|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 6 October 2005
The trial of Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic and Veselin Sljivancanin, indicted for crimes allegedly committed after the fall of Vukovar in eastern Croatia in 1991, will commence on Tuesday, 11 October 2005 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom III.
According to the indictment, in late August 1991, the federal Yugoslav Peoples Army (JNA) laid siege to the city of Vukovar and engaged in a sustained artillery attack, resulting in its fall on 18 November 1991. In the last days of the siege, several hundred people sought refuge at Vukovar Hospital believing it would be evacuated in the presence of international observers.
The indictment alleges that on about 20 November 1991, the JNA and Serb paramilitary soldiers, under the command or supervision of Mrksic, Radic and Sljivancanin, removed about 400 non-Serb individuals from the Vukovar Hospital and then transported around 300 of them to a farm building in Ovcara, where they beat them for several hours. Afterwards, soldiers transported their
non-Serb captives in groups of about 10 to 20 to a site between the Ovcara farm and Grabovo, where they shot and otherwise killed at least 264 of them. After the killings, the bodies of the victims were buried by bulldozer in a mass grave at the same location.
Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic and Veselin Sljivancanin are charged on the basis of their individual criminal responsibility (Article 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal) and their superior criminal responsibility (Article 7(3)) with:
five counts of crimes against humanity (Article 5 of the Statute) – persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds; extermination; murder; torture; inhumane acts, three counts of violation of the laws or customs or war (Article 3 of the Statute) – murder; torture; cruel treatment.
Mrksic, Radic and Sljivancanin were originally indicted on 7 November 1995.
According to the third consolidated amended indictment, confirmed on 15 November 2004, Mile Mrksic was a Colonel in the JNA and Commander of the 1st Guards Motorized Brigade and Operational Group South. He was transferred to the ICTY on 15 May 2002.
Miloslav Radic was a JNA captain and commanded an infantry company in the 1st Battalion of the 1st Guards Motorized Brigade. He was transferred to the ICTY on 17 May 2003.
Veselin Sljivancanin was a major in the JNA. He was the security officer of the 1st Guards Motorized Brigade and Operational Group South. As such, he was, according to the indictment, de facto in charge of a military policy battalion subordinated to the 1st Guards Motorized Brigade. Sljivancanin was transferred to the ICTY on 1 July 2003.
Slavko Dokmanovic, President of the Vukovar municipality in 1991, was also charged on the first amended indictment, which was confirmed on 3 April 1996. Dokmanovic was transferred to the ICTY on 27 June 1997, but died in ICTY custody on 29 June 1998 after his trial had been completed. All Tribunal proceedings against him were terminated.
A pre-trial conference will be held on Monday, 10 October 2005 at 3 p.m. in Courtroom III.
The indictment can be found on the Tribunal's website www.un.org/icty.
Courtroom proceedings can be followed on the Tribunal's website.