Nothing in his last days or in the ones that followed his death went well for Slobodan Milosevic. His drawn-out trial for war crimes was nearing an end, despite his best efforts to prolong it indefinitely. The cause of his death is still under investigation. His immediate family, including his adored wife and son living in exile in Russia, did not attend his funeral. And the remnants of his once all-powerful party put him in the ground in the dark, not in some grand presidential tomb but in a plain grave beneath a 100-year-old linden tree in his sooty Serbian hometown of Pozarevac. A brass band, made up of retired members of the Serb military, played a mournful march, as a handful of the faithful tried to recapture his former glory in speeches blending his trademark nationalist rhetoric with rants against Serbia's manifold alleged enemies. Though an estimated 80,000 attended a memorial rally in Belgrade, most Serbs, it seemed, were glad that their erstwhile hero was gone.
Milosevic may be dead and buried, but plenty who shared responsibility with him for some of the worst horrors of modern Europe are still alive and free. The former Serb leader was not in his grave before the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague called for a renewed effort to apprehend the two most wanted fugitives from the Balkan wars: Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. "Now more than ever I expect Serbia to arrest and transfer [Mladic and Karadzic] to the Hague," said Carla del Ponte, the tribunal's chief prosecutor. So far attempts to arrest the two men by both Serb authorities and nato peacekeepers have been notable only for their complete failure.
Karadzic, 60, a former psychiatrist, led the breakaway Bosnian Serbs during the war. He was indicted by the tribunal in 1995 on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in the massacre of 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica, the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II, and for overseeing the three-year siege of Sarajevo, among other crimes. General Mladic, 63, a former colonel and loyal communist in the Yugoslav People's Army, was Karadzic's military commander, though that does not come close to capturing his role. He was "Milosevic's more-than-willing executioner," says Natasa Kandic, a leading Serbian human-rights investigator. "He understood perfectly what Milosevic wanted and bent over backwards to fulfill his wishes."
European Union foreign ministers have urged Serb authorities to turn over the two fugitives by the end of March. That would restore credibility to the tribunal and allow Serbia to proceed with long-delayed talks to join the E.U. But the deadline is unlikely to be met. The death of Milosevic has fanned nationalist sentiment and increased fears among officials that arresting Mladic now would produce a violent backlash that could threaten government stability. "We are in deep trouble," a senior Serb official involved in the hunt for Mladic tells Time, on condition of anonymity. "There was a time when we could have arrested Mladic but we didn't. Now we want to but we can't."