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War Crimes Tribunal To Hold Public Hearing

The Hague, March 15 (RFE/RL) - The United Nations War Crimes Tribunal announced today that it will hold a public hearing beginning next Wednesday (March 20) in the case against three senior officers of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA).

The three men, Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic, and Veselin Sljivancanin, were indicted by the Tribunal last November for their part in the alleged massacre of 261 non-Serb men at Ovcara, near Vukovar in eastern Croatia. The officers are charged with war crimes in connection with the alleged massacre following the fall of Ovcara to the Yugoslav Army.

The Tribunal will hear evidence against the three officers, who are still at large, with a view to confirming the indictment and issuing an international arrest warrant. The hearings do not amount to a trial in absentia, which is not allowed under the Tribunal's statute. But they are seen as an important step to securing the extradition of the indicted men.