Ratko Mladic, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by a UN tribunal at The Hague, the Netherlands. Known as the "Butcher of Bosnia", Mladic led forces during the massacre of Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) in Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo, following the breakup of Yugoslavia. The UN tribunal in The Hague convicted him on 10 of the 11 charges.

'It’s all lies'

Mladic, 74, entered the courtroom with a broad smile and thumbs up to the cameras – a gesture that must have made the relatives of the victims furious.

He looked relaxed in the beginning and sat impassively for the first 45 minutes of the judge’s address. Then, he asked for a bathroom break and did not reappear for almost an hour. Reporters were told he was having his blood pressure checked. Mladic's legal team had asked for proceedings to be halted or for the summation of the case to be skipped because of their client’s high blood pressure, which the Judge refused.

After coming back to the courtroom, Mladic burst out with criticism, shouted at the judges and kept repeating that everything that had been said in the courtroom was a lie. All of that was followed by an outburst of profanity, which prompted the Judge to have him removed from the courtroom and the verdicts were read in his absence.

Mladic’s lawyer said he would appeal.

The 'Butcher of Bosnia'

The one-time fugitive from international justice faced 11 charges: two of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and four of violations of the laws or customs of war. The former general, dubbed the "Butcher of Bosnia", went into hiding for around ten years before his arrest in Serbia in May 2011.

The three-year siege of Sarajevo claimed more than 10,000 lives, while the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War Two, saw more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys slaughtered and dumped into mass graves. The idea behind all these acts was that of ethnic cleansing and creating the Great Serbia. Mladic saw the war as an opportunity to avenge five centuries of occupation by Muslim Turks and often referred to Bosniaks as ‘’Turks’’ to insult them.

Yugoslav war crimes court to wrap up its activities

Along with Ratko Mladic, two other men were the main instigators of the bloodshed; Slobodan Milosevic, who provided the Bosnian Serb separatists with funding, weapons and military personnel, and Radovan Karadzic, who was convicted last year and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Slobodan Milosevic died in his UN cell in 2006 before tribunal judges could reach verdicts in his trial.

Mladic's trial was the last before the tribunal and came as the court in The Hague prepared to close its doors next month.