Milosevic is Deposed but Nationalism and Ethnic Violence Continue
In the Sept. 2000 federal elections, Vojislav Kostunica, a law professor and political outsider, won the presidency, ending the autocratic rule of Milosevic, who had dragged Yugoslavia into economic collapse and relegated it to pariah status throughout much of the world. In 2001, Milosevic was turned over to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, charged with 66 war crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity. His expensive and lengthy trial ended without a verdict when he died in March 2006.
In March 2002, the nation agreed to form a new state, replacing Yugoslavia with a loose federation called Serbia and Montenegro, which went into effect in Feb. 2003. The new arrangement was made to placate Montenegro's restive stirrings for independence and allowed Montenegro to hold a referendum on independence after three years.
The prime minister of the Serbian state, Zoran Djindjic, a reformer who helped bring about the fall of Milosevic, was assassinated in March 2003. Extreme nationalists, organized crime, and Serbia's own police and security services were implicated.
On March 17, 2004, Mitrovica, in Kosovo, experienced the worst ethnic violence in the region since the 1999 war. At least 19 people were killed, another 500 were injured, and about 4,000 Serbs lost their homes. NATO sent in an extra 1,000 troops to restore order.
In June 2004, Democratic Party leader Boris Tadic was elected Serbian president, defeating a nationalist candidate. Tadic planned to work toward gaining EU membership for Serbia, but in 2006, the EU suspended its membership talks with Serbia, after the country repeatedly failed to turn over Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb commander wanted on genocide charges for the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims from Srebrenica.