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Accused Slavko Dokmanovic found dead in his cell.

Press Release

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 29 June 1998

Accused Slavko Dokmanovic found dead in his cell.

Following the death, in the night of 29 June 1998, of accused Dokmanovic, the Registry of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has asked the Dutch authorities- to conduct an inquest in accordance with the legal requirements of the Host State, as provided for by Rule 32 (B) of the Rules governing the detention of persons awaiting trial or appeal before the Tribunal or otherwise detained on the authority of the Tribunal.

Acting under Rule 32 ( C) , the President of the ICTY, Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, ordered an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of the accused.

Pending the completion of this investigation, the Registry makes available the following facts:

Just after midnight on Monday 29 June 1998, a guard at the ICTY’s Detention Unit discovered the body of accused Slavko Dokmanovic hanging behind the door of his cell.

The Detention Unit’s physician was called in immediately but was unable to revive Mr Dokmanovic. A Dutch coroner was then called in to establish the death of the accused.

The accused’s body has been transferred to the morgue of a near-by hospital. Mr Dokmanovic’s relatives and his lawyer have been informed of his death.

Mr Dokmanovic had been seen on Sunday evening by the Detention Unit’s physician. Upon medical advice, the light in Mr Dokmanovic’s cell was left on and he was monitored every 30 minutes. The last check took place at approximately 11.30 pm.

During the next inspection at 12.00 pm, the detention unit guard found Mr Dokmanovic’s body in his cell.

Background on the trial

Accused Slavko Dokmanovic died while awaiting the verdict of his trial, which was scheduled to be handed down on Tuesday 7 July, one year after the arraignment of the accused.

Detained by the forces with UNTAES on 27 June 1997 at Vukovar, Mr Dokmanovic was transferred to the ICTY on the same day. On 4 July 1997 he entered a plea of not guilty to 6 Counts of Crimes against Humanity, Violations of the Laws or Customs of War and Violations of the Geneva Conventions for his alleged involvement in the forced removal, and the mass-execution, of 200 non-Serb persons from the Vukovar Hospital in November 1991.

The trial of Slavko Dokmanovic began on 19 January 1998. It lasted 35 hearing days, during which 85 witnesses were heard (43 for the Prosecution and 42 for the Defence) and it was completed last Thursday, on 25 June 1998.


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