Mladic 'the world's biggest butcher': demonstrators
Widows and relatives of victims of the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica on Wednesday denounced wartime Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic as a "butcher" ahead of his trial before a UN court.
Some 25 women and children belonging to the "Mothers of Srebrenica" organisation demonstrated outside the Yugoslav war crimes court, where Mladic was about to go on trial for some of the worst atrocities committed in Europe since Nazi rule.
Now, 70, the former general faces 11 overall counts for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity which includes masterminding the massacre of almost 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995.
"This is the biggest butcher of the Balkans and the world," Munira Subasic, 65, told AFP. She lost 22 relatives to Bosnian Serb military forces when the enclave of Srebrenica was overrun in July 1995.
"I'll look into his eyes and ask him if he repents," said Subasic, who said she would watch the trial's opening from the public gallery at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Outside, the protesters held up placards including one that said "we want justice for the victims of Srebrenica".
Another protester, Sara Kolenovic said: "He is the biggest evil in the world."
"There is no way to ease a mother's pain, but at least it is some kind of justice," added Subasic.
Prosecutors also hold Mladic responsible for the 44-month siege of Sarajevo where his forces waged a "terror campaign" of sniping and shelling which left 10,000 civilians dead.
It was in pursuit of a "Greater Serbia" that Mladic allegedly ordered his troops to "cleanse" Bosnian towns, driving out Croats, Muslims and other non-Serbs.
Dubbed the "Butcher of Bosnia", Mladic was arrested in northeastern Serbia in May last year after 16 years on the run, wanted by the tribunal for his role in Bosnia's 1992-95 war which left 100,000 dead and 2.2 million homeless.
Mladic has pleaded not guilty to the charges in a trial that could last up to three years. If found guilty, he could face life behind bars.
Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic is already on trial before the tribunal, who with Mladic are believed to be the main players in a joint criminal plan to rid multi-ethnic Bosnia of Croats and Muslims.
© 2012 AFP