Part 1: Murder at The Hague?
to Defend Slobodan Milosevic
Url for this article is http://emperor.vwh.net/icdsm/more/d1.htm
Jared Israel, ICDSM, USA
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Part 1: Murder At The
An Investigation Into The Alleged Suicide
Of Slavko Dokmanovic
by Francisco J. Gil-White
[Posted 4 November 2002]
This is Part 1 (of 4)
** Preface: Is Slobodan Milosevic's Life In Danger? **
Recently, trial proceedings at The Hague were interrupted because of Slobodan Milosevics health problems. As reported in the Ottawa Citizen:
Supporters of Milosevic believe the Hague Tribunal is deliberately trying to strain Milosevic in the hopes that he will die of a heart attack or stroke.
They have reason to worry.
This past July, The Hague finally permitted doctors to examine Slobodan Milosevic. Commenting on the doctor's findings, judge Richard May said:[&]
However, subsequent to this report, Milosevic's conditions have deteriorated and his workload has been increased.
Several prisoners at The Hague have died already in suspicious circumstances. In this piece I consider the details surrounding the dramatic case of Slavko Dokmanovic, whose death was alleged by the tribunal to be a suicide. After looking at the evidence, it is almost impossible not to conclude that Dokmanovic was murdered at The Hague, while in detention, and that the court authorities are covering it up. This precedent establishes ample cause for worry about Milosevics fate.
** Did Dokmanovic Really Commit Suicide? **
It was announced on June 29th, 1998, that Slavko Dokmanovic had committed suicide in his cell, just one week before the tribunal was to pass a verdict on the charges against him. The Yugoslav government reacted to Dokmanovics death as follows:
As this analysis will show, the Yugoslav government could, and should have, leveled charges more serious than these. Had it known the facts, certainly, it would have.
Consider first that, on the day that Dokmanovics death was announced, the Associated Press wrote the following (the emphases are mine):
A man accused of war crimes (especially if he is innocent!) may naturally feel distraught and require psychiatric help. Feelings of apprehension may rise immediately prior to the verdict. But would a man expecting an acquittal commit suicide?
alleged suicide is a possible murder, so if a man with
good reason to live appears to have killed himself, the
responsible authorities are supposed to investigate with
zeal -- especially if there are suspicious circumstances,
as was the case for Dokmanovic. About those
circumstances, the same Associated Press wire wrote:
It is difficult to find anything here that makes sense.
if the guards last saw him alive at 11:30pm, and didnt
check on him again until midnight, when the body was
supposedly found, then how can Chartier know that
Dokmanovic shorted the light in his cell *shortly after
Second, if Dokmanovic never even hinted at having suicidal thoughts, why place him on suicide watch when he merely complains about not feeling well? But if he was placed on suicide watch, how could he hang himself without anyone noticing and stopping him?
A later wire, from Inter-Press Service, would have us believe that this was in fact relatively *easy* because Dokmanovics keepers obliged his supposedly suicidal intentions by leaving him his tie!
Notice that this is in direct contradiction to what we saw earlier: a man first described as never even hinting that he was suicidal is now alleged to have tried to kill himself twice before! Shall we pick our favorite version? And if Dokmanovic was placed on suicide watch, then it is not merely strange but downright incomprehensible that they should have left him his tie or razor.
I contacted the 18th District Philadelphia Police Department to obtain details about their policies in a suicide watch, and I learned the following:
1) The prisoner is placed in a
separate, Plexiglas cell.
2) Anything that could be used as a weapon, or used by the prisoner to hang him/herself is removed. Ties, belts, shoe-laces, etc.all must go. Only a safety razor would be provided (certainly not a real razor, or an electric razor which the prisoner could use to electrocute himself). The prisoner will be watched at all times while operating the safety razor.
3) In Philadelphia, even the prisoners clothes are removed and s/he is given a special jumpsuit made of paper that cannot be used for hanging.
4) The prisoner is checked every *15 minutes*.
informant, one Sergeant Walsh, was not sure why the
regulation time between checks is exactly 15 minutes, but
he agreed with me that this is probably so that
especially crafty prisoners will not find time enough to
suffocate. Asked how he felt about a 30 minute interval,
he reacted with surprise -- no, that was *much* too long.
Weve been told, however, that Slavko Dokmanovic was
checked only every 30 minutes.
Sergeant Walsh also impressed upon me that suicide-watch regulations are not flexible in the least, as failure to follow them to the letter will result in suspension without pay. And when asked what the procedure would be in case a prisoner died while on suicide watch, he said: To give you an idea of how serious this would be, any time there is a cell block incident it is investigated by a homicide unit.
Now compare this to what the tribunal spokesman, Christian Chartier, said to the press and see if you can find anything that looks plausible. One version has Slavko Dokmanovic on suicide watch even though he never hinted he was suicidal and merely complained of not feeling well. The other version has him trying to commit suicide twice before, but he is nevertheless given long, 30-minute intervals between checks, his clothes are not removed, and -- most scandalously -- his tie and electric razor are left in his cell! Why? To give him a better chance on his third try?
We have nothing but suspicious stories here, and all the worse for not being mutually consistent. But, troubling as these questions may seem, they pale compared to those raised by glaring inconsistencies in other reports of the discovery of Dokmanovics body.
This, for example, is from Deutsche Presse-Agentur:
Notice what a different picture we get here. So casual. The guard opened the door because...he could not see in! There was no particular alarm about the light being out.
That is consistent with Dokmanovic complaining about not feeling well and getting checked by a doctor, not by a psychiatrist. Very casual. Health problems: routine.
But this contradicts the Associated Press wire cited earlier, which said that Dokmanovic was seen by a *psychiatrist* and placed on *suicide watch*. And yet, both reports are from the same day, and both cite the same Christian Chartier as their source!
The report below, which appeared the next day in The Scotsman, is also inconsistent:
This account has Dokmanovics lawyer (Toma Fila, not as written above) worrying about the supposedly suicidal Dokmanovic, and requesting medication and checks every 30 minutes. The Scotsmans information supposedly comes from Jovanovic, a colleague of Filas, not from Chartier.
What are we supposed to believe?
Concern about Dokmanovic was raised either by a psychiatrist, a doctor, Dokmanovic complaining to his guards, or by his lawyer. Subsequently, either the prison guards, or his lawyer, decided to either put him on suicide watch or on informal monitoring. The reason for this was either because of depression or a health concern, and he was either given medication or not (but either way they left him his tie and razor even though in one of these universes he had already attempted to commit suicide twice!). The source for all of this is mostly one Christian Chartier, who is reported to have said in one account that Dokmanovic was placed on suicide watch, but in another (see below), that he was *not* placed on suicide watch! If people are straightforwardly reporting the facts from mostly *one source* -- one man, Christian Chartier -- is it possible to get this many different stories in two days?
Continued in Part 2 (of 4) : http://emperor.vwh.net/icdsm/more/d2.htm
[Footnotes Follow The Appeal]
It's David vs. Goliath, isn't it? NATO has The Hague, the mass media and unlimited money. Slobodan Milosevic has a pay phone, two legal assistants, his supporters around the world, and the truth.
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 Ottawa Citizen, November 2, 2002 Saturday Final Edition, News; Pg. A18, 180 words, Milosevic's illness delays war crimes trial, LONDON
[&] Court transcript July 25th, 2002 (p. 8642);
 BBC Worldwide Monitoring, June 30, 1998
 AP Worldstream, June 29, 1998; Monday, International news, 670 words, AP Photo AMS101, JENIFER CHAO, THE HAGUE, Netherlands
 Inter Press Service, September 22, 1998, Tuesday, 844 words, RIGHTS-YUGOSLAVIA: DEATHS IN THE HAGUE "JUSTIFY" BELGRADE STANCE, By Vesna Peric-Zimonjic, BELGRADE, Sep. 22
 Deutsche Presse-Agentur, June 29, 1998, Monday, International News, 497 words, Serb war-crimes suspect found hanged in cell days before verdict due, The Hague
 The Scotsman, June 30, 1998, Tuesday, Pg. 9, 601 words, SERB WAR CRIMES SUSPECT FOUND HANGED IN CELL, Alex Blair Foreign Affairs Reporter