Ratko Mladic’s army career, which began in 1965, peaked in 1992 when a series of promotions elevated him to the role of Commander-in-Chief of the Bosnian Serb army.
It was a position he held throughout the Bosnian War until 1996. The charges he now faces are related to this four-year period.
He owed his rise to Radovan Karadzic, the then Bosnian Serb President.
Mladic is accused of plotting with
Karadzic a programme of ethnic cleansing aimed at wiping out Bosnia’s Croats and Muslims. Victims were rounded up in deportation camps in Monjaca and Omarska.
The similarities between these centres and the Nazi concentration camps of World War II provoked shock and outrage across Europe.
Mladic is also alleged to be one of the people behind the 43-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. As well as repeated bombardments, civilians came under attack from sniper fire.
UN soldiers based in the city lacked the necessary mandate to protect them.
Ratko Mladic: profile