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Former Croat Generals To Surrender at The Hague

Two retired Croatian army generals are preparing to surrender to authorities at the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal in the Netherlands to face charges of alleged atrocities committed against Serb civilians in 1995.

The two men, Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac, flew from the Croat capital, Zagreb, to Amsterdam Thursday. They are scheduled to be arraigned at The Hague on Friday.

Charges against the two retired generals stem from a military operation aimed at seizing a Serb-controlled region of Croatia (Kajina) during the 1991-1995 Serbo-Croat war.

The indictment alleges the men "participated in a joint criminal enterprise" with late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and fugitive Croat General Ante Gotovina that led to the deaths of some 150 Serbs. Specific charges include murder, persecution, plundering and wanton destruction of property. At the time, General Cermak was regional commander of civilian affairs, and General Markac controlled the special police forces.

Both defendants deny any wrongdoing. Mr. Cermak says they are willingly going to appear before the U-N court to prove their innocence.

The former generals' surrender comes as the first major war crimes case to be tried in Serbia began this week in Belgrade. The case involves the killing of about 200 people near Vukovar in eastern Croatia, after Yugoslav troops captured the city in November, 1991.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.