Serbia. The last step in the disintegration of former Yugoslavia was taken during the year when the two sub-republics of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro were separated under tidy forms. It happened after a referendum in May in the latter minor republic. S. saw himself forced to accept the fact and in June recognized Montenegro as an independent state.
According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Serbia include Independence Day (February 15) and New Year (January 1). The trial of former President Slobodan Milošević of Serbia and Yugoslavia came to an abrupt end in March when he was found dead in his cell at the UN Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. The trial had lasted for four years and involved war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide during the wars in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo in the 1990s. There was immediate speculation about the cause of death. Milošević had poor health, but his lawyer claimed he had been poisoned. The conspiracy theories were fueled by the fact that former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babić committed suicide in his cell in the same detention a week earlier. But the autopsy determined that Milošević died in a heart attack. He was taken to Serbia and buried in his family’s garden.
In July, a new grand trial was launched in The Hague against Milošević’s close associates and successors such as the President of Serbia, Milan Milutinović, and five other high-ranking leaders. The charges related to the Serbian army’s abuse in Kosovo during the 1998-99 crisis.
The EU continued to pressure Belgrade on former Bosnian Serb leader Ratko Mladić, who was also wanted by the UN tribunal and who was supposed to reside in Serbia. A deadline for seizing and surrendering Mladić was set for last April. When it expired without results, the EU canceled the talks on a Stabilization and Association Agreement. The talks, generally seen as the first step towards EU membership, had begun last fall.
The talks held during the year under the auspices of the UN on the future status of the breakaway province of Kosovo were fruitless. Kosovo’s Albanian majority continued to demand unconditional independence for the province, which has in effect been a United Nations protectorate since 1999. The Serbs opposed equally stubborn independence but feared that the UN should meet the Albanians. This contributed to the government parties and the opposition in unusual uniform quickly drafting a new constitution that included, among other things. stated that Kosovo belongs to Serbia and cannot be separated. The constitution was approved by a slight margin in a referendum in October. Subsequently, a new election was announced to Parliament in January 2007. Prior to that, the Liberal Party G17 Plus had left the government coalition in protest against Mladić not being arrested.
In November, the trial of nationalist leader Vojislav Šelišej began at the UN General Court in The Hague. The trial was soon adjourned when Šelišej, who questioned the court’s legitimacy, hunger strike and was reported to be in poor condition. In Belgrade, tens of thousands of followers demonstrated to him.