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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Serb 'guilty' of Dubrovnik shelling
Miodrag Jokic with wife Stanka
Jokic changed his plea in exchange for some charges to be dropped

An ex-Yugoslav naval vice-admiral has pleaded guilty at The Hague war crimes tribunal to killing civilians by shelling the ancient city of Dubrovnik in 1991 during Croatia's war of independence.

Miodrag Jokic, who had denied nine counts of violating the laws and customs of war, changed his plea to guilty on six counts after the indictment against him was amended by prosecutors, a spokeswoman for the UN tribunal told BBC News Online.

Your honours, I am guilty
Miodrag Jokic

In exchange for his guilty plea, the prosecution has reportedly agreed to drop the other three charges and to seek a sentence of no more than 10 years imprisonment - although the judges do not have to follow the prosecutors' recommendation.

Jokic has pleaded guilty to murder, cruel treatment, attacks on civilians, devastation, unlawful attacks on civilian objects and destruction or wilful damage to historic monuments and institutions related to religion.

A sentencing hearing will be set at a later date.

Dubrovnik Four

Miodrag Jokic was commander of the sector of the Yugoslav navy which was responsible for attacking the city, a Unesco world heritage site, between 1 October and 7 December 1991.

At least 43 people died and many more were injured during the bombardment, which damaged or destroyed hundreds of the historical buildings in the city's Old Town, medieval in parts, but largely rebuilt in the 17th Century.

Jokic is one of the so-called Dubrovnik Four - four former Yugoslav army officers accused of war crimes during the shelling of the Croatian city.

At the time, Jokic negotiated the end of the offensive against Dubrovnik with representatives of the European Community Monitoring Mission.

He voluntarily surrendered to the Hague tribunal in November 2001.




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