United Nations: Terming Thursday as a historic day for international justice, UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon welcomed the arrest of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic.

“This is an historic day for international justice. This marks an important step in our collective fight against impunity as well as for the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY),” Ban said.

Serbia on Thursday arrested Europe’s most wanted man, Mladic, ending a 16-year manhunt for the general accused of masterminding the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

“My thoughts are with the families of the victims, who have waited 16 years for justice for crime including those committed at Srebrenica,” Ban was quoted as saying in a statement.

“It sends a powerful message that those who have committed crimes against humanity may try to evade justice, but they will, in the end, be held accountable,” it said.

Mladic has been on the run since his indictment in 1995 by the UN war crimes tribunal for genocide in the slaughter of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war.

US President Barack Obama also hailed the arrest of Mladic and said that it’s an important day for the families of his victims.

“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 Paris where he is attending the G8 Summit.

Chief prosecutor of the ICTY, Serge Brammertz, said, “These victims have endured unimaginable horrors...and redress for their suffering is long overdue. We believe that it can have a positive impact on reconciliation in the region.”

(Agencies)