This Day in the Law
October 6

President Slobodan Milosevic Resigns (2000)

On October 6, 2000, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, resigned from office. Milosevic faced severe pressure to quit over allegations of vote-rigging, embezzlement, and other misconduct, and the Yugoslav Constitutional Court found that Vojislav Kostunica was the true presidential winner.

Slobodan Milosevic was president of Serbia (a republic of Yugoslavia) from 1989 to 1997 and president of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000. He rose to power in the Communist Party and was found to have abused his power in order to promote his own political agenda.

In the 1960s, Milosevic was a law student at the University of Belgrade and became a leader in the Communist Party. Milosevic grew in power and position in Serbia. In 1968, he became a deputy director of a gas company. In 1973, he became prime minister of Serbia. In 1986, Milosevic was elected president of the League of Communists of Serbia.

In 1989, Milosevic became president of Serbia and acted as president until 1997 when he changed his title to the president of Yugoslavia. In 1999, Milosevic refused to withdraw troops who were interfering with Kosovo’s movement for national independence. As a result, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), led by the United States, attacked and bombed Serbia for nearly three months. Milosevic quickly became an enemy target in U.S. international relations.

On this day, October 6, 2000, Milosevic resigned as president of Yugoslavia amide much controversy from his own people. He was accused of rigging the country’s most recent presidential election and many other forms of misconduct.

A year later, in June 2001, Milosevic was sent to The Hague, Netherlands, and tried for war crimes (such as genocide) that occurred during the civil was in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Milosevic died in his prison cell before the trial ended.