Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander,
at the start of his trial in The Hague on Wednesday.
Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander, went on trial here on Wednesday facing a catalog of charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity stemming from some of the bloodiest events of the Bosnian war in the 1990s, including the Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo.
The court heard a prosecutor’s dry and methodical recitation of atrocities said to have been committed by soldiers directly under Mr. Mladic’s command as Bosnian Serb units carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing and, in Sarajevo, directed a “spigot of terror” that could be opened or closed at will against civilians.
Twenty years after the war started as the former Yugoslavia fragmented, the 11-count indictment revived memories of Europe’s worst bloodletting since World War II when Sarajevo was subjected to a 44-month campaign of sniping and shelling that left more than 10,000 people dead.
In the crowded public gallery, a group of survivors from Bosnia murmured insults as Mr. Mladic appeared, with one woman shouting “vulture” as he turned to scan the crowd and gave a thumbs-up sign as he spotted an acquaintance. During a break, Kada Hotic, who had traveled from Srebrenica, was sobbing. “He ordered the killing of my husband, my son, my two brothers and my brother-in-law,” she said. “Now that I look him in the face, I want revenge.”