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Former Croatian Official Goes On Trial For War Crimes

Tomislav Mercep
A former senior Croatian official has pleaded not guilty to charges that he ordered the torture and killing of Serbian civilians during the 1991-95 war.

Former Deputy Interior Minister Tomislav Mercep, 59, is accused of ordering the killing, illegal detention, inhuman treatment, and looting of property of 52 ethnic Serbs.

The crimes were committed in late 1991 in the region of Zagreb, as well as in eastern Croatia.

Mercep entered his plea at the start of a trial on February 10 in Zagreb.

Croatia is making efforts to meet requirements about dealing with its wartime past as it prepares to join the European Union in 2013.

Croatia's declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 sparked a four-year war with rebel Serbs who opposed the move.

Compiled from agency reports