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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Tribunal indicts Bosnian Croats
Jadranko Prlic (top left); Slobodan Praljak (bottom left);  Bruno Stojic (top right);  Milivoj Petkovic (bottom right)
The four are expected to give themselves up for trial
Four former Bosnian Croat officials suspected of atrocities against Muslims during the Bosnian war have been indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal.

The four accused include Jadranko Prlic, the former prime minister of the wartime Croat region of Herceg-Bosna and his defence minister Bruno Stojic.

The other two are the generals Slobodan Praljak and Milivoj Petkovic who commanded Bosnian Croat forces (HVO).

All four men are said to have agreed to give themselves up for trial.

The four men face 26 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the conflict between Bosnian Croats and Muslims in the 1990s.

A fifth Bosnia Croat, Valentin Coric, a former interior minister in the self-styled Bosnian Croat government, told state news agency Hina that he had also been indicted by the international tribunal.

EU hopes

Mr Coric, a former HVO commander, told reporters he would travel to the Netherlands on Monday to join the other four.

"I am going to The Hague peacefully," he said. "My defence will be based on the truth and there is nothing I should be afraid of."

Bosnian Croats and Muslims were allied against the Bosnian Serbs for most of the 1992-95 war, but fought each other for 11 months during 1993-94.

Croatia is hoping to become a candidate for EU membership in June and start entry talks in 2005 but it must meet certain political criteria.

These include respect for ethnic minorities, co-operation with neigbours and full compliance with The Hague tribunal.

Two retired Croatian generals appeared at the tribunal last month and pleaded not guilty to crimes against humanity.

Mladen Markac and Ivan Cermak are accused of atrocities against Serbs during the war in Croatia in 1995 including murder, persecution and inhumane acts during and after the recapture of the Krajina region by Croatian troops.

The two men said they voluntarily surrendered to prove their innocence.

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