THE HAGUE | 09.06.2005.

THE “VUKOVAR THREE” TO BE TRIED IN THE HAGUE

Quoting unspecified "potential difficulties" that might occur if the case is referred to SCG or Croatia, and the importance given to the case of the three former JNA officers charged with the massacre in Vukovar by the UN Security Council, the prosecution seeks to withdraw its application to refer the case to local courts

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICTY has today withdrawn its application made in February 2005 for the referral of the Vukovar Three case to the courts in Croatia or in Serbia and Montenegro. The three former JNA officers are charged with the massacre at Ovcara, near Vukovar, in November 1991.

In the motion to withdraw the application for referral, Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte notes that in her recent talks with the officials of the states that might potentially have taken on the case there arose "potential difficulties… that could not have been foreseen at the time when the application was made and when the case was argued." The motion does not specify the difficulties.

The second argument that led the prosecution to withdraw the application is the importance given to the Vukovar Three case by the UN Security Council. Resolution 1207 from November 1998 explicitly lists the name of the accused officers – Mile Mrksic, Veselin Sljivancanin and Miroslav Radic – and demands their immediate surrender to the Tribunal.

For those reasons, the prosecution considers it to be in the interest of justice to try the Vukovar Three in The Hague. The Referral Chamber is asked to withdraw the application made in February 2005.