The trial of the man dubbed the ‘Butcher of Bosnia’ begins in The Hague today. Former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic will face his accusers at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Mladic has been held in prison since his arrest last May. He is accused of genocide and war crimes during the 1992-95 war that killed 200,000 people.
Although he eluded the authorities for nearly 16 years, police in northern Serbia finally captured him in a farm house and extradited him to the Netherlands. But from day one he has remained defiant and the man who’s considered a hero among some Serbs claims he has always defended his people.
In 1995, Mladic was in command of the Bosnia Serb Army and led his soldiers to the town of Srebrenica. In the days that followed, the troops systematically slaughtered nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys.
Along with organising the siege of Sarajevo in which 10,000 civilians died he is accused of orchestrating a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
One prosecutor has said that with Mladic finally in the dock his trial should lay to rest the notion that those accused of atrocities will never face justice.