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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 November 2006, 22:23 GMT
Croatia marks massacre in Vukovar
Commemorative ceremonies in Vukovar on 18 November 2006
People from all over Croatia gathered in Vukovar
More than 20,000 people have gathered to commemorate the fall of the Croatian town of Vukovar to Yugoslav forces during the war in 1991.

Political leaders and ordinary Croats, each carrying a red rose, walked to the town's memorial cemetery.

The three-month siege and bombardment of Vukovar was a particularly brutal episode during the Croatian war of independence from Yugoslavia.

More than 1,000 civilians were killed in the eastern town.

"Vukovar defended Croatia, we are proud to be here," Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said during the commemoration ceremony.

"We have a duty to thank those who gave their lives for the defence of the city," he said.

Yugoslav soldiers in Vukovar
Prisoners of war and civilians alike were killed

The town was devastated before it fell to the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army.

More than 1,000 Croats and non-Serb civilians were massacred and thousands more expelled from the town.

Serbian courts later sentenced 14 former militiamen to jail terms of up to 20 years for the massacre of at least 200 prisoners of war seized in a Vukovar hospital.

The prisoners were taken to a nearby pig farm, where they were executed in what became known as the Ovcara massacre.

Three senior Serb officers are also being tried before the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague for suspected war crimes committed in Vukovar.

Healing Vukovar's wounds
17 Mar 04 |  Europe
War crimes trial test for Serbs
09 Mar 04 |  Europe
Serb war suspect reaches Hague
01 Jul 03 |  Europe
At a glance: Hague tribunal
20 Feb 03 |  Europe

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