By Ria Novosti
The long-awaited trial of the former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic opens on Wednesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
Dubbed the Butcher of the Balkans, Mladic, 70, has been charged with 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, especially for his role in the Srebrenica massacre of at least 7,500 Muslims in 1995.
The trial will start with an opening statement by prosecution.
During the hearings, prosecutors are planning to present 410 witness accounts and 28,000 pieces of evidence to prove that Mladic was one of the key men behind a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia during the country’s devastating 1992-95 war that left over 100,000 people dead.
Experts believe it may take as long as 200 hours for prosecution to state its case against the suspected war criminal.
Mladic was arrested in Serbia on May 26, 2011, after 16 years on the run, and flown to The Hague.
He has rejected so far all the charges against him as “obnoxious” and “monstrous,” claiming that his army was defending the Serb people in Bosnia.
The ICTY is a body of the United Nations established to prosecute serious crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and to try their perpetrators. The maximum sentence it can impose is life imprisonment.