Zoran Djindjic
Born: August 1, 1952. Bosanski Samac, Bosnia
Died: March 12, 2003. Belgrade, Serbia.

Zoran Djindjic, the prime minister of Serbia and one of the leaders of the resistance movement which toppled the rule Slobodan Milosevic, was assassinated today in Belgrade. The assailant/s is unknown, but there are several theories, from pro-Milosevic supporters, to organized crime (he was attempting to end drug and women trafficking).

Djindjic was son of a Yugoslavian Army officer. A dissident in his youth, he was expelled from school for protesting the Tito regime. In 1974, while in college he attempted to establish an anti-communist student group, and had to flee for West Germany, where he earned a doctorate in philosophy. He did not return until 1989, well after the death of Tito.

In 1989, he joined the Democratic Party, which he soon headed, using it as an opposition party to the growing movement behind Milosevic's nationalist movement. In 1996, he lead street demonstrations against the government; this resulted in his election as mayor of Belgrade. However, the coalition he formed his rival Vuk Draskovic collapsed, he was out of power, and in 1999 was forced to flee to Montenegro to avoid assassination by Milosevic's government.

After the fall of Belgrade during the Kosovo war, he returned to Serbia, and called for early elections. This was ignored. Ironically, it was Milosevic's later call for early elections which caused his downfall. Milosevic lost, Vojislav Kostunica won, and a peaceful coup was held when Milosevic refused defeat. Kostunica became president of Yugoslavia, and Djindjic was prime minister.

The result was a power-struggle between the popular Kostunica and the suspect Djindjic, who had been accused of making back-room deals to shore-up his power. However, Djindjic still had respect, if not trust, particularly for being the man to hand Milosevic over to the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague in 2001. While many objected, Djindjic understood that this would ensure international aid for the floundering state.

With the dissolution of the union of Serbia and Montenegro earlier this year, leaving Kostunica out of power, Djindjic gained full control over Serbia. His policies were to include the arrest of Serbians accused of war crimes during the 1990s, as well as ending organized crime, which runs rampant in Serbia (as it does in the rest of the world).

On February 21, 2003, a presumed assassination attempt was made when a truck swerved towards his motorcade. Djindjic shrugged it off, already well aware of his many enemies. At 11:25 GMT, on March 12, 2003, he was shot in the stomach behind the government building in Belgrade and died in the hospital. His assailant escaped, and a state of emergency has been declared.

March 12, 2003, 20:18 GMT: according the BBC News, it is believed that his assassin is the ex-police chief of Belgrade:
A former commander of a special police unit led the group which assassinated Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, the Serb Government alleges.
In a statement the government said the commander, Milorad Lukovic who is better known as Legija, was among 20 suspects.

shallot says re Zoran Djindjic: oh, and one data point i just heard on the TV. exactly 100 years ago {not on this date--T}, a Serbian king called Aleksandar Obrenovic was assassinated, and ironically because he wanted to align Serbia with Austria-Hungary!