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Dragan Nikolic's Motion for Unlawful Arrest Denied

Press Release . Communiqué de presse

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


The Hague, 9 October 2002

JL / P.I.S / 701-e


Today, 9 October 2002, Trial Chamber II, composed of Judge Schomburg, Presiding Judge, Judge Mumba and Judge Agius, took a decision in the case of the Prosecutor v. Nikolic. The accused Nikolic had filed a motion in which he alleged that he was arrested and brought before the Tribunal illegally. He sought his release and dismissal of the Indictment against him. The Chamber has
denied the motion.

The Chamber observed that the accused was allegedly illegally arrested and abducted from the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) by some unknown individuals on 20 April 2000 and transferred by them to the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he was arrested and detained by SFOR and transferred to the Tribunal.

The Chamber observed that it cannot be concluded that SFOR and the Prosecution were involved in this alleged illegal arrest and abduction. SFOR acted in accordance with the authority provided by NATO/North Atlantic Council and with the procedures agreed upon between SHAPE and the Prosecutor. The Chamber concludes that in the particular circumstances of this case the relevant SFOR
forces had no other option than to arrest and detain the accused. The Chamber observes that the conduct by the unknown individuals in the FRY cannot be attributed to SFOR or to the Prosecution.

The Chamber examined whether the way in which the accused was brought to the Tribunal amounted to a violation of the territorial sovereignty of the FRY, a violation of the human rights of the accused or a violation of due process of law. The Chamber has reviewed the national case law of a variety of states on such questions. The Chamber has taken into account the different approach
required under Article 29 of the Statute and the unconditional obligation of states to comply with orders of this Tribunal. The Chamber concluded:

that no violation of the territorial sovereignty of the FRY, attributable to SFOR or the Prosecution took place;

that the accused was not subjected to treatment that was of such very serious nature that it could amount to a legal obstacle to the exercise of jurisdiction by this Tribunal;

that no violation of the fundamental principle of due process of law has taken place.

The motion seeking the release of the accused and the dismissal of the indictment has been rejected.