news 21 Apr 16

Montenegro Extradites Yugoslav Army Officer to Croatia

Montenegro has extradited former Yugoslav People’s Army officer Pavle Pantic to Croatia to stand trial for the shelling of the coastal city of Split during the war in 1991.

Dusica Tomovic
Split. Photo: Wikimedia/E.coli

Former Yugoslav People’s Army officer Pavle Pantic was handed over to the Croatian authorities on Wednesday after spending four months in pre-extradition detention in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica.

Montenegrin police arrested Pantic last December on a warrant issued by Zagreb in 1994 accusing him of shelling Split, causing the deaths of four people and injuries to several dozen others.

Pantic, who is Serbian citizen, was arrested at the border crossing in Montenegro while returning from Belgrade to Montenegro, where he has lived for the past 24 years.

According to Croatian media, Pantic was a senior navy officer in the Yugoslav Navy and deputy commander of the Lora barracks in Split.

Croatian news portal Index reported on Wednesday that Pantic is already in detention in Split prison, where two other war crimes suspects, former Serb paramilitary commander Dragan Vasiljkovic, known as Captain Dragan, and Serbian General Borislav Djukic, are also being held.

His daughter, Jasna Vucetic, told Serbian newspaper Novosti in January that the charges against her father are false and that he is not a war criminal.

Index quoted Pantic’s friends as claiming that he actually helped Croats whi were in the Yugoslav Army to leave the military, and didn’t allow Montenegrin army reservists to shell Split on another occasion in 1991.

Pantic was sentenced in absentia in 1993 to eight years in prison, in the case against Admiral Mile Kandic, a former commander of the Split naval district and other military commanders who allegedly ordered attacks and blockades on Croatian ports and towns in 1991.

But the Croatian Supreme Court overturned the verdict in 1994 and Pantic now faces retrial at the Split county court.

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