ZAGREB -- Croatian President Stipe Mesic has given a state order to an ethnic Serb for saving Croatian soldiers during the 1991 Serb-Croat war.
Aleksandar Jevtic, a Serb from eastern Croatia, received the award recently in the Croatian city of Vukovar, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reports.
Local media had harshly criticized Mesic for his decision to award Jevtic, arguing that many Croatian war veterans have not received any awards for "defending their country" in that war.
Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader supported Mesic's decision.
Tensions remain between Serbs, Croats, and other ethnic groups in the former Yugoslavia after the tragic civil war that led to the break up of Yugoslavia.