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COURTSIDE: Jokic & Banovic Cases

Yugoslav navy admiral and two other new indictees appear before the tribunal.

The tribunal heard three new not guilty pleas last week from men involved in two separate trials.

Admiral Miodrag Jokic, who surrendered voluntarily last Monday, is facing charges for his role in the siege of the Croatian city of Dubrovnik in 1991. He was commander of the Yugoslav armed force's Ninth Military Naval Sector, whose warships blockaded Dubrovnik and shelled the historic city.

Brothers Predrag and Nenad Banovic, handed over to the tribunal by the Serbian authorities, are accused of committing against Bosnian Muslims and Croat prisoners at the Keraterm camp in north-west Bosnia in 1992.

Jokic's defence counsel, Alan Jones of Britain, stressed that the admiral surrendered voluntarily, adding that he would submit a request for his provisional release so he could "return to Serbia to prepare his defence".

The admiral arrived at The Hague accompanied by Dusko Mihajlovic, Serbia's interior minister, who offered chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte his government's guarantees that Jokic would return to the tribunal for his trial. Mihajlovic said Del Ponte had promised to support the defence's request.

General Pavle Strugar, who surrendered voluntarily on October 21, is also accused over the shelling of Dubrovnik. Admiral Milan Zec and captain Vladimir Kovacevic "Rambo" are accused but still at large.

Mirko Klarin is IWPR senior editor for the war crimes tribunal and editor-in-chief of SENSE News Agency.

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