The former Croatian General Ante Gotovina has made his first appearance on war crimes charges at the UN tribunal in the Hague.
The 50-year-old was arrested in Spain’s Canary Islands last Wednesday.
The indictment against him alleges that troops under his command subjected large numbers of Serbs to inhumane treatment, humiliation and degradation, during what was called Operation Storm in 1995.
It was considered a turning point in the conflict which ended more than four years of Serb control of the self-proclaimed republic of Krajina within Croatia.
Yesterday tens of thousands of Croatians took to the streets in support of Gotovina, who is considered a hero by many.
His fugitive status created tension between the EU and Zagreb, with talks on Croatia’s EU membership talks put on hold until October because the government was judged not to be doing enough to track him down.