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Jokic Granted Early Release

Former Yugoslav navy commander to be released early on account of remorse and good behaviour.
By Merdijana Sadović
Miodrag Jokic, a retired Yugoslav navy commander convicted for the 1991 shelling of Dubrovnik, has been granted early release after serving two-thirds of his seven-year sentence.

Jokic – who was commander of the 9th Naval Sector of the Yugoslav navy – served the last two years of his prison term in Denmark after an appeal before the Hague tribunal confirmed his sentence in 2005.

In a decision announced on September 1, the president of the Hague tribunal, Judge Fausto Pocar, noted that Jokic’s remorse and his “model behaviour during his incarceration is indicative of ongoing rehabilitation and weighs heavily in favour of his application for an early release”.

“I am satisfied that the request should be granted effective immediately,” said Pocar.

The tribunal sentenced Jokic in March 2004, after he pleaded guilty to the shelling of Croatia’s medieval town of Dubrovnik, while it was under siege by the Yugoslav army, JNA.

During shelling on December 6, 1991, two civilians were killed, three were injured and numerous historic buildings were damaged.

At the time relevant to the indictment, Jokic was the highest ranking JNA officer in the region.

He turned himself in to the Hague tribunal in November 2001.

In his decision to grant Jokic’s appeal for an early release, Pocar noted that Jokic “fully and substantially cooperated with the prosecution after his conviction, testifying as an important prosecution witness in the trial of Pavle Strugar”.

Strugar was commander of the JNA’s Second Operational Group, which conducted a military campaign against Dubrovnik in 1991. He was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison after being found guilty of shelling of this city.

Jokic announced plans to live in Serbia with his wife following his release from prison.

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR’s Hague programme manager.

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