The question was "Anyone want to defend him?" The answer has to be no but looking at the history of the area you can see how the situation developed.
It has always been a hot spot of ethnic and religious confict exploited by much larger surrounding powers. The First World War was triggered by the assasination in Sarajevo of the Austrio-Hungarian arch Duke Franz Ferdinand.
In the lead up to and during WW2 under the direction of the Nazis the Croatian Ustase millitias set up concentration camps like Jasenovac where up to 700,000 (numbers estimated) Serbs were murdered with unbelievable savagery.
When Tito came to power the whole situation was locked down with no atempt at reconciliation because of the Cold War.
That's a very brief and simplistic summary but hopefully with Milosevic dead and Karadzic and Mladic in custody, things can start to mend in a different Europe