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It was March 31, 2001, and tension was mounting in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslavian president, had been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on an array of war crimes arising from the horrific atrocities that had produced thousands of deaths during the Balkan wars of the 1990s in Croatia, Bosnia, and the Serbian province of Kosovo. The United States had imposed a March 31, 2001, deadline upon the Yugoslavian government to arrest Milosevic so that he could be tried before the ICTY. Failure to comply with the deadline would result in the loss to Yugoslavia of millions of dollars of economic aid from the United States as well as financial support from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. After two failed attempts by the Yugoslavian police to remove Milosevic forcibly from the residential villa where he had been residing since his removal from the presidency in September 2000, the Yugoslavian government was faced with a delicate quandary: how to appease American wishes yet maintain internal order. Milosevic and his loyalists, who were armed with anti-tank grenades and machine guns, seemed poised for a violent confrontation.

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