without the approval of the Hague doctors. Blood tests conducted as part of his post mortem showed that it was unlikely that Milošević had ingested rifampicin in the last few days before his death.

Several medical experts, such as Leo Bokeria (the director of the Russian heart surgery centre, where Milošević had requested to be treated) and The Times' medical columnist Thomas Stuttaford, asserted that Milošević's heart attack could and should have been prevented easily by means of standard medical procedures.

A private funeral for Milošević was held by his friends and family in his hometown of Požarevac, after tens of thousands of his supporters attended a farewell ceremony in Belgrade. The return of Milošević's body to Serbia, as well as his widow's return (who did not return to Serbia to attend his funeral, as she would have been arrested immediately upon her arrival due to a current arrest warrant issued related to fraud charges) was very controversial, leading to great difficulties before their resolution.