This was just the first day of Mladic's trial, located at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague. He led the Bosnian Serbian army, during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, is being charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which includes the genocide of 8,000 Muslim boys and men at Srebrenica during the year 1995.
He is also charged with leading the 44-month siege of Sarajevo, Bosnia's capital, of which 12,000 people died. Spending roughly 15 years on the run in Serbia before being caught by Serbian Special Forces, Mladic is now nearing the age of 70.
Prosecutors only have 200 hours to make their case, including testimony from 411 witnesses. The goal is to show that Mladic organized the mass killings during the Bosnian war.
"The prosecution will present evidence that will show beyond a reasonable doubt the hand of Mr. Mladic in each of these crimes," Prosecutor Dermot Groome said. He also added that when Mladic and his soldiers had "murdered thousands in Srebrenica," they were "well-rehearsed in the craft of murder."
Srebrenica is one of the best-documented massacres in modern history as there was real-time satellite surveillance of the killings and videos taken by the soldiers and Mladic. Mladic gave his orders via military radio, not bothering to hide his words, which were recorded and broadcasted on news programs across the country the very next day.
The plan of Srebrenica was to get rid of Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and other non-Serbians to make a "Greater Serbia." An estimated 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were executed from July 11-22, 1995, after his soldiers had 400 Dutch U.N. peacekeepers to escape the city and citizens they protected. Babies were slaughtered and girls as young as 12 years old were raped.
"Mladic embodied the worst of the war," says Laura Silber, co-author of the book The Death of Yugoslavia and the director of public affairs for the Open Society Foundations, a civil rights institute. "I saw the adulation he received from his soldiers - they saw him as a true hero. But this man was a monster."
Mladic's lawyer, who spoke for him, said that he does not recognize the special U.N. court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which can send him to prison for life. His lawyers also said he was too sick to sit through the trial, however this was seen as a tactic to delay the trial.
Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the court, wants to make sure that Mladic doesn't follow the tribunal's important defendant, Slobodan Milosevic, who was the former Serbian President, who died in his cell in 2006 before a verdict was reached.
"I hope that many of those who are disillusioned and believe that Mladic is a Serb hero will change their minds, and that the trial will demonstrate that he was just a criminal and a coward," Fikret Grabovica, president of an association of parents and children killed in the siege of Sarajevo, told Reuters.
Serbia is healing their injuries of the war after being accused of hiding Mladic for years by the West. Serbia's parliament has apologize for Srebrenica, while President Boris Tadic had Mladic tracked down, where he was found in a farmhouse in the northern Serbia region. Tadic, a pro-reform leader elected in 2004, has helped increase the strength of Serbia's democracy, rebuilt its economy, and is trying to have the country become a member in the European Union.
Mladic's trial is the last part of the Bosnia's bloodbath. Nervous in his seat, Mladic seemed to be a man who's at the end of his rope.