Former general Mladic has been charged with eleven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, all committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.
Despite claiming to have significant evidence proving his part in genocide, Gen Mladic called the court “monstrous” and refused to enter a plea. The court entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
7,000 Muslim men and boys were killed at Srebrenica in 1995; while a further 10,000 people were killed during the 44-month siege of Saravejo. Mladic is accused of masterminding both atrocities, amongst other charges.
Families of those killed in Srebrenica gathered outside the court room for the start of Mladic’s trial.
The prosecution opened proceedings in the court today, with Dermot Groome telling Gen Mladic that they would prove his part in the genocide.
He said, "Four days ago marked two decades since Ratko Mladic became the commander of the main staff of the army of Republika Srpska - the VRS.
"On that day, Mladic began his full participation in a criminal endeavour that was already in progress. On that day, he assumed the mantle of realising through military might the criminal goals of ethnically cleansing much of Bosnia. On that day he commenced his direct involvement in serious international crimes."
Elsewhere in The Hague, Mladic’s political leader Radovan Karadzic is around half way through his trial on similar charges.
Meanwhile, former Liberian president Charles Taylor, found guilty of war crimes in Sierra Leone, will today get his last chance to address the international court today, before sentencing is passed.