The Investigator

Demons of the Balkan War

Vladimir Dzuro

A Balkan War crime of mass murder is told by the investigator who was charged with the investigation.
Publication date:
October 2019
Publisher :
Potomac Books, Inc.
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781640121959

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
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Regular Price: £23.99

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• "This is a detective story with a difference… A raw and unique first-hand account of an extraordinary pursuit of justice in the face of absolute horror." Julian Borger, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and World Affairs Editor for The Guardian.
• "The Investigator is a fascinating story of a fight for truth and justice by bringing to trial in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia the brutal murderers and assassins from the Balkans War. It is brilliant storytelling of this mass tragedy from a key investigator." Philip Zimbardo, Professer Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University.

The war that broke out in the former Yugoslavia at the end of the twentieth century saw unspeakable acts of violence committed against defenceless civilians, including a macabre night of mass murder at Ovčara pig farm in 1991. An international tribunal was set up to try the perpetrators of crimes such as these, and one of the accused was Slavko Dokmanović, who at the time was the mayor of the local town. Vladimír Dzuro, a criminal detective from Prague, was one of the investigators charged with finding out what happened leading up to and during that horrific night.

The story Dzuro presents here, drawn from his daily notes, is hard reading. The incidents are not for the fainthearted. It was a time of torture, random killings and innocent people who had gone missing. But as a detective, it wasn't his job to pass judgment but rather to establish the facts and find those responsible. He provides a gripping account of how he and a handful of other investigators picked up the barest of leads, which eventually led them to locate the gravesite and exhume the bodies. They were even able to track down Dokmanović, only to find that getting a hold of him was a different story altogether. The politics that led to the war hindered justice once the war was over. But Dzuro and his colleagues had a plan. Without any thoughts of risk to their own personal safety, they were determined to bring Dokmanović to justice. They knew if they could pull it off, it would only be a matter of time before other accused war criminals were hauled into court as well.

The Investigator reads like a thriller and was an instant best seller in the Czech Republic. Now in its second edition, the book was nominated for the Czech national literary prize Magnezia Literia 2018. Translated into English for the first time, this story reveals to the English speaking world the horrors of the Yugoslavic Wars and chronicles a team of brave investigators who stopped at nothing to bring those who were responsible to justice.

More information about the author can be found at:


The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was an institution that should have never been needed in the twentieth century, but the internal conflict that erupted in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s precipitated large-scale war crimes committed by both civilian and military factions of the former Yugoslavian republics. The tribunal successfully identified and prosecuted war criminals from different sides of the conflict, which in turn brought at least some closure to those innocent victims who had suffered the most.
Kevin Curtis, chief investigations, UNICEF, and former investigator and team leader at the Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Setting up the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was truly one of the most important cases I ever took to the Security Council. Despite the fact that people doubted it would work, it has been remarkable. The war was a tragedy and those involved needed to be punished. To this day, I say that the ICTY was essential—by assigning individual guilt we could expunge collective guilt.
Madeleine Albright, former United States Secretary of State, former Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations

Personal accounts of investigations of war crimes, such as this one by Vladimír Dzuro, breathe life into the abstract project of accountability and show the challenges of operating a criminal justice system in an international environment.
Louise Arbour, United Nations Special Representative for International Migration (2017-present) and chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1996-99)

In a captivating personal account, Vladimír Dzuro brings to life the early days of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and describes in detail how its investigators and prosecutors worked against incredible odds to bring to justice some of the worst war criminals of the twentieth century. It is the story of the birth of the modern era of international justice and of how, despite expectations to the contrary, this undertaking became a success.
Clint Williamson, U.S. ambassador at large for war crimes issues (2006-9)

This was the most difficult war of all—a war between neighbors and friends, a war between people who had lived together in a functioning community for decades. We know that the physical wounds of war often heal faster than the psychological wounds. Bringing to justice those who perpetrated such heinous crimes will go far toward healing the psychological wounds. The efforts of Vladimír Dzuro and his colleagues did mich to facilitate this healing process.
Jacques Paul Klein, former U.S. ambassador and former under-secretary-general of the United Nations

To my knowledge Vladimir Dzuro's book is the first to explain the complexities, the frustrations, and finally the satisfaction of conducting investigations into the serious crimes that were committed during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. It is above all the story of the people who suffered from those crimes and the investigators and lawyers who worked tirelessly to try and ensure tha the alleged perpetrators faced trial for their part in those crimes.
Judge Joanna Korner, former prosecution senior trial attorney, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

The Investigator reminds us that the United Nations is a body that can, at will, search out and hold accountable those individuals who orchestrate and enforce extreme violence on noncombatants… Valdimir Dzuro's years of work with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia are a testament to the tenacity of persons dedicated to the investigations of war crimes. He and his colleagues deserve not only our admiration but more certainly our attention, as atrocities and genocide permeate the beginnings of the twenty-first century. Dzuro's narrative is fascinatingly clear and engaging; it also serves as a warning.
Ralph J. Hartley, adjunct professor of anthropology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Vladimir, in authoring this very powerful book The Investigator, has presented a message thar, in today's world, is essential reading. As history constantly demonstrates, mankind has learned nothing over the years and evil continues to prevail in splitting communities, who once live together harmoniously as neighbors.
Petr Ludwig, author of the bestselling book The End of Procrastination

The Investigator is rife with demons. Vladimir Dzuro details his life as an international criminal investigator, and like many of his colleagues at the Yugoslav and Rwanda Tribunals, he witnessed the unfathomable daily. Skiils, teamwork, wit, and luck (bad and good) allowed him to squeeze justice out of profound depravity. Dzuro's book chronicles the real slog of international investigators and prosecutors. Hollywood fiction would shrink from his searing vies of war crimes from under the wet tarpaulin of a mass grave. Notwithstanding, Dzuro ponders his experience by observing that 'humanity owes it to the scarred and broken people who open up their hearts to you.' It is also true that the best international investigators, like Dzuro, open up their hearts, in turn.
Patricia Viseur Sellers, special advisor for gender to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court