ICTY releases ex-Yugoslav general who shelled Dubrovnik

CroatiaThe Hague - A former Yugoslav army general, sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for the 1991 shelling of Dubrovnik in Croatia, was released Friday because of poor health, ICTY said.

The now defunct Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) General Pavle Strugar, 75, had served just over two-thirds of the sentence ICTY handed to him on January 31, 2005.

Strugar was charged as the commanding officer in the JNA siege of Dubrovnik in the early days of the violent disintegration of Yugoslavia. His troops shelled Dubrovnik, a UNESCO-protected Adriatic port in late 1991, following Croatia's independence.

Dozens of people died in the shelling, judged to have been pointless from the military perspective, which also badly damaged the old city core.

Strugar, retired since 1993, turned himself in 2001 and has apologized for his actions. He was initially sentenced to 8 years in prison, which was reduced to seven-and-a-half years in an appeal.

The ICTY judge Patrick Robinson considered Strugar's demonstration of regret, his age and failing health when deciding on his release, the statement said. (dpa)