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Croatian Court Hearing General's War Crimes Appeal

31 May 2004 -- A Croatian court today opened an appeal hearing for a former Croatian general who was sentenced for war crimes against Serbs during the 1991 Croatian-Serbian war.

In March, retired Croatian General Mirko Norac was sentenced to 12 years in jail for war crimes against at least 50 Serbian civilians during the war.

Both the defense and prosecution have appealed the verdict.

The defense is arguing for a retrial, while the prosecution argues that the verdict was too lenient.

The Supreme Court Council is supposed to discuss the appeals at public sessions this week.

Later today, the chief UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte is expected to begin a five-day visit to Bosnia and Croatia to meet local leaders and victims of the wars in the two former Yugoslav republics. Del Ponte will travel to Croatia on 3 June.