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Croatia: Former Mayor Pleads Not Guilty To War Crimes

The Hague, 4 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - A former Serb mayor of Vukovar in eastern Croatia entered a not guilty plea today before the international war crimes tribunal at The Hague on charges he participated in a 1991 massacre.

Slavko Dokmanovic was arrested with the participation of U.N. personnel one week ago in Eastern Slavonia and taken to the Netherlands for trial. He is accused on six counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the deaths of more than 200 patients taken from the hospital and killed after Vukovar fell to Crotian Serb and federal Yugoslav forces.

No trial date has yet been set.

Dokmanovic's indictment was kept secret by the tribunal and he was arrested after entering Eastern Slavonia, a region under UN administration set to return to Zagreb's control later this year.

Croatian Serb leaders in Eastern Slavonia claim Dokmanovic had been dismissed from his post before Vukovar fell in 1991 and was not in the town when the massacre happened.