[JURIST] Serbian officials have criticized prison officials from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website] for failing to prevent the suicide [JURIST report] of Milan Babic [ICTY case backgrounder, JURIST news archive], former wartime leader of Croatia's rebel Serbs during the Balkan wars. Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic [official profile] said that ICTY prison authorities bear the responsibility for the suicide happening in their custody and called for a thorough investigation into Babic's death [press release].
Babic, an insider in the regime of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive], was convicted in 2004 of ethnic cleansing during the Balkan wars and was serving a 13 year sentence [JURIST report]. He was a key witness in Milosevic's still-ongoing trial, testifying in 2002. He was expected to testify in several other war crimes cases at The Hague and his suicide is a major setback for the prosecution. An ICTY judge has been appointed to conduct an internal inquiry into Babic's suicide. AP has more.