By Katz, Pratt

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Many men left Serbia in order to avoid having to fight in the wars ravaging the former Yugoslavia; it is estimated that ‘between 50 and 85 per cent of Serb men called up to fight in Croatia either went into hiding or left the country (200,000 40 Serbia in the Shadow of Milošević men reportedly went abroad to avoid the draft) rather than fight’ (Gagnon 2004: 109). Leaving the country, though, was not an option for everyone, in particular for the social group most affected by Serbia’s economic crisis – the elderly.

The NATO bombing also had a very serious impact on public health in Serbia. In its three-month military campaign, NATO used armour-piercing shells loaded with depleted uranium, which is toxic, radioactive and carcinogenic. 5 per cent died from the same cause between 1999 and 2001 (Penev 2003: 111). Overall, between 1993 and 2002 cancer rates in Serbia and Montenegro rose by 43 per cent (World Health Organization 2006) Everyday Life under the MiloŠeviĆ Regime 37 and there is no doubt that NATO’s ‘humanitarian intervention’ contributed to this increase, which is likely to continue.

However, such claims of collective denial and collective guilt are fundamentally flawed and unsustainable (see chapter five). A final objection might be that exploring whether the Serbs regard Milošević as a criminal leader does not alter the fact that he was a criminal leader who was responsible for heinous crimes. Two important points must be made in response. 26 As Laughland notes, …many people in the West …think that they know that Milošević was guilty as charged, or that he was an evil man, even when they are ignorant about the most basic facts concerning the former Yugoslavia, its wars and the NATO attacks of 1999 (Laughland 2007: 5).

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