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Dokmanovic Case: A Do-It-Yourself Arrest

Tribunal Update 34: Last Week in The Hague (June 23-28, 1997)

Because those whose duty it is to enforce arrest warrants (local governments, the international Stabilisation Force, the International Police Task Force) have shown no inclination to do so, the Tribunal had to do the job itself.

That day, in Eastern Slavonia, Tribunal investigators arrested Slavko Dokmanovic, president of the Vukovar Municipality in November 1991, when the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and the Serb paramilitary soldiers removed from the Vukovar hospital some 260 men, who were later transported to the nearby Ovcara farm and executed.

The Ovcara site was exhumed last autumn by the Office of the Prosecutor's forensic experts who recovered 200 bodies.

Slavko Dokmanovic was indicted on March 26, 1996, in an amendment to the “Vukovar indictment” previously issued against JNA officers Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic and Veselin Sljivancanin. This amended indictment was confirmed by Judge Fouad Riad, who also ordered the indictment not to be disclosed to allow the arrest of the accused (under Rule 53 - Non-disclosure of Indictment).

According to the announcement from The Hague on Friday evening, Dokmanovic was arrested on June 27 by Tribunal investigators in Eastern Slavonia “acting under the supervision of personnel from the UN Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES). His transfer to The Hague was supported by UNTAES in accordance with its mandate.”

Further details about the sealed indictment and the actual circumstances of the arrest and transfer will be given by the Tribunal's Chief Prosecutor, Louise Arbour, at a Press Conference scheduled for Monday, June 30.

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