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Strugar Sentence Slashed on Appeal

Former Yugoslav general’s prison term reduced, despite being convicted of two more counts.
By Merdijana Sadović
Appeals judges have cut the prison sentence of former Yugoslav People’s Army, JNA, general Pavle Strugar by six months on grounds of his ill health.



The sentence was reduced this week despite the appeals chamber finding the general guilty of two more counts in his indictment.



On January 31, 2005, Strugar was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for his involvement in the 1991 military campaign against the Croatian coastal town of Dubrovnik.



He was found guilty of two of the six counts included in the indictment – attacks on civilians, as well as the destruction or willful damage of UNESCO-protected buildings and monuments in Dubrovnik.



According to the trial chamber at the time, the shelling “was not a response to Croatian or other military positions, actual or believed, and…it caused considerable damage to the Old Town”. Two civilians were killed and two injured during the attacks.



This week, the appeals chamber found Strugar guilty of two additional counts – devastation not justified by military necessity and unlawful attacks on civilian objects in Dubrovnik in 1991. Judges also extended his criminal responsibility to include his failure to prevent the shelling of the Old Town.



The defence had requested appeals judges to acquit Strugar on all counts, order a retrial or substantially reduce the sentence imposed. It also argued that Strugar was unfit to stand trial and requested that all judicial proceedings against him be stayed.



However, the appeals chamber dismissed all defence grounds of appeal and concluded that Strugar was fit to stand trial.



Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR International Justice/ICTY programme manager.