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Slobodan Milošević
Слободан Милошевић
Stevan Kragujevic, Slobodan Milosevic, portret.jpg
Milošević in 1988
3rd President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
In office
23 July 1997 – 7 October 2000
Prime Minister
Preceded by Srđa Božović (acting)
Succeeded by Vojislav Koštunica
President of Serbia
In office
11 January 1991 – 23 July 1997
Prime Minister
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Dragan Tomić (acting)
7th President of the Presidency of the Socialist Republic of Serbia
In office
8 May 1989 – 11 January 1991
Prime Minister
  • Desimir Jeftić
  • Stanko Radmilović
Preceded by Ljubiša Igić (acting)
Succeeded by Position abolished
11th President of the League of Communists of Serbia
In office
28 May 1986 – 8 May 1989
Preceded by Ivan Stambolić
Succeeded by Bogdan Trifunović
Personal details
Born (1941-08-20)20 August 1941
Požarevac, German-occupied Serbia
Died 11 March 2006(2006-03-11) (aged 64)
The Hague, Netherlands
Resting place Požarevac, Serbia
Nationality Yugoslav (until 2003)
Political party
  • SKJ (1959–1990)
  • SPS (1990–2006)
Mirjana Marković
(m. 1971)
Children 2, including Marko
  • Svetozar Milošević (father)
  • Stanislava Koljenšić (mother)
  • Borislav Milošević (brother)
  • Milisav Koljenšić (uncle)
Alma mater University of Belgrade Faculty of Law
Nickname(s) "Sloba"
a. Became "President of the Presidency" of the Socialist Republic of Serbia (a constituent country of SFR Yugoslavia) on 8 May 1989. He was elected President of Serbia (still part of SFR Yugoslavia) at the first Presidential election in December 1990. After SFR Yugoslavia collapsed in March 1992, he continued as the President of the Republic of Serbia as a constituent of the newly formed FR Yugoslavia.

Slobodan Milošević (Serbo-Croatian Cyrillic: Слободан Милошевић, pronounced Script error: No such module "IPA".; 20 August 1941 – 11 March 2006) was a Serbian politician. He was the president of Serbia and president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000. Milošević pursued Serbian nationalist policies that contributed to the breakup of the socialist Yugoslav federation and embroiled Serbia in a series of conflicts with the successor Balkan states.

Milošević was considered responsible for some of the atrocities of the Bosnian Genocide. He died in 2006 while on trial for war crimes at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Early life and education

Milošević's father Svetozar and mother Stanislava with brother Borislav and Slobodan (on the right) as children

Milošević was born in Požarevac, four months after the Axis invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and raised during the Axis occupation of World War II. He had an older brother Borislav who would later become a diplomat. His parents separated in the aftermath of the war.

He studied law at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law and joined the League of Socialist Youth of Yugoslavia as a student.


In 1960, Milošević was a law student at the University of Belgrade. He was an excellent student who was active in the university section.

In 1968, Milošević began a career in business administration, eventually becoming head of the state-owned gas company Tehnogas and president of a major Belgrade bank, Beobanka.

In 1987, Milošević used the Kosovo issue to gain a public image as a defender of Serbs at a mass Serb rally in Kosovo Polje.

In 1989, Milošević became the President of Serbia. In 1990, Milošević was re-elected president of Serbia in the first multiparty elections. The constituent republics of the Yugoslavia split apart amid the outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars, while Serbia and Montenegro formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Milošević played a major role in the wars, and negotiated the Dayton Agreement on behalf of Bosnian Serbs, which ended the Bosnian War in 1995.

During his reign, numerous anti-government and anti-war protests took place, while it is also estimated that between 50,000 and 200,000 people deserted the Milošević-controlled Yugoslav People's Army, and that between 100,000 and 150,000 people emigrated from Serbia, refusing to participate in the wars.

From 1992 to 2001, Milošević led Serbia's Socialist Party. Milošević pursued Serbian nationalist policies that contributed to the breakup of the socialist Yugoslav federation and embroiled Serbia in a series of conflicts with the successor Balkan states.

In 1997, Milošević became the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


During the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, Milošević was charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) with war crimes in connection with the Bosnian War, the Croatian War of Independence, and the Kosovo War.

Milošević was considered responsible for some of the atrocities of the Bosnian Genocide. Milošević was arrested in 2001 and extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague to face charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

At the outset of the trial, Milošević denounced the Tribunal as illegal because it had not been established with the consent of the United Nations General Assembly; therefore, he refused to appoint counsel for his defence. Milošević conducted his own defence in the five-year trial, which ended without a verdict because of his death.


Milosevic funeral
People paying their respects in front of the Museum of Yugoslav History

Milošević died in his prison cell in The Hague on 11 March 2006. He suffered from heart ailments and hypertension, and died of a heart attack. Milošević's death occurred shortly after the Tribunal denied his request to seek specialised medical treatment at a cardiology clinic in Russia.

As he was denied a state funeral, a private funeral for him 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.


After Milošević's death, the ICTY and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals found that he was a part of a joint criminal enterprise which used violence such as ethnic cleansing to remove Croats, Bosniaks, and Albanians from large parts of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) concluded separately in the Bosnian Genocide Case that there was no evidence linking him to genocide committed by Bosnian Serb forces during the Bosnian War. However, the Court did find that Milošević and others in Serbia had violated the Genocide Convention by failing to prevent the genocide from occurring, by not cooperating with the ICTY in punishing its perpetrators, in particular general Ratko Mladić, and by violating its obligation to comply with the provisional measures the Court ordered.

Personal life

In 1971, Milošević married his childhood friend, Mirjana Marković, a staunch communist who became his political adviser. The couple had two children: Marko and Marija. Marković would have some influence on Milošević's political career both before and after his rise to power; she was also leader of her husband's junior coalition partner, Yugoslav Left (JUL) in the 1990s.

Public opinion

Milošević's rule has been described as authoritarian or autocratic, as well as kleptocratic, with numerous accusations of electoral fraud, political assassinations, suppression of press freedom and police brutality.

The last opinion poll taken in Serbia before Milošević's death listed him as the third-most favourably rated politician in Serbia behind then-Serbian Radical Party chairman Tomislav Nikolić and then-Serbian President Boris Tadić. In February 2007, the International Court of Justice cleared Serbia under Milošević's rule of direct responsibility for occurrences of crime committed during the Bosnian War. The president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), however, did state that it was "'conclusively proved' that the Serbian leadership, and Milošević in particular, 'were fully aware ... that massacres were likely to occur'". In its 2016 verdict regarding Radovan Karadžić, the ICTY found that "there was no sufficient evidence presented in this case to find that Slobodan Milošević agreed with the common plan [to create territories ethnically cleansed of non-Serbs]" citing "Milošević’s repeated criticism and disapproval of the policies and decisions made by the Accused and the Bosnian Serb leadership", though it also noted that "Milošević provided assistance in the form of personnel, provisions and arms to Bosnian Serbs during the conflict".

In 2010, the Life website included Milošević in its list of "The World's Worst Dictators". He remains a controversial figure in Serbia and the Balkans due to the Yugoslav wars and his abuse of power, especially during the 1997 and 2000 elections. The public image of Slobodan Milošević in Serbia oscillated between a faceless bureaucrat to a defender of Serbs, while Western attitudes ranged from Milošević's demonization as the "Butcher of the Balkans" to his portrayal as the "guarantor of the peace in the Balkans".

Interesting facts about Slobodan Milošević

  • Milošević had ancestral roots from the Lijeva Rijeka village in Podgorica and was of the Vasojevići clan from Montenegro.
  • In 1999, he became the first sitting head of state to be charged with war crimes.

Published books

  • Godine raspleta (BIGZ, 1989)

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Slobodan Milošević para niños

  • Propaganda during the Yugoslav Wars
  • Serbia in the Yugoslav Wars
  • Kleptocracy#Examples
  • Sanctions against Yugoslavia
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