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The Last Call to The Hague

Tribunal Update 58: Last week in The Hague (January 5-10, 1998)
By IWPR ICTY

With that intent, the Trial Chamber II sent two orders to the authorities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, FRY. The first order requests them to "effect personal service" on each of the three accused (Mile Mrksic, Veselin Sljivancanin and Miroslav Radic) 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.

In the notice, the prosecutor appeals to the three officers "to surrender to the Tribunal immediately", so that they could appear before the Court at the same time as Dokmanovic and respond to the accusations raised against them. They are accused of being responsible 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." "If you surrender" - the prosecutor says - "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."

Should they, however, miss the chance to surrender before the Dokmanovic trial begins, they must face two possible consequences of staging a second 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 waved your right to examine those witnesses or have those witnesses examined.

The prosecutor's notice ends with an advice to the accused to "contact either the Registrar of the Tribunal or the Office of the Prosecutor with a view to arranging your voluntary surrender."

The second order demands from FRY to take the "necessary steps to ensure the publication of an advertisement in newspaper having wide circulation on the territory of the FRY." This advertisement consists of the notice by the prosecutor.

Adopting the request of the prosecutor for these measures of "informing" the accused, the judges (Cassese, May and Mumba) have particularly stressed that such a decision does not intrude on the Court's discretion to pass judgement on the admissibility of any testimony given in the Dokmanovic trial.