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Dokmanovic case: The defendant's three co-accused called upon to surrender to the Tribunal before the beginning of the Trial.

Press Release CHAMBERS

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

 The Hague, 9 January 1998
Dokmanovic case: The defendant's three co-accused called upon
to surrender to the Tribunal before the beginning of the Trial.


On the eve of the new year, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia transmitted to the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) two Orders issued on 19 December 1997 by a Trial Chamber.

These two Orders concern Mile MRKSIC, Miroslav RADIC and Veselin SLJIVANCANIN, the three former JNA Officers who were indicted on 7 November 1995 for their alleged responsibility "for the mass-killing at Ovcara near Vukovar, Croatia, of approximately 200 Croatian and other non-Serb persons who had been removed from Vukovar Hospital on 20 November 1991". The initial arrest warrants transmitted to the FRY on 8 November 1995 and the international arrest warrants issued on 3 April 1997 have not been executed.

The three accused thus are still at large, unlike their co-accused Slavko DOKMANOVIC, who is in the custody of the Tribunal since 27 June 1997 and whose trial will begin on Monday 19 January 1998.

With this trial in sight, the Tribunal undertook "to inform the accused Mile Mrksic, Veselin Slijvancanin and Miroslav Radic that it is in their interest to surrender voluntarily and to be tried concurrently with the accused Slavko Dokmanovic" by issuing the two following orders:


* The first Order is an Order to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for service of documents:

The FRY is ordered to "effect personal service" on each of the three Accused of a copy of the indictment, of the Rights of a suspect, of the Rights of an accused and of a Notice by the Prosecutor whose main points read as follows:

6. You are called upon to surrender yourself to the Tribunal immediately to enable the charges against you to be dealt with by this Tribunal at the same time as the charges against Slavko DOKMANOVIC. If you do so you may plead not guilty to those charges and you have the right not to be compelled to testify against yourself or to confess guilt (....)

8. If Slavko DOKMANOVIC is tried alone now it may be necessary to hold a subsequent trial for you following your future arrest or future voluntary surrender. You are hereby given notice that in that event at your subsequent trial:

(1) the Prosecutor may request the Trial Chamber to admit the transcripts of the testimony of the witnesses at the trial of Slavko DOKMANOVIC as evidence in your trial without the need for the witnesses to attend again in person;

(2) the Prosecutor may further request the Trial Chamber to find that you have by failing to appear voluntarily before the Tribunal at the earlier trial waived any right to have those prosecution witnesses give testimony orally in your presence and waived your right to examine those witnesses or have those witnesses examined.

9. You may contact either the Registrar of the Tribunal or the Office of the Prosecutor with a view to arranging your voluntary surrender (...).

The FRY is further ordered to "notify the Registrar without undue delay" of the time and place of service of the documents, and of the present whereabouts of the accused, or of the circumstances which have rendered such service impossible.

* The second Order is an Order for publication of newspaper advertisement , pursuant to which the Chargé d’Affaires of the FRY has been requested to take the "necessary steps to ensure the publication of an advertisement in newspapers having wide circulation on the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia". This advertisement consists of the Notice by the Prosecutor referred to, and quoted from, above.

The Chargé d’Affaires is further requested to communicate, "if possible within twenty-one days", the name of the newspapers which have published the advertisement and to attach a copy of these publications.


The Orders were issued on 19 December 1997 by Trial Chamber II (consisting of Judge Cassese, presiding, Judge May and Judge Mumba) as a result of a Decision granting a Motion filed by the Prosecutor on 27 November 1997.

In this Motion ("For an order for publication of newspaper advertisement and an order for service of documents") the Prosecutor submitted that "it is a matter of concern that more than one trial may need to be held in respect of a single indictment" (...) and that "all reasonable measures should therefore be taken to ensure that the other accused are aware of the indictment and of the imminent trial of one of the accused (...) as a means of minimizing the adverse effects of multiple trials in respect of a single indictment". In his Response filed on 9 December, Defence Counsel for Slavko Dokmanovic did not oppose the issuance of the sought Orders but challenged the Prosecutor’s argument on the admissibility of the transcripts of the testimonies given during the trial of Slavko Dokmanovic "as an evidence in the subsequent trial".

On this matter the relevant part of the Decision reads as follows:
"the issue of orders in the terms sought will not in any way prejudice the discretion of this or any other Trial Chamber in any subsequent proceedings involving any of the three co-accused to determine at that time (...) whether or not to admit the transcripts of testimony of witnesses in the trial of the accused Dokmanovic (...), and whether or not the three co-accused have waived any right to examine those witnesses". 

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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