Ratko Mladic arrived at the United Nations prison complex in Scheveningen on Tuesday evening. Shortly after 2100 hours, a helicopter landed in the jail courtyard, out of sight from the assembled press, former Dutchbat servicemen and women and Bosnian refugees.
In 1995, Bosnian Serb soldiers murdered an estimated 8000 Muslim males in and around Srebrenica, a town in present-day Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Under the protection of some 600 lightly armed Dutch soldiers, the enclave was attacked by Serb commander Ratko Mladic on 11 July 1995. While over 20,000 of the women, children and infirm who had taken refuge in this UN-declared safe haven fled to a neighbouring Dutch base, men and boys were separated from their families and systematically murdered.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) ruled the Srebrenica massacre a genocide, reportedly the worst case of mass killings in Europe since World War II.
While the media stayed duly behind the barricades, the public road remained open, as did the footpath running right alongside the doors of the prison complex. Behind the camera crews and the line of impatient journalists, a crowd of onlookers had gathered.
On closer inspection, these were no ordinary passers-by. A father was draping the Bosnian flag over his six-year-old son. He recalled leaving Bosnia in 1995, having fled the violence for which he today holds Mladic responsible.
"That man has so many murders on his conscience. He's caused so much suffering,” the father said. “Just thinking of it hurts me. I'm so glad he's been arrested. If I were to lay a hand on him, I would kill him." The emotional words came with a bitterness in his eyes. His son frolicked among journalists, happily sporting his blue and yellow cape.
Two Dutch men and a woman looked on from some distance. Were they curious spectators from the neighbourhood? No, they were former Dutchbat soldiers from the Dutch UN battalion who served in Srebrenica. One of them, René Jagt, was reluctant to tell his story. He was there just to see for himself how the man who caused him so many nightmares was being brought to justice.
But then the stories came. And the jokes. A plane circled overhead. "Maybe he's in there. I wonder whether they gave him a parachute."
Former Dutchbat serviceman Frank van Weert offered why it took so long for Mladic to arrive. "There are rumours he wanted a meal before the flight. I bet they gave him a salad made of German cucumbers!"
There was laughter, until helicopters appeared overhead. Everybody became tense, peering into the sky. No time for jokes now. Former Dutchbat servicewoman Liesbeth Beukeboom began to tremble. "If I saw him now, I would shoot him."
The helicopter kept circling. Where would Mladic appear? From the sky? From one of those cars? It was exciting, like an action movie.
"I bet he comes by car and if he does, I'll sprint over!" said Ms Beukeboom. She put her words into action, racing across the street, towards the closed steel-plated gates of the prison. She then ran madly to the other side.
The reporters appeared indecisive by comparison. Where was this going? Maybe it was just another diversionary move.
The cars entered the prison’s main gates just as the helicopter landed in the courtyard. It remained unclear how Mladic was actually delivered inside.
"It's emotional to think that he is so near,” Ms Beukeboom said. “Back then, Mladic waved goodbye to us – I still have that vivid image in my head. But now we wave goodbye to him. Farewell, Mladic!"
• Video: how Dutch TV reported the arrival of ICTY suspect Ratko Mladic