A UN tribunal has convicted former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic of genocide and crimes against humanity.

He has been sentenced to life in prison for orchestrating massacres and ethnic cleansing during the Balkans war.

Mladic, 74, was hustled out of the court minutes before the verdict for screaming "this is all lies, you are all liars" after returning from what his son described as a blood pressure test, which had delayed the delivery of the judgment.

The UN Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia found Mladic guilty of ten of 11 charges.

These included the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica and the siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, in which more than 11,000 civilians were killed by shelling and sniper fire over 43 months.

The killings in Srebrenica of men and boys after they were separated from women and taken away in buses or marched off to be shot amounted to Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

"The crimes committed rank among the most heinous known to humankind, and include genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity," Presiding Judge Alphons Orie said in reading out a summary of the judgment.

"Many of these men and boys were cursed, insulted, threatened, forced to sing Serb songs and beaten while awaiting their execution," he said.

Judges said Mladic "significantly contributed" to war crimes committed at Srebrenica where is accused of ordering the massacre.

They also said Mladic was a member of a "joint criminal enterprise" intending to purge non-Serbs in Bosnia and was instrumental in war crimes in Sarajevo and personally directed shelling of the city.

UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said Mladic is the epitome of evil.

He said: "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."


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Prosecutors had demanded a life sentence Mladic, who was the Serb army commander in Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

Srebrenica, near Bosnia's eastern border with Serbia, had been designated a "safe area" by the United Nations.

It was defended by lightly-armed UN peacekeepers, who quickly surrendered when Mladic's forces stormed it on 11 July 1995.

The Dutch peacekeepers looked on helplessly as Serb forces separated men and boys from women, then sent them out of sight on buses or marched them away to be shot.

A bronzed and burly Mladic was filmed visiting a refugee camp in Srebrenica on 12 July.

"He was giving away chocolate and sweets to the children while the cameras were rolling, telling us nothing will happen and that we have no reason to be afraid," recalled Munira Subasic of the Mothers of Srebrenica group.

"After the cameras left he gave an order to kill whoever could be killed, rape whoever could be raped and finally he ordered us all to be banished and chased out of Srebrenica, so he could make an 'ethnically clean' city," she said.

The remains of her son Nermin and husband Hilmo were both found in mass graves by International Commission of Missing Persons workers.

The ICMP has identified some 6,900 remains of Srebrenica victims through DNA analysis.

The "Butcher of Bosnia" to his enemies, Mladic is still seen as a national hero by compatriots for presiding over the swift capture of 70% of Bosnia after its Serbs rose up against a Muslim-Croat declaration of independence from Yugoslavia.

Prosecutors said the ultimate plan pursued by Mladic, Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was to purge Bosnia of non-Serbs - a strategy that became known as "ethnic cleansing" - and carve out a "Greater Serbia" in the ashes of old federal Yugoslavia.

Mladic was indicted along with Karadzic in 1995, shortly after the Srebrenica killings, but evaded capture until 2011.

His trial in The Hague took more than four years, in part because of delays due to his poor health.

It is is the last case - barring appeals - to be heard by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Mladic has suffered several strokes, though UN judges rejected a flurry of last-minute attempts by defence lawyers to put off the verdict on medical grounds.

Four of Mladic's subordinates have received life sentences, while Karadzic was convicted in 2016 and sentenced to 40 years.

Milosevic, who defended himself, died in prison in 2006 before a verdict was reached in his case.

Mladic's lawyers argued that Sarajevo was a legitimate military target as it was the main bastion of Muslim-led Bosnian government forces.

They also asserted that Mladic left Srebrenica shortly before Serb fighters began executing Muslim detainees and was later shocked to find out they had occurred.

However, prosecutors argued that under war crimes law, even if Mladic did not directly order the killings, he should have known what his subordinates were doing, and would be liable for failing to punish those who committed atrocities.


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Mirza Catibusic, from Sarajevo and living in Ireland since 1994, has said that today is a very emotional day.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, he said he has mixed feelings, but it brings some relief to all of the families that suffered.

Mr Catibusix said Bosnia is still a divided country today, and solutions need to be found.

"Even today, when we welcome the verdict and the life sentencing of Mladic, in Republika Srpska he is declared as a war hero and that just shows division and I think the political situation has gotten worse in recent months coming to this trial," he said.