Former Croatian General Ante Gotovina, who many Croats still consider a hero, goes on trial Tuesday in The Hague for war crimes committed during the closing months of the war in Croatia in 1995.

The United Nations War Crimes Tribunal has charged Gotovina and two other ex-generals - Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac - with doing nothing while soldiers murdered at least 37 ethnic Serbs in Krajina. The troops also burned and plundered villages, and stabbed civilians who tried to escape.

The court says some family members were forced to watch their relatives being killed.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Gotovina was indicted in 2001 but was at large until his arrest four years later in the Canary Islands.

Many Croats regard Gotovina as a national hero for re-taking Croatian land seized by Serb rebels.

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