What now for the indicted war criminal, fight or flight?

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The Independent Online

Is Mr Milosevic finished?

Is Mr Milosevic finished?

Absolutely not. He is famous for always having another trick up his sleeve. But the opposition have received a boost. They can perceive themselves, at last, as legitimate rulers. On previous occasions, they had plenty of gripes about Mr Milosevic; yet regularly failed to defeat him at the polls.

How long can he survive?

It is possible that the death throes of the regime will be long and drawn out. Equally, popular anger could grow so quickly that his supporters will be ready to desert him, in which case the whole house of cards will collapse.

Will the army stay loyal?

Mr Milosevic's top generals are loyalists - if he falls, they fall - and a military coup is not generally reckoned to be likely. More problematic is that the conscript army has little reason to be loyal to him. It was one thing for Mr Milosevic to send soldiers off to kill Albanians. Killing or shooting at fellow-Serbs to halt their protests is quite another matter.

What will he do if he steps down?

Some Communist leaders across eastern Europe were allowed to retire quietly after their fall from power. But none faced prosecution as an international war criminal. Vojislav Kostunica has said that he does not wish to hand Mr Milosevic over to The Hague. He would, however, be under considerable pressure to do so - in effect, no money or else.

What makes him a war criminal?

In commonsense terms, plenty. From the slaughter in 1991 in the civilian-filled Croatian town of Vukovar to the bombing of Sarajevo and then the killing of thousands of Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995, most observers reckon that Mr Milosevic was the key figure that made it possible for the nightmares to become real. At that time, however, the West still regarded him as a partner in dialogue. The warrant for his arrest was not issued until May 1999.

Where can he flee?

Nowhere that most people would be keen to end up. He has stayed friendly with Belarus, China, Libya and Iraq.

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