The prosecution has been making its closing arguments in the war crimes trial of Ratko Mladic, at the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
It has accused the former Bosnian Serb military commander of helping to orchestrate the killings in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995.
The 74-year-old is said to have walked into the town saying the time had come “to take revenge on the Turks”.
“Within a short time, over 7,000 Srebrenica men and boys, boys as young as 12, have been systematically murdered and all the remaining inhabitants of Srebrenica expelled. The Srebrenica community had been destroyed, had vanished,” prosecutor Alan Tieger told the court.
Mladic is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Earlier this year ex-Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
They are both said to have masterminded a conspiracy to carve an “ethnically pure” Serbian state out of Bosnia.
Tieger quoted Mladic as telling the Bosnian Serb assembly in 1994 that they had an historic opportunity to create “not any kind of state, but an all-Serb state with as few enemies as possible”.
The massacre of Muslims at Srebrenica happened even though the UN had declared it a protected area.
After being indicted shortly before the end of the Bosnian war, Mladic and Karadzic spent more than a decade on the run in Serbia before their arrest.
The prosecution in Mladic’s trial is summing up its arguments until Wednesday. The defence will give its closing statement from December 9 to 13. Both sides then have a chance to comment on December 15.
The tribunal was established in 1993 and has indicted 161 individuals from all sides in the conflict. Until now 83 have been convicted.