March 17, 2006

UN tribunal says Milosevic not poisoned

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The UN war crimes tribunal said on
Friday that preliminary results of blood tests showed no
indication Slobodan Milosevic's death by heart attack was
caused by poisoning.

"So far no indications of poisoning have been found," Judge
Fausto Pocar, president of the UN war crimes tribunal, told a
news conference. "I would like to stress that these are
provisional results."

Tribunal registrar Hans Holthuis confirmed that traces of
rifampicin -- a leprosy and tuberculosis drug that would have
neutralized Milosevic's medicines for his high blood pressure
and heart condition -- was found in an earlier January 12 blood

But Pocar said no traces of the drug were found at the time
of Milosevic's death.

"So far no traces of rifampicin were found," Pocar said,
adding it was unlikely that rifampicin had been ingested or
administered in the last few days before Milosevic's death.

The former Yugoslav president, who suffered from a heart
condition and high blood pressure, was found dead in his cell
on Saturday, just months before an expected verdict in his war
crimes trial.

A preliminary autopsy report said the cause of death was a
heart attack.