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Milosevic may have killed himself, Del Ponte tells paper

By Staff
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ROME, Mar 12 (Reuters) Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president, may have committed suicide, the chief prosecutor in his war crimes trial suggested in comments published today.

Carla Del Ponte said the approach of sentencing could have been a reason for Milosevic to take his life.

''According to our valuations, (the trial) would have closed with a condemnation requesting he be shut away for life. Perhaps he wanted to avoid all that,'' she said in an interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica.

The UN war crimes tribunal has said there was no indication Milosevic committed suicide. But it has requested an autopsy hoping to clear up the cause of his death only months before the verdict was due in his four-year-old trial.

Del Ponte said medical checks of Milosevic, who was found dead in his cell yesterday, were thorough and should have picked up if his heart condition and high blood pressure had worsened.

''It is very strange, even if it is of course possible, that he should have died so suddenly without these medics having noticed a worsening of his condition,'' she said.

REUTERS CH RN1654

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