Milosevic supporters gather at his grave to mark six-month mourning

About 500 people gathered Monday at the grave of now-deceased President Slobodan Milosevic to mark the traditional Orthodox six-month mourning period.

Milosevic supporters swarmed to his family estate in the drab industrial town of Pozarevac, 60 kilometers (40 miles) east of Belgrade , where he was buried. Milosevic died March 11 while on war crimes trial before the U.N. war crimes court in the Netherlands, the AP reports. 

"Six months after his death, it is clear how important his role was," said Milorad Vucelic, a top Socialist party member and former Milosevic associate.

Tearful people, most of them elderly, walked in quiet procession and left flowers by Milosevic's grave - under a linden tree at the now vacant estate.

None of Milosevic's immediate family attended. His widow, Mirjana, and son, Marko, live in self-imposed exile in Russia, while his daughter, Marija, lives in neighboring Montenegro.

Milosevic died from heart failure while standing trial for atrocities, including genocide, during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Marking the six-month period after a person's death is a religious tradition in the predominantly Christian Orthodox country, and his supporters appeared undaunted by the fact that Milosevic was a communist atheist.

Milosevic was ousted by a popular revolt in October 2000 and extradited by pro-democracy leaders to the U.N. court in The Hague.

He died months before the war crimes trial was expected to end, and his supporters and family claimed he was denied proper medical care or even poisoned. The allegations were refuted in a U.N. report about his death.

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