Bosnian War

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Bosnian War
Part of: Yugoslav Wars
Grbavica, district of Sarajevo
Grbavica , district of Sarajevo
date April 1992 to December 14, 1995
place Bosnia and Herzegovina
Casus Belli Striving for independence in the Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
output Recognition of the independent state of Bosnia and Herzegovina with strong decentralization of state power
Peace treaty Dayton Agreement
Parties to the conflict
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1998) .svg
Alija Izetbegović (President of Bosnia-Herzegovina )
Rasim Delić (Supreme Commanding General of the Troops)
Atif Dudaković (Supreme Commanding 5th Corpus)
Flag of the Republika Srpska.svg
Radovan Karadžić (President of the Republika Srpska )
Ratko Mladić General (Supreme Commander of the VRS) Presidium of the SFRY (JNA)
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992) .svg
Troop strength
210,000 soldiers 50,000
80,000 soldiers

31,270 soldiers,
33,071 civilians

5,439 soldiers
2,163 civilians

20,649 soldiers
4,075 civilians

The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995 as part of the Yugoslav Wars is referred to as the Bosnian War .

As a result of the beginning of the disintegration of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the associated armed conflicts, especially in Croatia , tensions between the ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina also grew in 1990 and 1991 . While large parts of the Serbian population pleaded for remaining in the Yugoslav Federation and a close association with Serbia , the Bosniaks in particular wanted to form their own independent state, among other things because they had a superior power to Serbia in what is now around Slovenia and Croatia feared reduced Yugoslavia. Croatians from western Herzegovina wanted to lean closer to Croatia or to join the new Croatian state. Tensions escalated after the announcement of a referendum on the independence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (RBiH) and the proclamation of a Bosnian-Serb republic . After the international recognition of the independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the European Union and the United States of America on 6/7. In April 1992 the military escalation between the conflicting parties began.

The armed clashes between the forces of the three major ethnic groups were fueled by the respective nationalist groups and accompanied by so-called ethnic cleansing . The Bosnian Serbs were supported by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with both arms deliveries and paramilitary troops , while the Bosnian Croats received support from Croatia with the training of units, armament and logistics as well as the provision of regular military personnel for active combat participation. At first, the Bosniaks could only rely on light weapons from the earlier territorial defense. They later received international military support, primarily from Muslim countries . However, due to the arms embargo, only small arms could enter the country. The military superiority of the Bosnian Serbs meant that they conquered and controlled up to 70 percent of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, there were fights between Croats and Bosniaks from summer 1992 to spring 1994, mainly in Herzegovina, as well as the proclamation of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia around Velika Kladuša by the Bosniak Fikret Abdić , who was in opposition to the government in Sarajevo .

Even international mediation efforts and the deployment of UN troops could not contain the war for a long time. After Croatia ended its partition policy in Bosnia through international and internal pressure and Croatia and its government army succeeded in conquering the Republic of Serbian Krajina in the summer of 1995 and putting the Serbian side on the defensive in Bosnia as well, the warring factions, which had meanwhile become tired, showed themselves Ready , even under international pressure, especially from the USA , to conduct serious negotiations to end the war. These negotiations culminated in the Dayton Treaty at the end of 1995 . With the treaty, the two entities, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, were established as part of Bosnia and Herzegovina . At the same time, international military and civilian control of the country was agreed, which continues to this day.

The Bosnian war claimed around 100,000 deaths.

Situation before the disintegration of Yugoslavia

The disintegration of Yugoslavia

The dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1990/1991 was preceded by long-term domestic political and socio-economic disintegration processes. They were structured in the construction of the state and gained in sharpness and dynamism as a result of the global political changes of the 1980s. One source of conflict was the tense relationship between nationalism and federalism ; In addition, there was ethnic diversity, diverging historical and political traditions and serious socio-economic differences between the republics. Thus distribution conflicts and nationalistic undercurrents were inevitable, which under Tito's leadership and in a sophisticated model of ethnic representation and power-sharing could still be laboriously controlled. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the pillars of the Yugoslavian understanding of the state collapsed; the Yugoslav model of the "Third Way" between the blocks, which had been internationally respected up to that point, became obsolete. Yugoslavia had suffered a severe economic crisis since the early 1980s. The call for far-reaching reforms of the political system became louder, especially in Slovenia and Croatia. At the end of the decade, the Yugoslav government was unable to act due to the dispute over reforms; more and more power was shifted to the level of the sub-republics. The anti-bureaucratic revolution in 1989 accelerated the process of disintegration of Yugoslavia and in early 1990 the Union of Communists of Yugoslavia , the Yugoslav Unity Party , fell apart . In Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and later also in the other republics, multi-party elections were held, but not at the federal level.

In the process, new political parties established themselves , mostly representing the interests of a single ethnic group. The competition for political power was thus transformed into ethno-political rivalry. On June 25, 1991, Slovenia and Croatia declared themselves independent after previous referendums . Immediately afterwards, the first armed conflicts broke out between the territorial defense there and the Yugoslav People's Army , which in 1991 was the only federal institution to survive. The war gradually spread to other republics.

Initial political situation

Population structure

Before the Bosnian War, Bosnia and Herzegovina was often considered a miniature Yugoslavia due to its population structure . For a long time, three peoples lived together peacefully: the Muslim Bosniaks, the Orthodox Serbs and the Catholic Croats, with religion only playing a minor role in socialist Yugoslavia. In many parts of the country, these population groups were direct neighbors. According to the 1991 census, of a total of 4.36 million inhabitants, the Bosniaks made up 43.7%, the Serbs 31.4% and the Croats 17.3%; 5.5% declared themselves to be Yugoslavs. In addition, about 2% belonged to other minorities.

Parliamentary elections

The communist regime in Bosnia-Herzegovina was considered to be comparatively repressive. The cause has often been given that the relationships between the nations are so sensitive here that any disruption would escalate immediately. The process of political democratization started relatively late in Bosnia. In January 1990 a new constitution and a multi-party system were adopted, but in April the establishment of parties under national names was banned. This meant that the Bosniak Party had to call itself the Democratic Action Party . The ban was later lifted. The first free elections for the bicameral parliament took place on November 18 and December 2, 1990.

Three nationally defining parties received the most votes, roughly corresponding to the proportion of the population: the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA) won 86 of the 240 seats in both chambers of parliament, the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) 70 seats and the Croatian Democratic Party Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) 45 seats. Fikret Abdić (SDA) was elected president but resigned in favor of Alija Izetbegović . Izetbegović could have ruled with a coalition of Bosniaks and Croats, but formed a formal coalition between the three largest parties. The Serb Momčilo Krajišnik became parliamentary president and the Croat Jure Pelivan became prime minister.

Formation of autonomous areas

The self-proclaimed "Serbian Autonomous Oblasts ", or SAOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina for short (1991)

When the government took office in late 1990, the general situation in Yugoslavia was already very tense. At the beginning of 1991 Slobodan Milošević publicly threatened that he would annex entire territories of Croatia and Bosnia if someone tried to replace the federal structure of Yugoslavia with a looser alliance structure. In debates about the federal structure, the Bosnian government sided with Slovenia and Croatia, but could not fully support them because many Bosnians were worried about the prospect that the two republics would leave Yugoslavia. In May 1991 the Bosnian SDS began to demand the separation of large parts of northern and western Bosnia. They were to be united with the Croatian Krajina in a new republic. Three areas of Bosnia with predominantly Serbian inhabitants have been declared Serbian Autonomous Regions by the SDS . A little later, a smaller party in Croatia, the Right Party, demanded the annexation of all of Bosnia by Croatia. In the meantime, in the summer of 1991, an open war had broken out, first in Slovenia and then in Croatia. In early August 1991, the leader of the small Bosniak party Muslimanska bošnjačka organizacija (MBO), Adil Zulfikarpašić , attempted to reach a historic agreement with the SDS that would guarantee the integrity of the Bosnian Republic. Izetbegović protested on the grounds that the Croatians had not even been consulted. A few days after his criticism, the representatives of the SDS announced that they would now boycott the meetings of the state presidency.

The next step of the SDS leadership in September 1991 was the involvement of the Yugoslav Federal Army to protect the Serbian autonomous regions . Federal troops were relocated to Herzegovina and at the end of September set the borders of the Serbian autonomous region of Herzegovina . Other army bases on Bosnian territory (including in Banja Luka ) were used for military operations against Croatia. Major communication centers were occupied by the army. In the winter of 1991/92 positions for heavy artillery were built around the larger Bosnian cities. When the fighting in Croatia ended in January / February 1992, tanks and artillery of the Federal Army were withdrawn from Croatia with the approval of the UN and relocated to Bosnia.

The underlying political plan was presented at the Congress of the Socialist Party of Serbia on October 9, 1991: “In the new Yugoslav state there will be at least three federal units: Serbia, Montenegro and a unified Bosnia-Knin. If the Bosniaks wish to remain in the new Yugoslav state, they can do so. If they try to fall away, they must know that they are surrounded by Serbian territory. "

The Bosnian parliament discussed whether Bosnia should declare its sovereignty. In a memorandum in October 1991, parliament called for legislative sovereignty within Yugoslavia so that it could theoretically pass laws that could break the federal army's right to use its territory. Before that decision was made, Radovan Karadžić instructed SDS MPs to leave parliament. A few days later, he and his party established a so-called Serbian National Assembly in Banja Luka, the stronghold of the Federal Army .

The attitude of Croatia and the Bosnian Croats towards a possible independent Bosnia-Herzegovina was mixed: the Bosnian Croats in central and northeastern Bosnia had an interest in a stable Bosnia-Herzegovina. Many Croatians in Herzegovina would have liked to join the newly created independent Croatia. The Croatian President Franjo Tuđman seemed at times ready to give a guarantee for the respect of an independent Bosnian state. But there were also statements to the contrary on his part. At a meeting with Milošević in Karađorđevo in March 1991, both had discussed the possibility of dividing Yugoslavia, and the division of Bosnia-Herzegovina had played a role in this. Tuđman's opinion was also known that Bosnia-Herzegovina was created “through the Ottoman occupation of the former Croatian territories”, that all Bosniaks “would feel like Croats” and that the Croatian state should be restored “within its historical borders”.


After an overwhelming majority of the population in Slovenia and Croatia had voted in favor of their state independence and the governments had declared their sovereignty , a referendum on state independence was also prepared in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1991 .

The referendum was held on February 29 and March 1, 1992. The Bosnian Serbs were called by their political leadership to boycott this referendum. The participation was 63.4%. Of the valid votes, 99.7% were in favor of sovereignty under international law .

In the Bosnian-Herzegovinian parliament, which most Serbian MPs had already left at the end of 1991, the declaration of independence was proclaimed on March 5, 1992. The first state to recognize the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina under international law was Bulgaria.

Parties to the war and war aims

Warring parties

Vojska Republike Srpske

Supreme Commander of the Bosnian Serbs, General Ratko Mladić (1993)

The Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) was the earliest armed of the three warring factions. It was supported financially, logistically and militarily by the Serbian-dominated army of Yugoslavia . In May 1992, for example, the 5th Corps of the Yugoslav Army surrendered a considerable part of its equipment to the Serbian troops.

The army was officially under the government of the Bosnian Serbs in Pale . In April 1994 it was 100,000 strong. In addition there were 25,000 officers and conscripts from Serbia and Montenegro , 4,000 volunteers from Serbian special units and 1,000 to 1,500 war volunteers from Russia , Bulgaria and the Ukraine .

Of all foreign volunteers, the Russian faction was the most important, as it has been proven that it operated in two organized units, known as РДО-1 and РДО-2 (Latin: RDO-1 and RDO-2). РДО stood for Russian Volunteer Unit (Русский Добровольческий Отряд). Their main area of ​​operation was Eastern Bosnia, which was hardest hit by war and displacement due to its proximity to Serbia. The work of Greek volunteers ( organized as the Greek Volunteer Guard with around 100 men ) in the fall of Srebrenica deserves special mention , as it is reported that the Greek national flag was flying in the city after the fall.

Croatian units

The Croatians organized the Croatian Defense Council ( Hrvatsko Vijeće Obrane , HVO ) as armed units of the Herceg-Bosna. The troops initially had militia-like structures. At the end of 1992 it had around 45,000 men, 4,000 to 5,000 men from volunteer associations and local police stations, and 15,000 to 20,000 men from the Croatian army . The Croatian government denied any involvement, but it supported the Bosnian Croats with training, armament and logistics.

Larger foreign volunteer units on the part of the Bosnian Croats are not known; to a lesser extent, however, mercenaries and small paramilitary units mainly from abroad joined mainly the right-wing national HOS . These included volunteers and others. a. from Germany and Austria, especially from the right-wing extremist environment there. The motivation of the individual volunteers ranged from a simple thirst for adventure to the expression of right-wing national and paramilitary ideas in the HOS.

The case of the Swede Jackie Arklöv , who was convicted of war crimes against Bosniaks in prison camps in Bosnia , also attracted particular attention .


The Bosniaks were surprised by the war poorly prepared and took the longest to build their own army, the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina ( Armija Republike Bosne i Hercegovine , later Armija BiH ). Initially, the troops, which consisted mainly of Bosniaks, organized themselves into paramilitary groups such as the Patriotic League . On May 14, 1992 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was constituted. At that time it consisted of 50,000 men, but only had equipment for around 44,000. In the course of the year, 600 to 4,000 volunteers from Muslim countries, as well as many mujahideen and members of local militias , joined this army , but the latter were often subordinate to local commanders. The mujahideen, on the other hand, acted more autonomously and independently of the Bosnian army command. Alija Izetbegović and Rasim Delić , the then commander in chief of the Bosnian army, are said to have done nothing against the war crimes of the mujahideen, which was later criticized. In 1993, Izetbegović submitted to the majority of his party, which campaigned for a multi-religious Bosnia, and thus probably distanced himself again from the Mujahideen.

Despite a UN arms embargo in 1991 that applied to the whole of Yugoslavia (Resolution 713 of the UN Security Council), the Serbian and Croatian warring parties managed to import large quantities of armaments, in the case of Croatia in part from Germany. The Bosniaks, on the other hand, had greater difficulties importing weapons and equipment due to their inland location and the siege situation. The United States has overturned the UN arms embargo several times in order to supply the Bosnian army and the mujahideen with weapons and equipment. US secret services smuggled military equipment through Croatia in cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah . There is controversy as to whether America's breach of the UN arms embargo contributed to a further escalation of the Bosnian War.

The military publisher Jane's Information Group stated in August 1994 that the three warring parties had spent $ 1.3 billion on arms and ammunition in the first two years of the war . Arms worth $ 660 million were delivered to the Croats, $ 476 million to the Serbs, and $ 162 million to the Bosnian army.

Paramilitary groups

At least 45 paramilitary groups were also involved in the Bosnian war. These were under the orders of independent leaders, but were supported by the governments of the Yugoslav successor states. They were considered particularly brutal and were responsible for numerous war crimes.

On the Serbian side, the White Eagles (Beli Orlovi) , Arkan's Tiger and the Serbian Volunteer Guard (Srpska Dobrovoljačka Garda) fought . On the Bosniak side, the Bosniak Patriotic League (Patriotska Liga) , the Green Berets (Zelene Beretke) and numerous Muslim Mujahedin units and the Croatian Defense Forces ( Hrvatske obrambene snage ) fought .

War aims

When Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina announced their exit from the Yugoslav federal state, the primary goal of the Yugoslav People's Army was to maintain the state union. The reason for the war was the respective declarations of independence and international recognition.

The Bosnian Serbs first tried to bring the predominantly Serbian-populated regions, including the lack of communication areas, under their control. This meant securing the northern corridor at Brčko , the eastern corridor towards eastern Herzegovina , and the middle corridor at Zvornik .

The HVO initially had a military alliance with the Bosniaks, because both parties supported the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, this alliance broke when the Bosnian Croats also made territorial claims. They tried to bring the Posavina and western Herzegovina under their control. Later they also launched attacks on areas populated mostly by Bosniaks in order to expand their territory.

Because of their military inferiority at the beginning of the war, the Bosniak government troops contented themselves with defending the territory over which they still exercised control. After the Croatian army withdrew from the military alliance, they also had to repel attacks from the Croatian side. Only in the course of 1993 did the tide turn in favor of the Bosniaks, whereupon they planned to retake central Bosnia and open a land corridor to the Adriatic Sea.



Vedran Smajlović , a local musician, refuses to leave the National Library in Sarajevo

At a meeting in March 1991 in Karadjordjevo spoke Franjo Tuđman and Slobodan Milošević on ways of dividing Yugoslavia. Thoughts about the division of Bosnia-Herzegovina were also discussed. The regular change at the top of the collective Yugoslav state presidency on May 15 failed due to the refusal of a majority led by the representatives of Serbia to approve the appointment of Croat Stipe Mesić . This left Yugoslavia without a formal head of state and without a commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The chairman of the Council of Europe, Jacques Santer , and the chairman of the European Commission, Jacques Delors , visited Belgrade on May 29th and 30th in order to campaign for the preservation of national unity. Santer threatened that Yugoslavia could not count on an EC association "until it had overcome its internal problems". The EC delegates offered Marković financial aid - they spoke of loans of around one billion dollars and the cancellation of part of the debt. After numerous crisis meetings of the state presidency and the leadership of the republic, all sides approved a compromise proposal on June 6th that Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina had worked out. The adopted paper was full of contradictions and inaccuracies as far as the delimitation of competencies between the republics and the federal government, the republics' right to their own foreign and defense policy, etc. The EC enthusiastically welcomed the compromise. Serbia withdrew its consent two days later.

In a proclamation on June 10, Bosniaks called on all Bosnian ethnic groups to work for a unified republic. On June 25th, the republics of Croatia and Slovenia proclaimed their independence . The Belgrade government called the declarations illegal and put the federal army on the march. There were skirmishes between the Federal Army and the Slovenian Territorial Defense. In negotiations, an EC delegation reached a provisional agreement on the cessation of the fire and the suspension of the declaration of independence for an initial three months. The EC imposed on July 5, an arms embargo against Yugoslavia. From mid-July, incidents between the Serbian and Croatian conflict parties in Croatia escalated into open war . Top representatives of the republics of Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina submitted a proposal on August 12 to transform Yugoslavia into a federation of republics and peoples with equal rights . Yugoslavia should be preserved as a state.

In August and September there were violent clashes between Serbs and Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina for the first time. After military service was extended on August 27, soldiers' mothers stormed the Bosnian parliament to demand the discharge of their sons from the army. A peace conference with the Yugoslav federal government and all presidents of the republics began on September 7th in The Hague, chaired by Lord Carrington. Twelve days later, the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina decided not to provide any more soldiers for the federal army. This was supplemented on September 24th by the demand that the federal army should no longer move weapons or soldiers through the republic without the approval of the republic's government. The background to this demand was that Bosnia-Herzegovina had become the deployment area and logistical hinterland of the war against Croatia since July. One after the other, all regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina inhabited by Serbs declared their "autonomy" in mid to late September. It was a total of at least 40 percent of the country's area.

Civilian victim of the war in Sarajevo

The UN Security Council imposed on September 25, a "general and complete" the arms embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Yugoslavia. On October 3rd, the remaining State Presidency of Yugoslavia granted itself the right to make future decisions with a majority of the members present and at the same time took over “certain functions” of the Federal Parliament. The representatives of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia spoke of an “unconstitutional coup”. On October 15th, the Bosnian parliament passed a memorandum on the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina (although still within the Yugoslav state association). The Serbian MPs had previously left the meeting in protest. The Serbian government announced nine days later that it wanted to create a Yugoslavia including the “Serbian areas in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina”. Bosnian Serbs founded their own parliament . The Bosnian Serbs voted in a referendum on November 10th and 11th for a common state with Serbia, Montenegro and the Serbian Autonomous Province of Krajina . One day later, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Sarajevo for the peaceful coexistence of all three ethnic groups in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The leadership of the HDZ BiH under Mate Boban and Dario Kordić proclaimed the Croatian Herceg-Bosna Community (Hrvatska Zajednica Herceg-Bosna) as a separate "political, cultural and territorial unit" on the territory of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 18 . The EC conciliation commission stated in a report on December 7th that the multi-ethnic state of Yugoslavia was in the process of dissolution. It would now be up to the republics to find a new form of cohesion. The EC foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on December 16 adopted guidelines for the recognition of new states in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and a declaration on Yugoslavia. Any republics that applied by December 23, 1991 and accepted the EC terms would be recognized as independent states by January 15, 1992. Bosnia-Herzegovina applied for EC recognition on December 23rd.


Increasingly frequent destruction of civil objects

On January 9, the separate Serbian parliament in Bosnia proclaimed the Srpska Republika Bosna i Hercegovina , which constituted itself on February 28 as a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and claimed control over all Serb communities in Bosnia.

After the referendum on independence (February 29 / March 1), serious unrest broke out. A large part of the Serbian ethnic group boycotted the election; two thirds of all eligible voters and 99 percent of voters spoke out in favor of independence.

The EC and the USA responded with diplomatic recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina and hoped to prevent a major conflict in the Balkans. After the Yugoslav armed forces did not leave Bosnia, they were declared occupation forces by the Bosnian State Presidium in May.

In April, the fighting escalated between the Bosnian Serbs, led by Radovan Karadžić , and the Yugoslav People's Army on the one hand, and the Bosnian militia formed by Croats and Bosniaks on the other. The nearly four-year siege of Sarajevo began on the night of April 4th and 5th .

Heavy fighting broke out in the east and north-west of the country during April and May 1992. The army of the Bosnian Serbs occupied about 70% of the country during these three months and tried in part to expel the non-Serb population. This military success was primarily a result of the better armament and organizational structure of the Bosnian Serbs.

On April 27, Radovan Karadžić and the leader of the Bosnian Croats, Mate Boban , reached an agreement in Graz on the limitation of hostilities between Serbs and Croats for the purpose of partitioning Bosnia-Herzegovina.

A state of war was declared in Bosnia in June. The mandate of UNPROFOR , which was established in early 1992 to control the ceasefire in Croatia , was extended to include control of Sarajevo Airport . In the summer of 1992, the Serbian units began ethnic cleansing of the Bosniak population in parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Bosniak militia began ethnic cleansing in the Serb-populated areas. The first internment camps were set up.

The reporter Roy Gutman reported in the American newspaper Newsday on August 2 for the first time about mass murders in internment camps operated by Bosnian Serbs, in particular Omarska , Keraterm , Trnopolje , Manjača (all in the vicinity of the city of Prijedor). The spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross announced that all three parties to the conflict had set up internment camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croats and Bosniaks, for example, in Čelebići , Slavonski Brod and the Dretelj camp .

On the night of August 25th, the National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo was set on fire by the artillery of the Bosnian Serbs. 90% of the stock of one and a half to two million books burned. The ashes fell on the city for hours. The library was considered one of the best equipped in southern Europe.

In September, UNPROFOR's mandate was expanded again and now also included securing humanitarian supplies throughout Bosnia, but still ruled out military intervention. On October 9, the UN Security Council imposed a ban on military flights over Bosnia (UN Security Council Resolution 781)

Destroyed houses near the airport of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina

The fighting was mainly fought in areas with insecure populations, such as: B. in Doboj , Foča , Rogatica , Vlasenica , Bratunac , Zvornik , Prijedor , Sanski Most , Ključ , Brčko , Derventa , Modriča , Bosanska Krupa , Bosanski Brod , Bosanski Novi , Glamoč , Bosanski Petrovac , Bijeljina , Višegrad and parts of Sarajevo . So-called ethnic cleansing and massacres took place in these areas .

Almost all Bosniaks and Croats were expelled from some areas with a Serb majority, such as Banja Luka , Bosanska Dubica , Bosanska Gradiška , Bileća , Gacko , Han Pijesak , Kalinovik , Nevesinje , Trebinje , Rudo . Something similar happened in central Bosnia ( Sarajevo , Zenica , Maglaj , Zavidovići , Bugojno , Mostar , Konjic etc.), from where Serbs were expelled.

In the vicinity of the evictions in the municipality of Rudo, paramilitaries under the command of Milan Lukić kidnapped 16 Yugoslav citizens of Muslim nationality in Mioče between Sjeverin and Priboj on October 22, 1992 and later murdered them near Višegrad. It was the largest attack to date on nationals of neighboring countries in connection with the Bosnian war.


Burning parliament building in Sarajevo

At the beginning of January 1993 the two chairmen of the Geneva Yugoslavia Conference presented a constitutional framework for Bosnia and Herzegovina with an attached map ( Vance-Owen Plan ). According to the plan, Bosnia should become a decentralized state in which most of the government functions were carried out by 10 largely autonomous cantons. The highest state organ should be a presidency, which consisted of three representatives from each of the major ethnic groups. All parties to the conflict initially agreed, but raised objections to the boundaries between the individual provinces. At the end of January the negotiations were postponed without result.

Croatian associations meanwhile captured strategically important positions in Serbian-held territory of Croatia, such as Zemunik Airport near Zadar , the Maslenica Bridge and the Peruča Dam . Bosniak forces launched an offensive to cut the Pale - Belgrade connection . On January 8, Bosnian Deputy Prime Minister Hakija Turajlić was killed in Sarajevo. On that day, Bosnian Serbs stopped a UN convoy guarded by French soldiers on the way from the airport to the seat of government. After a French soldier opened the car door, Turajlić was shot dead in his armored car by a Serbian soldier at close range. The French soldiers neither returned fire nor called in nearby UN soldiers for reinforcements. The murder of Turajlić strained relations between the Bosnian government and UNPROFOR and subsequently caused the peace talks in Geneva to fail.

At the beginning of February the Croatian army expanded its operations to the hinterland of Split. Vance and Owen continued their diplomatic efforts to get all three parties to approve their plan. US Secretary of State Christopher considered tightening sanctions against Serbia and advocated military surveillance of the flight ban. Sarajevo City Council stopped the distribution of relief supplies to protest the starvation of the enclaves in eastern Bosnia. The UN Security Council decided to set up an international tribunal to prosecute persons responsible for serious violations of international human rights on the territory of the former Yugoslavia (resolution 808). On February 25, 1993, the new US President Clinton announced humanitarian aid for people in East Bosnia (dropping food and medicine for the trapped population). On March 28, 1993, US C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and French and German Transall C-160 transport aircraft began dropping relief supplies over eastern Bosnia from Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfurt am Main .

In March, Serb forces in eastern Bosnia carried out new mass expulsions. 20,000 people fled from Cerska to Tuzla. Further battles took place around Bratunac, Goražde and Srebrenica. Serbs took twelve British UN soldiers hostage near Konjević Polje. Bosnia-Herzegovina brought an action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for genocide before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović signed the Vance-Owen Plan. Thus only the Serb leader Radovan Karadžić rejected the overall plan.

Several armed clashes between Bosnian Croats and Bosniaks continued in central Bosnia until June. In and around Mostar there was also fierce fighting between Croats and Bosniaks for months.

On March 31, 1993, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 816. According to this, NATO warplanes in Operation Deny Flight enforced the ban on flights over Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had been in effect since October 9, 1992. The armed forces of the Bosnian Serbs isolated the eastern Bosnian city of Srebrenica . The UN Security Council declared the city a protection zone. The parliament of the Bosnian Serbs rejected the Vance-Owen Plan and described the proposed borders of the ten cantons as unacceptable. Izetbegović later withdrew his support for the plan. Croatian armed forces under Tihomir Blaškić attacked Bosniak communities in the central Bosnian Lašva Valley and displaced and murdered parts of the civilian population. The International Court of Justice asked the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to take action against the genocide. After months of fighting, the Bosniaks surrendered to the Serbian troops in Srebrenica. The UN refugee agency was preparing to evacuate 30,000 people.

In May , the UN Security Council declared Bihać , Goražde , Sarajevo, Srebrenica, Tuzla and Žepa to be protected areas. The UN refugee agency made serious allegations against the leadership of the Bosnian Croats for treating Bosniak civilians in a prison camp near Mostar.

Serbs and Croats intermittently joined forces against Bosniak forces in central Bosnia in July. At Gornji Vakuf and Bugojno, Bosniaks fought against Bosnian Croats.

On August 2, 1993, the North Atlantic Council decided to extend the measures taken as part of Operation Deny Flight to include air strikes, with the aim of protecting the civilian population against the prevailing oppression and violence.

The fragmentation of the warring factions continued in September of that year. There was fighting between Bosniaks and Croats at Gornji Vakuf and Kiseljak, and Serbs against Croats and Bosniaks in Mostar. Fikret Abdić proclaimed an autonomous Bosniak province north of Bihać, which was beyond the control of the government in Sarajevo. He was supported by red berets from the Serbian Interior Ministry. There was fighting between troops under Abdić and Bosnian government troops.

On November 9, the Old Bridge in Mostar was deliberately destroyed by shell fire. The first meeting of the ICTY took place in The Hague on November 17th .


An obsolete Serbian T-34 tank in February 1996

In February 1994 there was general mobilization in the Republika Srpska. In the Republic of Herceg-Bosna , the HVO was directly supported by the Croatian Army (HV) with around 4,000 soldiers from Croatia. 400 Russian UN soldiers arrived in Pale. On February 8, US F-16 fighter jets shot down four Serbian fighter jets that had disregarded the flight ban over Novi Travnik. The first aerial battles took place on February 28th. An early warning aircraft ( AWACS ) type Boeing E-3 C Sentry discovered the radar signatures of unknown and unauthorized aircraft south of the city of Banja Luka and showed two US F-16 fighter planes the way to the intruders, who successfully identified the aircraft as Serbian fighter planes and asked to turn off. When they started dropping bombs instead of following instructions, three of the six intruders were shot down by NATO planes. A second pair of F-16s shot down a fourth aircraft, the other two Serbs escaped and left the no-fly zone . However, just a few days later, on March 8, a Spanish CASA C 212 transport aircraft was shot at and had to make an emergency landing, injuring four people on board.

VRS troops entered the Sarajevo protection zone in March. British UN troops were shot at by Serbs in Žepče. French UN troops returned Serbian fire. The governments of Croatia (Franjo Tuđman) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Alija Izetbegović) signed the Washington Agreement establishing the Bosnian-Croatian Federation in Bosnia and Herzegovina to end the hostilities between Bosnian Croats and Bosniaks and to establish the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina . HVO and ARBiH withdrew heavy artillery from central Bosnia. At Maglaj (Bosniak enclave) there was fighting between British UN troops and Serbs.

On April 22nd, the decision was made, similar to Sarajevo, to establish protection zones around the cities of Bihać , Srebrenica , Tuzla and Žepa in case heavy weapons should be fired from there.

After an intensified Serbian offensive with armored forces on Goražde and a preceding ultimatum, NATO attacked ground targets for the first time. 58 UN military observers were detained by Serbs near Goražde and Banja Luka. The UN had rejected NATO air strikes.

During May there was fighting over Brčko, Bihać, Tuzla, Zavidovići, Doboj and Tesanj. In Bihać, the two Bosniak warring parties fought against each other. Fikret Abdić was supported by the artillery of the Krajina Serbs. Heavy artillery battles were fought around Gračanica, Gradačac and Doboj.

On August 5th, fighting again took place in the protection zone around Sarajevo. Despite the continued ban, the Bosnian Serbs had brought heavy weapons (including flak tanks ) into the region and stole them from UN camps, which were then destroyed by NATO aircraft (including the A-10 type ) or sent to the UN a short time later were returned. This was enough for the Serbs to withdraw their weapons. However, just under a month later, a French troop transport was attacked again near Sarajevo, and a subsequent air attack destroyed a Serbian tank within the protection zone. Velika Kladuša was conquered by Bosniak troops. Serbs drove hundreds of Bosniaks from Bijeljina.

In October, after victories over Abdić troops in western Bosnia, the Bosnian government army joined forces with Bosnian-Croatian units against Serb forces around Bihać. Three Danish tanks opened fire on Serbian tanks near Gradačac. The UN and NATO agreed on conditions for air strikes.

Airfields were also under fire in November. For example, the Serbian-held Udbina airport in Croatia was destroyed by 30 NATO planes within four hours on November 21 after attacks on UNPROFOR troops near Bihać were carried out from there. UN fire fighters were also shot at with machine guns in Sarajevo. French troops responded with shots in the Serb-controlled Grbavica district in Sarajevo. Troops from the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia (Abdić troops) moved into Velika Kladuša. VRS units again took UN personnel hostage. On November 23, for the first time in the course of the war, a NATO AWACS was illuminated by the radar of anti-aircraft missiles , so that escorts destroyed the Otoka and Dvor radar stations with anti-radar missiles of the type AGM-88 HARM .

In December, it emerged that UN staff were being used by Serbs as human shields against NATO attacks. Tuzla continued to be attacked by Serbian artillery.


In January 1995, fighting increased in the Bihać region. VRS troops used Croatians and Bosniaks as human shields in various places . Bosnian government troops blocked a thousand UN soldiers near Tuzla. ARBiH artillery shelled Donji Vakuf . Abdić troops and Serbs advanced into the area south of Velika Kladuša, Serbian tanks across Croatian territory to Bihać. 75 UN soldiers of the 3rd Dutch Airmobile Battalion were detained by Serb forces after Srebrenica was captured.

Snipers were still active in Sarajevo in March. Skirmishes took place around Travnik, Priboj, Jablanica and Lukavica. The ARBiH moved into the area around Stolice. UN reports found systematic rape. At Tuzla there was a Bosniak offensive. Dutch UN soldiers were killed by artillery fire near Majevac.

The Bosniak enclave of Bihać was repeatedly attacked by Serbs in April. Serbs controlled the Vlašić mountain near Travnik and the access to Donji Vakuf and Jajce . NATO showed air presence over Sarajevo and Goražde. Bosnian Serbs expelled Bosniaks from their homeland in northeastern Bosnia. ARBiH gained land south of Bihać in the direction of Kulen Vakuf . Heavy fighting took place near Brčko.

In May, the Croatian military operation Bljesak ( Blitz ) began air strikes on the main connection across the Sava between Croatia and Bosnia. Units of the Bosnian Serbs transported heavy weapons from a UN weapons depot. The UN command demanded that the weapons be returned immediately. The set deadline was ignored by the Serbs. NATO launched air strikes on Serbian positions near Pale. As a result, at the end of May, Bosnian Serbs took more than 300 foreign hostages, some of them chained to tactical positions and displayed. From the Serbian side, the water, electricity and gas supplies to Sarajevo were cut. British, French and US naval units were stationed in the Adriatic.

On June 2, 1995, the NATO forces lost an F-16 over western Bosnia, the whereabouts of the pilot Scott O'Grady was initially unclear. However, he was rescued by US marines on June 9th .

In June, the EU and NATO decided to set up a Rapid Reaction Force ( Rapid Reaction Force ). The fighting for Sarajevo increased. 388 hostages of the Serbian forces were released. Bosnian government troops blocked 600 Canadian UN soldiers in Visoko.

In July, the Serbian troops again attacked the city of Srebrenica, which had been besieged for 3 years and located in the UN protection zone. The entire Muslim population of Srebrenica and Potočari was singled out and either deported by bus (female residents and children) or killed (mostly male population) if they could not escape. Under the eyes of mostly Dutch UN soldiers , they carried out a massacre with 6,975 deaths, mostly male. On July 14th, the UN soldiers did not discover a living Bosniak while exploring the city of Srebrenica. Previously, 50,000 to 60,000 people lived in the place overcrowded with refugees.

The UN protection zone Žepa was also affected by a major Serbian attack; Ukrainian UN soldiers were taken hostage there. The city fell on July 25th. In the west of Bihać, Bosnian and Krajina Serbs won large areas. Croatia sent several thousand HV soldiers to Bosnia.

US Air Force
F-16 during " Deliberate Force "

In July and August, NATO flew further attacks on targets identified by the UN troops, including on ground targets near Srebrenica on July 11 and on radar and SAM (surface-to-air missile) positions near Knin and Udbina on August 4th.

In August, the AGM started the military operation Oluja ( storm ) against the Republika Srpska Krajina . The siege of the enclave of Bihać ended just before a humanitarian catastrophe. On August 4, 1995, Milan Martić ordered the evacuation of the Serbian population from the areas of the RSK by the Serbian Ministry of Defense. Between 150,000–200,000 Serbs fled to Banja Luka and Vojvodina . Units of the ARBiH and the HVO moved to Croatia to support the HV. Serbs expelled Bosnian Croats from Banja Luka. The Markale market in Sarajevo was shelled with grenades on August 28, killing 37 people. The guilt for the massacre was never cleared up. The then UNPROFOR commander for Bosnia, General Rupert Smith, stated in his report to the UN Security Council that the grenades had undoubtedly been fired from areas held by the VRS . In response, NATO attacked Serbian positions, ammunition factories and depots from the air on August 30 ( Operation Deliberate Force ). NATO air strikes have also been carried out at Tuzla, Goražde, Stolice, on Majevica Mountain and near Mostar. Eight nations took part in the air operation and by September 14, 1995 they had flown over 3,500 sorties. US warships fired 13 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles and destroyed the headquarters of the Bosnian Serb Army near Banja Luka . The Rapid Reaction Force shelled Serbian positions with artillery. On August 30, 1995, a French Dassault Mirage 2000K fighter aircraft near Pale was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile and the pilots saved themselves. During the NATO air strikes 1,026 bombs were dropped and 386 enemy targets were attacked.

The air- and sea-based shelling u. a. of Bosnian-Serbian air defense positions and military infrastructure by NATO forces continued in September until the Serbian withdrawal from the security zone around Sarajevo. Croatian troops under General Ante Gotovina took Donji Vakuf, Jajce, Šipovo and Mrkonjić Grad , whereupon around 40,000 people fled from these cities to Banja Luka. Serbian counter-attacks hit Prijedor and Sanski Most.

The HV, HVO and ARBiH advanced towards Banja Luka in October. The Serbian Volunteer Guard expelled several thousand Bosniaks and Croats from Prijedor and Bosanski Novi. The ARBiH retook Sanski Most and attacked Prijedor. 40,000 Serbs were expelled and some of the refugees were shot at with artillery. As a result, Croatians and Bosniaks were again expelled from Banja Luka. 60,000 people (including refugees from Žepa and Srebrenica) were trapped in the besieged Goražde.

On November 21, 1995, the war ended with the adoption of the Dayton Treaty . The agreement was formally signed in Paris on December 14th.

As of December, the UNPROFOR blue helmets were replaced by an Implementation Force (IFOR) under the command of NATO.

Development after the end of the war

On February 29, 1996, the almost four-year siege of Sarajevo by Serbian troops officially ended . After fulfilling its mandate, the IFOR was replaced by the Stabilization Force (SFOR).

In 2004 the European Union Force (EUFOR / ALTHEA) replaced the NATO-led SFOR under the leadership of the European Union.

Casualty numbers

Minefields in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina after the wars of the 1990s

According to earlier estimates, the Bosnian war claimed between 200,000 and 300,000 deaths, although all warring parties tended to exaggerate, especially during the conflict, which UN observers openly criticized.

The Bosnian investigation and documentation center IDC determined the number of 97,207 deaths in 2007.

This number could increase by about 10,000 as the research continues. 60 percent of the victims were reportedly soldiers, 40 percent civilians. 65 percent of the soldiers killed were Bosniaks, 25 percent Serbs and eight percent Croatians. In contrast, 83 percent of the civilians killed were Bosniaks, ten percent Serbs, and five percent Croatians. Ewa Tabeu from the demographic department at the Hague War Crimes Tribunal emphasized that these are minimal assumptions.

About 2.2 million people fled or were displaced, both within the country and abroad. Only a fraction of the refugees and displaced persons have returned to this day.

Even more than twenty years after the end of the war, more people die almost every year as a result of the war. Since 1996, over 600 people have been killed in mine explosions and another 1,100 have been injured.

Response from the international community

International criticism of the UN

There was fierce international criticism after the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995. The United Nations had failed to protect the civilian population through the UNPROFOR mission. On July 11, 1995, Srebrenica was captured by Serbian troops under the command of General Ratko Mladić. The UN protection forces offered no resistance. The storming of the city was followed by the worst massacre of the Bosnian War, in which it is believed that up to 8,000 Bosniaks were murdered.

In November 2007 a Dutch court questioned the immunity of the United Nations and approved a trial against the world organization. The lawsuit was filed in June by an association of the survivors of victims of the Srebrenica massacre. You accuse the world organization of failing to prevent the massacre carried out by Bosnian Serb troops in the Bosniak enclave in the summer of 1995. The lawsuit also relates to the Netherlands. Your UN soldiers had left the Bosniak enclave, which had the status of a UN protected zone, to the Bosnian Serb troops without resistance. After conquering the small town in eastern Bosnia , they murdered around 8,000 Bosniaks , mostly men and boys.

However, in its ruling on July 10, 2008, the court granted immunity to the United Nations . This protection against any judicial prosecution results from international law provisions. State courts could therefore not deal with claims against the UN. The lawyers of the Victims Rights Organization Mothers of Srebrenica announced an appeal against the decision. In September 2008, the court denied another survivors' complaint against the Dutch state. He could not be sued for acts that Dutch soldiers committed or omitted when they were under UN orders. The surviving dependents have also announced a revision of this judgment .

In February 2007, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) classified the Srebrenica massacre as genocide in its decision on Bosnia's claim for damages against Serbia. The judgment of the ICJ at the end of February 2007 referred to Serbia as one of the legal successors of Yugoslavia: the court came to the conclusion that Serbia was not directly responsible for the crimes committed during the Bosnian war. For this reason, it cannot be used to pay compensation.

In its assessment of the massacre as genocide, the court upheld the war crimes tribunal's judgments in this regard. According to the judgment of the Court of Justice, Serbia must also accept indirect joint responsibility for the events because it did not use all of its options to prevent war crimes and genocide. In the Balkans, reactions to the verdict varied, particularly to the decision that, with the exception of the Srebrenica massacre, there was no case of genocide.

War crimes

"Ethnic Cleansing"

Burial of 505 identified victims of the Srebrenica massacre

All three parties in the war committed ethnic cleansing and war crimes to varying degrees. The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur , Tadeusz Mazowiecki , estimated that Serbian troops had committed 80% of all war crimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The CIA claimed in a secret report published by the New York Times on March 9, 1995 that the Serbian side had committed 90% of the murders.

Canadian General David Fraser, who served as UNPROFOR's deputy commander during the war, told the war crimes tribunal in 2007 that Bosnian units, presumably mujahideen , had deliberately killed Bosnians in order to get media attention. Likewise, the French General Philippe Morillon , UNPROFOR commander from 1992 to 1993, made negative comments about the willingness of the Bosnian army to accept civilian losses in order to gain media interest. From 1992 onwards, Bosnian Muslim units also carried out numerous attacks on the population of the Serbian villages around Sarajevo, in which, depending on the source, around 1,000–3,000 Serbs died, often as a result of torture and mistreatment.

Orthodox cemetery for soldiers and civilian war victims in front of abandoned houses in Bratunac

So-called ethnic cleansing was particularly pronounced in the territory of the Republika Srpska , since the proclaimed state territory included many areas in which the Serbs were initially only a minority (e.g. Zvornik , Foča , Prijedor etc.). Forced evictions and murders of the respective other ethnic group, the looting and destruction of their property as well as the destruction primarily of mosques (a total of 917 objects of the Islamic religious community), churches (a total of 311 objects of the Catholic Church, 34 objects of the Orthodox Church and 7th Objects of the Jewish community), cemeteries and historical cultural assets were a particularly noticeable phenomenon of this war.

About half of the state's population has been forced to leave their previous places of residence. Many residents still live in third countries.

The largest of these ethnic cleansing in one place took place in Srebrenica . The Srebrenica massacre , in which, according to various sources, up to 8,000 people (almost exclusively boys and men) were killed, was classified as genocide by UN courts .

POW camp

All warring parties maintained prison camps in the war zone, and their inmates were forced to work on the front, among other things. In these camps there were massive violations of the Geneva Conventions ; many prisoners were civilians. An association of camp inmates estimates the total number of those murdered in the camps at 30,000. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, 652 former prisons and camps have been registered so far after the war. Well-known camps are: Manjača , Omarska , Trnopolje , Keraterm , Luka Brčko, Batković, Dretelj , Heliodrom, Gabela, Drmaljevo, KDP Foča, Sušica-Vlasenica, Kula-Sarajevo, Žepče.

Mass rapes

In the course of the Bosnian-Serb warfare, there was systematic mass rape , of which mostly Bosniak women fell victim. Due to the shame of the victims and the difficulty of a comprehensive survey of the victims, precise information is not possible. The actual number of victims is therefore still the subject of controversy. It is also unclear to what extent members of the regular army or those of unauthorized paramilitary groups were raped.

The rapes were aimed at the psychological destruction of Bosnian women and men and their families. In a 2009 report , Amnesty International recalled that only 12 war criminals have so far been tried for rape offenses and sentenced to imprisonment.

In 2015 the women's rights organization medica mondiale e. V. a study on the long-term consequences of war rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Psychological stress, gynecological complaints and an overall alarming health situation still shape the everyday life of the women surveyed.

Proceedings before the International Court of Justice

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague sentenced numerous people involved in the Bosnian war until 2017.

In 1993, Bosnia-Herzegovina filed a lawsuit against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in order to find the background and mastermind of the war and to demand possible compensation payments. According to the judgment of February 2007, Serbia (as the legal successor of Yugoslavia) has no direct guilt for the war; but the judgment also states that Serbia has done too little to prevent the genocide of the Bosniaks.

Consequences of war

Destroyed residential buildings above the Grbavica district from the time of the siege of Sarajevo , with the parliament building in the background
Verminter mountainside above Turbe

The economic effects of the war were devastating; no country in Europe has experienced such an economic disaster since World War II. Economic output fell by almost 75% between 1991 and 1995; in 1993 it was only 12% of the pre-war level. The World Bank has estimated the considerable damage to homes, industrial facilities and infrastructure at USD 15.2 billion, the Bosnian government is even assuming up to USD 45 billion. 45% of the industrial facilities, a third of the roads, two thirds of the rails and half of the telephone and electricity networks were destroyed. Around one million people had fled by the end of the war, 70% of the population was dependent on humanitarian aid.

In spring 2012, numerous media reported on the situation in Bosnia on the occasion of the 20th anniversary (beginning of the war, beginning of the siege of Sarajevo). Even 20 years after the war began, the consequences can still be felt. The ethnic groups of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats live largely separated today. An example of this segregation is z. B. the concept of two schools under one roof . The economy is still down. Furthermore, 2.3% of the country's area is polluted by landmines and is consequently inaccessible. Every year between three and nine people die in mine accidents.

Angelina Jolie , American actress and director, addressed the atrocities of war in 1992 in her film In the Land of Blood and Honey in 2011/12 .

Artistic reception



The writer Saša Stanišić, who was born in Višegrad, fled Bosnia-Herzegovina with his family in 1992 when Serbian troops were besieging his hometown. He processed his experiences in the book How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone , for which he was nominated for the 2006 German Book Prize. The issue of "war in Bosnia-Herzegovina" grabbed Stanisic in his 2019 awarded the German Book Prize book of origin again.

The Austrian mercenary Wolfgang Niederreiter describes his experiences on the part of the Croatians in Bosnia in the book I'm going to play Rambo now . During his stay, murders and war crimes occurred in his unit, which eventually led him to leave the country disaffected.


The concept album Dead Winter Dead by the band Savatage is about the Bosnian war and especially the siege of Sarajevo . Also dealing with the subject are the song Watching You Fall (on the album Handful of Rain ) by the same band, Blood on the World's Hands (on the album The X Factor ) by Iron Maiden and Bosnia on the album To the Faithful Departed by The Cranberries . The song Miss Sarajevo , sung by Bono and Luciano Pavarotti, is also known . In addition, the Dutch composer Jan de Haan wrote a piece about the massacres entitled Banja Luka .


The American author Eve Ensler ( Die Vagina-Monologe ) dedicated the play Necessary Targets: A Story of Women and War to war-traumatized Bosnian women in 1996 , in which two New York therapists visit a refugee camp in Bosnia and speak to women who have been through events following the were severely mentally damaged during military conflicts. The play was preceded by a visit by the author to the former war zone.


In Germany, the Center for Political Beauty took up the war in Bosnia in several actions. So u. a. in rescue work on Lethe , where the political incapacity of the UN crisis team was discussed.


  • 1995, Fratricidal War - The Struggle for Tito's Legacy
  • 1994, Bosnia, War in Europe - Images by Wolfgang Bellwinkel and Peter Maria Schäfer
  • 2008, Blood and Honey, Photo Documentary by Ron Haviv, War Photo Limited, Dubrovnik
  • 2018, Scream for me, Sarajevo


  • Dunja Melčić (ed.): The Yugoslavia War: Handbook on Prehistory, Course and Consequences . 2nd updated and expanded edition. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2007, ISBN 978-3-531-33219-2 .
  • Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] - Office of Russian and European Analysis (ed.): Balkan Battlegrounds: A Military History of the Yugoslav Conflict . Volumes I – II (2002, 2003). Washington DC.
  • Steven W. Sowards: Modern History of the Balkans. The Balkans in the age of nationalism. BoD 2004, ISBN 3-8334-0977-0 .
  • Sonia Lucarelli: Europe and the Breakup of Yugoslavia. Kluwer Law International, The Hague 2000.
  • Eric A. Witte: The role of the United States in the Yugoslavia conflict and the scope of foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany (1990–1996). in: Communications No. 32, March 2000 of the Eastern European Institute, Munich.
  • Roy Gutman, David Rieff (eds.): Crimes of war - what the public should know. 1999, ISBN 0-393-31914-8 .
  • Hajo Funke , Alexander Rhotert: Under our eyes. Ethnic Purity: The Politics of the Milosevic Regime and the Role of the West. Verlag Das Arabische Buch, undated 1999, ISBN 3-86093-219-5 .
  • James Gow: Triumph of the Lack of Will. International Diplomacy and the Yugoslav War. Hurst & Company, London 1997.
  • Jane MO Sharp: Honest Broker or Perfidious Albion? British Policy in Former Yugoslavia. Institute for Public Policy Research IPPR, London 1997.
  • Reneo Lukic, Allen Lynch: Europe from the Balkans to the Urals. The Disintegration of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1996.
  • Hanns W. Maull: Germany and the Yugoslav Crisis. In: Survival. Volume 37, No. 4, Winter 1995-1996, pp. 99-130.
  • Laura Silber, Allan Little: Fratricidal War: The Battle for Tito's Legacy . Styria, 1995, ISBN 3-222-12361-6 .

Web links

Commons : Bosnian War  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sabrina P. Ramet: Central and Southeast European Politics Since 1989 . Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 130 ( ).
  2. ^ John K. Cox: The History of Serbia . Greenwood Press, 2002, pp. 150 ( ).
  3. Ante Čuvalo: The A to Z of Bosnia and Herzegovina . Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2007, p. 13 ( ).
  4. a b c Rezultati istraživanja "Ljudski gubici '91 -'95" . Research and Documentation Center Sarajevo. Archived from the original on December 3, 2010. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  5. Foreign Office : Bosnia and Herzegovina. Independence . (Status: March 2018), accessed on April 3, 2019.
  6. ^ Frank Hoffmeister, Arno Weckbecker: The development of the political parties in the former Yugoslavia . Südost-Institut Oldenbourg, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-486-56336-X , p. 164/165 .
  7. ^ Susan L. Woodward: Balkan Tragedy - Chaos and Dissolution after the Cold War . The Brookings Institution, Washington 1995.
  8. findings of Istraživačko dokumentacioni centar ( Memento of 20 July 2012 at the Internet Archive ), Sarajevo
  9. Figures from Borba of January 13, 1992, data from the Federal Statistical Office before the start of the war
  10. ^ Marie-Janine Calic : War and Peace in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Suhrkamp 1996, ISBN 3-518-11943-5 , p. 85.
  11. Zeljko Brkic: Economic causes of the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the transformation process in Croatia from 1990 to 2000. (PDF; 498 kB) University of Trier, 2001, accessed on April 1, 2010 .
  12. ^ Noel Malcolm: History of Bosnia . S. Fischer, Frankfurt / Main 1996, ISBN 3-10-029202-2 .
  13. a b Viktor Meier: How Yugoslavia was gambled away . In: Beck's series . 2nd Edition. tape 1141 . Beck, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-406-39241-5 .
  14. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe: The Referendum on Independence in Bosnia-Herzegovina February 29-March 1, 1992 ( Memento of March 28, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Holm Sundhaussen gives in Yugoslavia and its successor states 1943–2011 , Vienna 2014 slightly different figures: participation 63.04%, around 94% for independence, corresponding to 62.68% of all eligible voters
  15. ^ A b Marie-Janine Calic : War and Peace in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Suhrkamp, ​​1996, ISBN 3-518-11943-5 , p. 99
  16. Ali M. Koknar: The contract Niki: Russian mercenaries at war in the Balkans. Bosnian Institute, July 14, 2003
  17. Helena Smith: Greece faces shame of role in Serb massacre. In: The Observer , January 5, 2003
  18. Playing with death . In: Der Spiegel . No. 33 , 1993, pp. 112 ff . ( online ).
  19. ^ A killing like in Sarajevo . In: Der Spiegel . No. 39 , 1992, pp. 246 ff . ( online ).
  20. ^ Marie-Janine Calic : War and Peace in Bosnia-Hercegovina . Suhrkamp, ​​1996, ISBN 3-518-11943-5 , pp. 100 .
  21. ^ A b Renate Flottau: White Al Qaeda in Bosnia: "Chop up with chainsaws". In: 2006, accessed January 16, 2014 .
  22. ^ Erich Rathfelder: intersection Sarajevo - Bosnia and Herzegovina ten years after Dayton. P. 117
  23. Erich Rathfelder: Intersection Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina ten years after Dayton , p. 119
  24. a b RESOLUTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL 1991 , accessed on April 16, 2019, p. 42 f
  25. ^ A b Richard J. Aldrich: America used Islamists to arm the Bosnian Muslims . In: The Guardian . April 21, 2002 ( ).
  26. John Pomfret: Officials blame US for Bosnia war. In: The Washington Post. April 30, 1994.
  27. ^ Marie-Janine Calic : War and Peace in Bosnia-Hercegovina . Suhrkamp, ​​1996, ISBN 3-518-11943-5 , pp. 101 .
  28. a b c d e Knut Mellenthin: The Road to Civil War - A Chronology. July 7, 1993. Retrieved December 19, 2009 .
  29. a b c d e f g h Gerhard Meder, Michael Reimann: Chronicle of the Bosnian conflict. Archived from the original on October 9, 2010 ; Retrieved December 19, 2009 .
  30. a b c d Marc Muller: Chronology of the wars in the Balkans . In: Beyond violence. Problems of Peace , 1–2 / 1996
  31. ^ Karlheinz Koppe: On the history, outbreak and course of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia . In: Justitia et Pax , ARB 66, 1993
  32. RESOLUTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL 1992 , accessed on April 16, 2019, p. 29 f
  33. Article in Time magazine
  34. St. Gallen News
  35. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Agilolf Keßelring (Ed., On behalf of the Military History Research Office ): Guide to History: Bosnia-Herzegovina , Paderborn 2005, ISBN 3-506-72976-4
  36. Urs A Müller-Lhotska, Chronology of the history of the Balkans with special consideration of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia
  37. Time magazine
  38. ^ ICTY indictment against Ratko Mladić ( Memento from June 21, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  39. Canadian News
  40. File: Martic-order1995.jpg
  41. Public Statement Croatia: Operation "Storm" - still no justice ten years on . Amnesty International
  42. Evicted Serbs remember Storm . BBC News, Aug 5, 2005
  43. Croatia marks Storm anniversary . BBC News, Aug 5, 2005
  44. John Pomfret: Officials blame US for Bosnia war. In: Washington Post , April 30, 1994
  45. Article from the Washington Post . In:
  46. Nataša Krsman: U BiH stradalo 97,207 ljudi ( Memento of 28 September 2007 at the Internet Archive )
  47. Net Tribune ( Memento of October 9, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  48. The Curse of Dayton . In: Der Spiegel . No. 45 , 2006, p. 134 ( online ).
  49. Pomoć žrtvama mina . BHMAC; accessed on March 22, 2017.
  50. ( Memento of 22 November 2007 at the Internet Archive ) Trial watch
  51. Genocide lawsuit against UN dismissed. In: Deutsche Welle , July 10, 2008
  52. Karen Kleinwort: Srebrenica survivors fail with lawsuit. In: , September 11, 2008.
  53. Srebrenica: Dutch court approved trial against UNO. In:
  54. Decision of the International Court of Justice in the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina ./. Serbia ( Memento from May 17, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  55. ^ Decision in the genocide trial against Serbia (PDF; 94 kB), short report by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung from February 2007
  56. Genocide in Srebrenica. In: Zeit online , February 26, 2007
  58. , p. 1779.
  59. , p. 1870.
  60. ( September 30, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive )
  61. Robert L.Rothstein: After the Peace: Resistance and Reconciliation . 1999, pp. 176, 188
  63. ^ Cees Wiebes: Intelligence and the war in Bosnia: 1992-1995 (Studies in Intelligence History). Lit Verlag, p. 208.
  64. ^ The Research and Documentation Center (RDC) ( Memento from February 10, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  65. Unless otherwise stated, the statements in this article are based on the first instance court ruling of the UN war crimes tribunal against Radislav Krstić, the trial protocols available in German (see Bogoeva and Fetscher), the UN report on Srebrenica from 1999, the book of D. Rohde (who received the Pulitzer Prize for his reports on the subject) and in part also on the NIOD investigation.
  66. - The Association of Camp inmates of Bosnia-Herzegovina ( Memento from January 17, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  67. Alexandra Stiglmayer: mass rape. War on women. ISBN 3-926023-41-4 , pp. 106-110.
  69. M. Wesler: In the end you only wish for death. The mass rapes in the war in the Balkans. Pp. 65-90.
  70. Amnesty International: War criminals from the Bosnian war still with impunity . ( Memento from March 9, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) In: NRW-Nachrichten online , October 13, 2009.
  71. "We are still alive. We have been injured, but we are brave and strong. ”A study on the long-term effects of war rape and coping strategies of survivors in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Summary. Cologne. (PDF) Medica Zenica & medica mondiale e. V. (Ed.), 2014, accessed on June 2, 2015; doi: 10.15498 / 89451.2
  73. Dunja Melčić (ed.): The Yugoslavia War. Prehistory, course and consequences manual. Westdeutscher Verlag, 1999, ISBN 3-531-13219-9 , pp. 517-521.
  74. Wei Ding, Christine Wallich: Bosnia and Herzegovina: toward economic recovery. World Bank, 1996, ISBN 0-8213-3673-8 , p. 10.
  75. ^ Cem Özdemir : Europe lives or dies in Sarajevo. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , No. 81/2012, p. 4 and 7th
  76. Report of the Mine Action Center for 2014 ( Memento of the original from March 30, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  77. ^ Sara Constantakis: Drama for students. Volume 23: presenting analysis, context and criticism on commonly studied dramas . Thomson Gale, Detroit, Michigan 2006, ISBN 1-4144-1036-0 .
  78. was photo limited. In: Retrieved January 16, 2014 .