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(E) General on trial over Dubrovnik
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  12/18/2003 | History | Unrated
(E) General on trial over Dubrovnik


General on trial over Dubrovnik

Strugar denies war crimes charges

A former general in the Yugoslav army has gone on trial over the shelling of the Croatian city of Dubrovnik. Pavle Strugar is accused of murder and other war crimes.

He denies the offences, during attacks on the historic port, on Croatia's Adriatic coast, in 1991.
"The people of the world witnessed the sustained and senseless shelling of the old city of Dubrovnik by forces under the control and command of the Yugoslav army," said prosecutor Philip Weiner.
The shelling, which lasted for three months, killed at least 50 civilians and injured hundreds of others.

Dementia plea

It also inflicted serious damage on most of the city, which is a Unesco world heritage site. The indictment against Mr Strugar says 68% of the buildings in Dubrovnik's old town were hit.
Mr Strugar was in charge of a military campaign in the Dubrovnik region. Dozens died in Dubrovnik shelling He is accused of violating the Geneva conventions on the protection of civilians in wartime, and of violating the laws and customs of war.

"The accused gave a green light to forces under his control to once again shell with unprecedented ferocity the old city from early in the morning until the evening," say prosecutors, describing a date in December 1991.

Mr Strugar faces nine charges including murder, cruel treatment, attacks on civilians and devastation not justified by military necessity.

His lawyers tried unsuccessfully to postpone start of the trial, until Mr Strugar, said to be suffering from dementia, can undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Navy admiral Miodrag Jokic pleaded guilty to similar charges in August and is awaiting sentence.

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