Police in Serbia arrested one of the world's most sought war criminals before dawn Thursday following a 16-year manhunt.
Ratko Mladic is a Bosnian Serb military leader charged with masterminding Europe's worst massacre of civilians since World War II. He's been on the run since 1995.
"We have ended a difficult period of our history and removed the stain from the face of Serbia and the members of our nation wherever they live," President Boris Tadic said in a press conference Thursday.
The United Nations indicted Mladic for genocide in the deaths of 8,000 Muslims during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.
"Over 500 victims of the Srebrenica genocide were boys under age of 18," Hasan Nuhanovic, a survivor from Srebrenica whose father, mother and brother were executed by Mladic's forces, told the New York Times.
"They were 16, 17 years old when they were executed," he said.
The man known as the "Butcher of Bosnia" was living in a village in northern Serbia when he was taken into custody. Prosecutors believe he had the protection of hardline Bosnians who consider him a hero.
President Barack Obama congratulated Serbian officials on Mladic's arrest.
"Today is an important day for the families of Mladic's many victims, for Serbia, for Bosnia, for the United States, and for international justice," he said in a statement issued from France.
"May the families of Mladic's victims find some solace in today's arrest, and may this deepen the ties among the people of the region," Obama added.