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Former Serbia army officer indicted for 1991 Dubrovnik shelling

[JURIST] The Serbian Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor [official website] Monday announced the indictment of former Yugoslavia Army Captain Vladimir Kovacevic [ICTY case backgrounder] for war crimes associated with the 1991 Siege of Dubrovnik [Wikipedia backgrounder]. In the siege, Kovacevic's artillery unit allegedly indiscriminately shelled [BBC backgrounder] the ancient Adriatic city, causing at least five civilian casualties and destroying culturally and historically significant architecture. Kovacevic, the first defendant from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] to be transferred [ruling, PDF; JURIST report] to Serbia, is currently receiving psychiatric treatment at a military hospital in Belgrade after being declared mentally unfit to stand trial [JURIST report] by the ICTY last April. It is unclear if or when Kovacevic will be fit to stand trial, or when proceedings against Kovacevic will begin.

Kovacevic, nicknamed "Rambo" by his men, was arrested in October 2003 and charged with six counts of violating the rules of war, including murder, attacks on civilians, and devastation not justified by military necessity. The exact nature of his mental illness is unclear because portions of the decision related to his diagnosis were redacted to protect his privacy. Former Yugoslav Army General Pavle Strugar was sentenced to eight years in prison [JURIST report] in 2005 for his role in the Dubrovnik attack. AP has more.

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