His victims call him the Butcher of Bosnia. His defenders say he was a nationalist trying to defend his people as Yugoslavia collapsed.

Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb general, was convicted of war crimes on Wednesday over the slaughter of Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s — Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.

His trial, which began in 2012, was the last to be handled by the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up in response to the atrocities.

Here are some in-depth articles from The Times’s archive about the man who shaped the image of the Balkans in war and in peace:

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General Mladic, center, observing the positions of Bosnian government forces in Gorazde, eastern Bosnia, in 1994. Credit Emil Vas/Associated Press

A Child of War and a Man of War

A Times correspondent profiled Mr. Mladic in 1994, as the general and Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, became increasingly isolated in their rejection of an international peace plan for Bosnia.

“Mladic’s first name, Ratko, is a diminutive of Ratimir (War or Peace) or Ratislav (War of Slavs). Ratko is a name typically given a male baby in wartime. The general, 51, refuses to be identified in any way with the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, created in April 1992 as an independent and multiethnic state and recognized by the United States and the European Community.”

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Residents of Sarajevo during a mortar attack on the Kosevo cemetery complex in the city in 1992. Credit Vincent Amalvy/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Terror in Sarajevo

Forces led by Mr. Mladic kept Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital, under a deadly siege for nearly four years. Some troops shelled their own homes in the city. Thousands lived in fear during those years, facing the daily threat of being hit by snipers. More than 10,000 people died on all sides.

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A video still of General Mladic in 1995 vowing that everyone in Srebrenica would be safe. Credit APTN, via Associated Press

No one will be harmed

That was the promise made by Mr. Mladic on July 12, 1995, as he gently patted a young boy on the head in the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. His bodyguards handed out chocolates to children.

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It was a lie. Over the next 10 days, his soldiers hunted down, captured and summarily executed more than 8,000 men and boys from the town.

In 2011, Times correspondents wrote that mass killings were a trademark of Mr. Mladic and that they ultimately caused his downfall.

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An inspection in 2004 of a military bunker about 40 miles northeast of Sarajevo, where Mr. Mladic sheltered for some time while a fugitive. Credit Hidajet Delic/Associated Press

Bosnian Serb Warriors Are Haunted in Peace

After an international accord was reached to make peace in Bosnia in 1995, Mr. Mladic spent much of his time isolated in a mountain bunker surrounded by a coterie of officers. His moods were said to swing from rage to uneasy calm.

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General Mladic at one of his command posts in Bosnian Serb territory in 1996. Credit Associated Press

A Vacation Fit for a King of Fugitives

After his indictment in 1995, Mr. Mladic evaded arrest for 16 years, despite the presence of thousands of NATO soldiers in the region for much of that time. The Serbian military long shielded him, paid him a salary and continues to pay him a pension. In 1997, for example, he enjoyed an apparently pleasant summer: He spent a week by the turquoise waters of the Montenegro coast, and he was host at his son’s wedding at a well-known Belgrade hotel where United Nations officials were staying.

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A cemetery in Srebrenica for victims of the massacre. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Solace in a Graveyard

In 2000, thousands of women from Srebrenica won the right to establish a cemetery to the dead in their hometown — by that time inhabited almost exclusively by Serbs. Almost two decades later, the number of white headstones is still growing. The leader of the Serb Republic, the autonomous entity where Srebrenica lies, has officially denied that any genocide occurred.

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A rally in 2011 in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, to protest Mr. Mladic’s arrest. Credit Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

End of the Line

Mr. Mladic was found hiding in a village near the Serbia-Romania border, 16 years after his initial indictment by a United Nations tribunal. His arrest removed one obstacle in Serbia’s continued efforts toward European Union membership but raised questions about who had helped him through the years.

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