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Croatia: UN Court Drops Case Against General

Washington, 9 May 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The International War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia says it has dropped its case against Croatia's army chief of staff, General Petar Stipetic. Florence Hartmann, spokeswoman for the court's chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, said today that Stipetic was no longer under investigation after he had been interrogated by UN investigators in Zagreb. Stipetic was interviewed in March about his role in three army operations in 1993 and 1995 that led to the deaths of Serbian civilians.

Hartman said that after the interview, the UN investigators decided to close the investigation against Stipetic for lack of sufficient evidence.

Stipetic held various operational posts during Croatia's war in the 1990s against rebel Serbs opposed to its independence from Yugoslavia.

Separately, an independent daily newspaper in Croatia has shut down, five months after publishing its first edition.

The "Republika" newspaper had gained a reputation for in-depth analysis and sharp criticism of authorities. But the newspaper was selling only about 12,000 copies a day, one-fourth of its circulation goal. Many of Croatia's other papers are either affiliated with political parties or partially owned by the state.