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Dokmanovic case - Accused appeals the decision denying his release

Press Release . Communiqué de presse

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


The Hague, 4 November 1997



On 31 October 1997, Defence Counsel for Slavko Dokmanovic filed an Appeal to the Decision on the Motion for Relase (sic) by the Accused Slavko Dokmanovic before the Appeals Chamber. The motion was filed pursuant to a Decision on the Motion for Release by the Accused Slavko Dokmanovi} in which Trial Chamber II (consisting of Judge McDonald, presiding, Judge Odio Benito
and Judge Jan) denied the accused’s motion for release. (See PR 251)

The Accused’s counsel based his appeal on the following grounds:

1. Statements made by Prosecution witnesses during the preliminary motions hearing of 8 September 1997 are "incorrect", contradictory, and "not credible";

2. The Trial Chamber has incorrectly interpreted Rule 53 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence as the non-disclosure of an arrest warrant is applicable to individuals and not to States. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was thus unable to arrest Mr. Dokmanovic because it was unaware of the existence of the indictment issued against him;

3. The Trial Chamber’s decision is based on the erroneous assumption that the FRY would not execute the arrest warrant against Mr. Dokmanovic. The Constitution of the FRY only forbids the extradition of FRY citizens, and Mr. Dokmanovi} is not a citizen of the FRY;

4. The Trial Chamber interpreted the mandate of UNTAES incorrectly: UNTAES does not have a mandate to "arrest and kidnap any person". Moreover, as Judge Riad had signed one warrant of arrest addressed to the Republic of Croatia and another to UNTAES, UNTAES did not have sole authority to arrest the Accused without the knowledge of the Republic of Croatia;

5. The Trial Chamber "authorised a violation of the independence of the Prosecutors (sic) Office pursuant to Art.16(2) of the Statue (sic) of the Tribunal, because the OTP had political motivation since for their action in relation with the arrest";

6. The Statute of the Tribunal, and not its Rules, "is the only act that has supremacy over national legislation".

For the above reasons the Defence requests the Appeals Chamber "to modify" the Trial Chamber’s decision, to release Mr. Dokmanovic "immediately" and to return him to Sombor, in the FRY.


A copy of the above motion is available from the Press and Information Office upon request.