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Serbian court leaves family of Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito empty-handed
A museum curator catalogues items at Belgrade's Museum of Yugoslav History, where some 70,000 belongings of communist Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito are stored. For 35 years since the death of communist Yugoslav leader Tito, tens of thousands of the extravagant strongman's belongings have been the subject of legal wrangling.

BELGRADE (AFP).- A Serbian court has ruled that descendants of Josip Broz Tito will inherit none of his possessions, more than 35 years after the communist Yugoslav leader died, the family's lawyer said Monday.

According to the court, the family inherited the copyright for books authored by Tito back in 1983 when legal proceedings began, and was not entitled to any personal belongings of the extravagant late leader, lawyer Nikola Barovic told AFP.

"The court implicitly ruled that all the belongings of the late Josip Broz are the property of the state," Barovic said.

The relatives hoping for inheritance -- Tito's son Misha, the four children of the strongman's late son Zarko and two sisters of his late widow Jovanka -- intend to lodge an appeal, the lawyer added.

When Tito died in 1980, having ruled socialist Yugoslavia since the end of World War II, his possessions were estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. 

The huge and eclectic collection ranged from hunting rifles and paintings to jewellery and marshal uniforms.

In 1985 a law declared all of his belongings state property -- a ruling that was later annulled after it was challenged by Tito's widow Jovanka, who died in 2013.

But what Tito owned privately and what he used as the country's top official remained unclear.

Inheritance proceedings were slowed down by the 1990s Balkan wars and some property went to countries that emerged after the break-up of Yugoslavia. Tito's relatives alleged widespread theft in the intervening years.

The family pursued the case hoping for a reassessment of his belongings, arguing that those which were personal possessions should be handed to them, not to the state.

Svetlana Broz, one of Tito's granddaughters, said her father had received about 5,000 German marks (2,600 euros, $2,800) when they were granted copyright for his books in 1983

"But we have not received anything since," she told AFP after learning of the court's ruling.

Some 70,000 of Tito’s belongings are now stored at Belgrade's Museum of Yugoslav History, also home to Tito and Jovanka's mausoleum.

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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