Serb police arrest 1991 Dubrovnik siege suspect

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbian police arrested a former mayor of a southern Bosnian town acting on an international warrant for the man over the shelling of Croatia’s Dubrovnik in 1991, a police official said on Monday.

“Bozidar Vucurovic was arrested at the Karakaj border crossing with Bosnia and detained on an 2008 arrest warrant from Croatia,” said a police official who asked not to be named. “A local court will be deciding about the case,” he said.

During the opening stages of the Yugoslav wars in 1991, Vucurovic was the mayor and a warlord in the Serb-dominated town of Trebinje which served as rear area for the then Yugoslav Army during the siege on Dubrovnik, a UNESCO world heritage site.

On October 1, 1991 the Yugoslav military started the seven months-long siege and shelling of the medieval town which damaged many historical sites and killed dozens.

Vucurovic commanded local irregulars units which took part in the attacks and widespread looting of the Dubrovnik area.

Former Yugoslav army General Pavle Strugar, who was coordinating the Dubrovnik offensive, was jailed for eight years by the U.N. war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia for his role in the attacks.

Following the breakup of the six-republic federation, the army of rump Yugoslavia comprised of Serbia and Montenegro, pulled out from Croatia in 1992, but it actively supported rebel Serbs there until the end of war in 1995.

To join European Union, Serbia still has to arrest ex-Bosnian Serb wartime military leader Ratko Mladic, sought for war crimes and genocide during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war and Goran Hadzic, who headed Croatia’s rebel Serbs.

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Matthew Jones)

Serb police arrest 1991 Dubrovnik siege suspect