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Hague Prosecutors Suggest Transfer of 3 Cases to Croatia or Serbia

Prosecutors at the United Nations war crimes tribunal say they have asked the court to refer the cases of three Yugoslav military officers to local courts in either Croatia or Serbia.

The suspects have pleaded not guilty to charges of complicity in the deaths of about 250 people executed after Yugoslav forces captured the Croatian city of Vukovar in 1991.

Prosecutors say soldiers under command of the officers took the victims, mostly Croats, from a Vukovar hospital to a remote location, executed them and then buried the bodies in mass graves.

The tribunal has been moving to transfer what prosecutors consider lesser cases to war crimes courts in the Balkan countries. But the announcement provoked expressions of concern from Serbian officials who said the transfer of the three to Croatia could have very damaging consequences on the republic's ties with The Hague court.

Some information for this story provided by Reuters and AFP.