Montenegro Urged To Punish Dubrovnik Attackers

08 Dec 14
Montenegro Urged To Punish Dubrovnik Attackers

On the 23rd anniversary of the deadliest wartime attack on the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, human-rights NGOs urged the authorities to prosecute Montenegrins who took part in it.

Dusica Tomovic

Dubrovnik in 1991. Photo: Human Rights Action.

Three NGOs urged the state prosecution on Sunday to reveal whether anything is being done to investigate war crimes committed by Montenegrin citizens fighting as Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) soldiers on Croatian territory in 1991.

Watchdogs Human Rights Action, the Centre for Civic Education and the Zagreb-based Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past said that the prosecution of those responsible for the crimes committed during the attack on Dubrovnik on December 6, 1991 was long overdue.

They also reminded the authorities that there has never been a conviction in Montenegro relating to the shelling of Dubrovnik by the JNA, during which 19 people were killed and 60 were injured.

In 2012, criminal charges were filed against unnamed JNA reservists from Montenegro who were suspected of killing civilians in the village of Zekovica, close to Dubrovnik airport, but so far no case directly linked to the shelling has been opened.

“It has still not been announced if Montenegro has launched criminal proceedings against any person for war crimes during the siege of Dubrovnik, although state officials have accepted responsibility for the damage caused by organised robbery in which Montenegrin citizens participated on Croatian territory,” the NGOs said in a joint statement.

The attack on Dubrovnik, the ancient Croatian port close to Montenegro’s border, and on the Konavle region that surrounds it, began on October 1, 1991.

The JNA, including a large number of Montenegrin soldiers and reservists, besieged the town for nine months.

Dubrovnik’s old town, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, suffered considerable damage during the shelling.

In 2008, Pavle Strugar, who commanded JNA forces during the attack on Dubrovnik, was sentenced to seven and half years in prison by the Hague Tribunal.

He was granted early release in 2009, having served two-thirds of his sentence.

In 2000, Milo Djukanovic, then prime minister of Montenegro, formally apologised to Croatia for the suffering and losses that Montenegrin soldiers had inflicted, especially in the Dubrovnik area.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)