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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 07:30 GMT
Dubrovnik siege admiral surrenders to tribunal
The historic centre of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik was under fire for three months in 1991
A retired Yugoslav vice-admiral, Miodrag Jokic, has surrendered to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague over the 1991 shelling of the Croatian city of Dubrovnik.

Mr Jokic, who arrived by plane from Belgrade on Monday, was transferred to the tribunal's detention unit on the outskirts of the town.

Miodrag Jokic with his wife Stanka before boarding the plane
Mr Jokic is the second officer to surrender over the bombardment
He is the second of four former Yugoslav officers accused of being responsible for dozens of civilian deaths during the shelling to surrender to the Hague tribunal.

More than 40 people were killed and much of Dubrovnik - a medieval walled city declared a Unesco World Heritage site - was destroyed during shelling by the Yugoslav army, navy and air force.

There are also reports that war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte has signed a new charge against former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic over his role during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.

Pearl of the Adriatic

"The decision I made was very difficult for my family, but as a soldier I believe it was the only rightful and honest one, especially in this situation when the co-operation of my country with The Hague tribunal is meeting obstacles," the former vice-admiral said on leaving Belgrade.

The decision I made was very difficult for my family, but as a soldier I believe it was the only rightful and honest one

Miodrag Jokic

Mr Jokic made his decision against a background of heated controversy in Yugoslavia over co-operation with the war crimes tribunal.

"I performed my duties in accordance with internationally recognised laws and I expect my country to stand behind me," he said.

Mr Jokic is charged along with three other men with the murders of 43 civilians. They are also accused of wilful damage to historic monuments in Dubrovnik and the destruction of nearby villages.

The artillery siege began after Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, sparking years of war in the Balkans.

More than 500 buildings were destroyed or damaged in the port city once known as the Pearl of the Adriatic.

See also:

02 Oct 01 | Europe
Dubrovnik siege suspects named
02 Mar 01 | Europe
Charges over Dubrovnik bombing
02 Mar 01 | Europe
Battle to save world treasures
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