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Ratko Mladic Arrested: Key Facts About The Serbian War Criminal (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 05/26/11 12:12 PM ET   Updated: 07/26/11 06:12 AM ET

A dark, violent Serbian chapter may be coming to a close with the arrest of Ratko Mladic, allegedly one of the world's most prominent war criminals.

As the BBC is reporting, the 69-year-old Mladic was nabbed in a northern Serbian village, where he had been living under an assumed name. Serbian President Boris Tadic said the process to extradite the former Bosnian Serb army chief, who faces charges for the massacre of at least 7,500 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995, was underway.

The news of Mladic's arrest brings good news for Serbia overall, as it could help the nation move forward on its desired accession to the European Union, Reuters reports.

View a selection of key facts about the Serbian fugitive, courtesy of Reuters, below:

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  • 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.

  • Mladic goes on trial in The Hague on Wednesday May 16, 2012 on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |