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Murder at the Hague?
An investigation into the alleged suicide of
Slavko Dokmanovic

Historical and Investigative Research - 14 March 2006
by Francisco Gil-White


1  |  2  |  3  |  4 

  The Tribunal’s Inquiry (Cont.)


The Hague Tribunal’s Report also says the following:

8. Finally, he [Slavko Dokmanovic] managed to hang himself by fastening on to the top door hinge of his cell’s wardrobe the end of a second tie that he had firmly attached around his neck; Mr. Dokmanovic was found dead shortly after midnight...

Did you notice? Now the Tribunal is saying that Dokmanovic hanged himself by fastening a tie "to the top door hinge of his cell’s wardrobe."

He did?

What happened to the cell door?

I checked in Lexis-Nexis, the media search engine. I found that, shortly after Dokmanovic died, fourteen (14) articles in major newspapers reported that he had hanged himself on the hinge to his cell door. Twenty (20) wire service reports said the same thing.[12]

On the other hand, I could not find a single newspaper that reported Dokmanovic hanging himself on the door to his wardrobe. As for the wire services, a couple reported the wardrobe version, but only after the tribunal had made Rodrigues' report public on July 21st, 1998.[13]

And The Washington Post took the cell door story even further, explaining how it was possible for Dokmanovic to get his tie, or whatever he used to supposedly hang himself, around the cell door hinge:

The suspect had been able to get the locked cell door open, and in the darkness hanged himself with an unspecified kind of cord suspended from a door hinge, the sources said.” [my emphasis]

This is bizarre. Where did all those newspapers and wire services get the 'information' that Dokmanovic hanged himself on his cell door? Obviously from 'sources' at The Hague, such as Christian Chartier.

But why would Christian Chartier and others say Dokmanovic hanged himself from his cell door? Obviously because a) they were lying or b) they thought it was true.

But under what circumstances could Chartier and the others believe it was true? Only if the guards had actually found Dokmanovic hanging from his cell door.

But if the guards did find Dokmanovic hanging from his cell door, then why does Rodrigues' report say he was found hanging from his wardrobe? How is it possible that, more than a month after the event, the door on which the deceased supposedly hanged himself is a different door?

Clearly the Tribunal was either lying about the first story or lying about the second story -- or lying about both.

I'll tell you what I think. I think they said Dokmanovic was found hanging from his cell door because they thought it sounded good. Then they realized that for him to kill himself that way, he would have had to open the cell door. So they said he opened the cell door.

But they ended up feeling uncomfortable with the line that Dokmanovic opened his cell door because, after all, this was a “heavily-monitored high-security prison.”[14]

Wouldn't somebody notice, sooner or later, that Dokmanovic's supposed feat was preposterous? So they erased the cell door and substituted the wardrobe door, and now the hanging was done inside the cell -- nice and neat.

Did Dokmanovic's cell even have a wardrobe? Who knows? Does it really matter?

[Back to The Hague Tribunal’s Report]

9. All of the Rules of the Detention Unit concerning Security were observed. No negligent behavior was identified;

[End Quote]  

Ah...!  All the rules were observed. Isn't that reassuring?

All I can say is: how fortunate for the Tribunal that it investigates itself...


Footnotes and Further Reading

[12]  Articles in major newspapers that reported Dokmanovic hanged himself from the hinge of his cell door. (Other newspapers did not specify a particular door.)

1. The Baltimore Sun,  June 30, 1998, Tuesday,  FINAL EDITION,  Pg. 7A,  416 words,  Serbian war crimes suspect hangs himself; U.N. court was close to a verdict on his guilt


2. The New York Times,  June 30, 1998, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final,  Section A; Page 6; Column 4; Foreign Desk,  918 words,  Serb Charged in Massacre Commits Suicide,  By MARLISE SIMONS,  THE HAGUE, June 29


3. The Times,  June 30, 1998, Tuesday,  Overseas news,  450 words,  Serb war crime suspect found hanged in cell,  Tom Walker


4. The Toronto Star,  June 30, 1998, Tuesday, METRO EDITION,  NEWS; Pg. A12,  376 words,  Accused war criminal found hanged,  (Reuters),  AMSTERDAM


5. The Washington Post,  June 30, 1998, Tuesday, Final Edition,  A SECTION; Pg. A11,  551 words,  Serb Found Hanged in U.N. Prison; War-Crime Suspect's Death Called Suicide,  Charles Trueheart, Washington Post Foreign Service,  PARIS, June 29


6. The Seattle Times,  June 29, 1998, Monday,  Final Edition,  NEWS;,  Pg. A9;,  702 words,  AROUND THE WORLD


7. THE AUSTRALIAN,  June 30, 1998, Tuesday,  WORLD; Pg. 10,  60 words,  War crime suicide


8. Chicago Sun-Times,  June 30, 1998, TUESDAY, Late Sports Final Edition,  NEWS; NATION/WORLD BRIEFS; Pg. 17,  593 words,  World War II flying ace slain in home robbery.


9. COURIER-MAIL,  June 30, 1998, Tuesday,  NEWS; Pg. 18,  479 words,  Suicide Serb beats war crimes verdict,  CHAO J


10. The Gazette (Montreal),  June 30, 1998, Tuesday, FINAL EDITION,  NEWS; IN BRIEF; Pg. A16,  126 words,  War-crime accused hangs himself,  AP; REUTER; LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH,  HAGUE, Netherlands


11. The Guardian (London),  June 30, 1998,  The Guardian Foreign Page; Pg. 11,  510 words,  UN orders inquiry after war crimes suspect's suicide,  RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR


12. The Houston Chronicle,  June 30, 1998, Tuesday,  3 STAR EDITION,  A;,  Pg. 10,  226 words,  Indicted Serb hangs self in cell,  THE HAGUE, Netherlands,  Deaths


13. St. Petersburg Times,  June 30, 1998, Tuesday, 0 South Pinellas Edition,  NATIONAL; IN BRIEF; Pg. 2A,  461 words,  War crimes defendant hangs himself in cell,  THE HAGUE, Netherlands; BELACEVAC, Yugoslavia; MIAMI


14. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution,  June 29, 1998, Monday,  JOURNAL EDITION,  510 words,  WORLD IN BRIEF; War crimes suspect hangs himself in cell

As for the wires, the Associated Press wrote a total of 20 wires that day, all of them making the same allegation: that Dokmanovic hanged himself on the hinge of his cell door. (No other wires made reference to any specific door): The Associated Press,  June 29, 1998, Monday, PM cycle,  International News,  524 words,  Jailed Serb suspect commits suicide in cell,  By JENIFER CHAO, Associated Press Writer,  THE HAGUE, Netherlands. Jennifer Chao


[13] Associated Press Online,  July 23, 1998; Thursday,  International news,  346 words,  Yugoslav Tribunal Exonerates Staff,  MIKE CORDER,  THE HAGUE, Netherlands


[14] “Hague officials also said that an investigation would be launched into questions of how the suicide had gone undetected in the heavily monitored high-security prison, which was located in the nearby town of Scheveningen.”

SOURCE: Facts on File World News Digest,  July 2, 1998,  EUROPE ; Croatia,  Pg. 458 G3,  163 words,  War Crimes Suspect Commits Suicide;

“Red brick walls stretch around the high-security compound here, the largest prison in the Netherlands, with close to 750 inmates. Within this compound, invisible from the road, lies the modern, independent cell block, built by the Dutch government and leased to the tribunal. Last year, its budget was $3.3 million, paid for by the United Nations.”

SOURCE: The New York Times,  July 15, 2001, Sunday, Late Edition - Final,  Section 1; Page 8; Column 1; Foreign Desk,  1502 words,  Milosevic's Abode: 10 by 17 Feet but No Dungeon,  By MARLISE SIMONS,  SCHEVENINGEN, the Netherlands





















































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