(Reuters) - Ratko Mladic, one of the world’s most wanted men, has been arrested in Serbia, the Serbian president said on Thursday. He faces extradition to the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Here are some key facts about Mladic:
* Mladic was born in a southern Bosnian village in 1942, son of a partisan killed by pro-Nazi Croatian Ustasha troops in 1945. He wanted to become a teacher, but instead went to the Yugoslav capital Belgrade for military studies, graduating as one of the top three in his class.
* He spent most of his military career in the Yugoslav People’s Army in Macedonia. After rising to colonel’s rank, he had a short but prominent role as commander of the federal army corps in Serb-controlled southern Croatia during the opening stage of the war there.
* In May 1992 Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic made Mladic, now a lieutenant-general, commander of the Bosnian Serb army, a position he held until December 1996. His troops seized most of Bosnia, laid siege to the capital Sarajevo for 43 months and executed more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys after capturing the eastern enclave of Srebrenica in 1995.
* In March 1994, Mladic’s daughter Ana, a medical student, shot herself with her father’s pistol in Belgrade. People close to Mladic said her suicide hardened him further.
* In 2010 his family filed a request to have him legally declared dead. Milos Saljic, the Mladic family lawyer, said the motion was submitted to Belgrade’s First Municipal Court “based on the fact that the family has had no information nor contacts with Mr. Mladic for about seven years and that he was a very sick man.”
* In late 1995, the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague indicted Mladic on two counts of genocide for the Sarajevo siege and the Srebrenica massacre. Mladic went underground in 2001, shortly after Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was overthrown by a popular uprising. The tribunal said Mladic was in Serbia, but neither NATO in Bosnia nor police in Serbia had managed to track him down until now.