Mladic was the Bosnian Serb army commander in the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. The UN war crimes tribunal found him guilty of 10 of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mladic's lawyers say he will appeal the verdict and sentence.

Ex-Bosnian Serb wartime general Ratko Mladic reacts in court at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague, Netherlands, November 22, 2017.
Ex-Bosnian Serb wartime general Ratko Mladic reacts in court at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague, Netherlands, November 22, 2017. (Reuters)

A UN court has convicted former Bosnian Serb military chief General Ratko Mladic of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced him to life in prison for atrocities perpetrated during Bosnia and Herzegovina's 1992-1995 war.

The court in The Hague convicted Mladic of 10 of 11 counts in a dramatic climax to a groundbreaking effort to seek justice for the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic is the "epitome of evil" and his conviction was a "momentous victory for justice," UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al Hussein said.

“Mladic is the epitome of evil, and the prosecution of Mladic is the epitome of what international justice is all about,” Zeid said in a statement.

“Today’s verdict is a warning to the perpetrators of such crimes that they will not escape justice, no matter how powerful they may be nor how long it may take."

TRT World's Francis Collings reports.

Mladic to appeal

Mladic's legal team on Wednesday said the former Bosnian Serb military leader will appeal his conviction and life sentence.

"It is certain we will file an appeal and the appeal will be successful," attorney Dragan Ivetic said.

Mladic's son Darko Mladic accused the judges of obstructing his father's legal team in presenting evidence exculpating his father.

Darko Mladic said: "This judgment is wrong. It did not achieve anything ... and will be an obstacle to future normal life in the region."

A woman reacts as she watches a television broadcast of the court proceedings of former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic in the Memorial centre Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, November 22, 2017.
A woman reacts as she watches a television broadcast of the court proceedings of former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic in the Memorial centre Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, November 22, 2017. (Reuters)

Srebrenica genocide

Mladic, known as the "Butcher of Bosnia" was accused of commanding forces responsible for crimes including the worst atrocities of the war – the deadly three-year siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, and the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the eastern enclave of Srebrenica, which was Europe's worst mass killing since World War II.

The judgment marks the end of the tribunal's final trial. The groundbreaking court was set up in 1993, while fierce fighting was still raging in Bosnia.

The conflict in the former Yugoslavia erupted after the breakup of the former multi-ethnic federation in the early 1990s, with the worst crimes taking place in Bosnia. More than 100,000 people died and millions lost their homes before a peace agreement was signed in 1995.

In this Saturday, November 11, 2017, picture, photos of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre dead and missing, are placed on a wall at the Srebrenica Women's Union in Tuzla, Bosnia.
In this Saturday, November 11, 2017, picture, photos of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre dead and missing, are placed on a wall at the Srebrenica Women's Union in Tuzla, Bosnia. (AP)

Mladic did not act alone

Mladic's political master during the war, former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic was convicted last year for masterminding atrocities in Bosnia and sentenced to 40 years. He has appealed the ruling.

The man widely blamed for fomenting wars across the Balkans, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, died in his UN cell in 2006 before tribunal judges could reach verdicts in his trial.

Mladic went into hiding after the war and remained a fugitive until his arrest in Serbia in May 2011.

Long before the hearing in The Hague started on Wednesday, survivors began gathering outside the court.

People, including victims, protest in front of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, on November 22, 2017, prior to the verdict in the genocide trial of former Bosnian Serbian commander Ratko Mladic.
People, including victims, protest in front of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, on November 22, 2017, prior to the verdict in the genocide trial of former Bosnian Serbian commander Ratko Mladic. (AFP)
Source: TRTWorld and agencies