The war in Bosnia had not yet begun when American Ron Haviv took this picture of a Serb kicking a Muslim woman who had been shot by Serb forces. Haviv had gained access to the Tigers, a brutal nationalist militia that had warned him not to photograph any killings. But Haviv was determined to document the cruelty he was witnessing and, in a split second, decided to risk it. TIME published the photo a week later, and the image of casual hatred ignited broad debate over the international response to the worsening conflict.
Almostpeople lost their lives. Before his assassination inArkan was indicted for crimes against humanity. The Tigers were responsible for a large part of the ethnic cleansing and destruction that took place during the first six months of the war, and their leader, Arkan, was later indicted on war crimes by the Hague tribunal.
Ziberi was later killed, buried in a mass grave and eventually identified by his DNA and buried by his family. Arkan's Tigers were responsible for a large part of the ethnic cleansing that occurred at the beginning of the war in Bosnia.
Explore more iconic images that changed the world. Bosnia Explore the Photograph. Click to Expand. Previous photograph. Bosnia Ron Haviv Next photograph. Previous Next Close. Visit the Shop.This month marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Bosnian War, a long, complex, and ugly conflict that followed the fall of communism in Europe. InBosnia and Herzegovina joined several republics of the former Yugoslavia and declared independence, which triggered a civil war that lasted four years.
The Bosnian Serbs, well-armed and backed by neighboring Serbia, laid siege to the city of Sarajevo in early April They targeted mainly the Muslim population but killed many other Bosnian Serbs as well as Croats with rocket, mortar, and sniper attacks that went on for 44 months.
As shells fell on the Bosnian capital, nationalist Croat and Serb forces carried out horrific "ethnic cleansing" attacks across the countryside. Finally, inUN air strikes and United Nations sanctions helped bring all parties to a peace agreement. Estimates of the war's fatalities vary widely, ranging from 90, toTo date, more than 70 men involved have been convicted of war crimes by the UN.
A former sniper position on the slopes of mount Trebevic gives a view of Bosnian capital Sarajevo, seen on April 2, A Bosnian special forces soldier returns fire in downtown Sarajevo as he and civilians come under fire from Serbian snipers, on April 6, The Serbs were shooting from the roof of a hotel at a peace demonstration of some of 30, people as fighting between Bosnian and Serb fighters escalated in the capital of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
A Serbian soldier takes cover by a burning house in the village of Gorica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, on October 12, Smoke and flames rise from houses set on fire by heavy fighting between Bosnian Serbs and Muslims in the village of Ljuta on Mount Igman some 40km southwest from the besieged Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, on July 22, On her way home in afternoon on Thursday, April 8, in Sarajevo, a Bosnian woman rushes down an empty sidewalk past war-destroyed shops in one of the worst sections of the so-called "Sniper Alley.
French troops of the United Nations patrol in front of the destroyed mosque of Ahinici, near Vitez, northwest of Sarajevo, on April 27, This Muslim town was destroyed during fighting between Croatian and Muslim forces in central Bosnia.
The "Momo" and "Uzeir" twin towers burn on Sniper Alley in downtown Sarajevo as heavy shelling and fighting raged throughout the Bosnian capital on June 08, A father's hands press against the window of a bus carrying his tearful son and wife to safety from the besieged city of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War on November 10, A Muslim militiaman looks for snipers during a battle with the Yugoslav federal army in Central Sarajevo on Saturday, May 2, This image may contain graphic or objectionable content.
Dead and wounded people lie scattered outside Sarajevo's indoor market after a mortar shell exploded outside the entrance to the building, on August 28, An artillery shell killed at least 32 and wounded more than 40 others. Bosnian Croat soldiers taken as prisoners pass a Bosnian Serb soldier after surrendering on the central Bosnian mountain of Vlasic June 8.
About 7, Croat civilians and some soldiers fled to Serb-held territories under heavy Muslim attack. A Serbian soldier beats a captured Muslim militiaman during an interrogation in the Bosnian town of Visegrad, miles southwest of Belgrade, on June 8, A woman, standing between markers of fresh graves in a Sarajevo cemetery, mourns over the grave of a dead relative in the early morning, on January 17, More people came to visit graves of friends and relatives as the dense fog protected them from sniper fire.
Seven-year-old Nermin Divovic lies mortally wounded in a pool of blood as unidentified American and British U. The boy was shot and killed by a sniper firing from an apartment building into the Sarajevo city center, along Sarajevo's notorious Sniper Alley. The U. A top sniper, codenamed "Arrow," loads her gun in a safe room in Sarajevo, Tuesday, June 30, The year old Serb who shoots for the Bosnian forces says she has lost count of the number of people she has killed, but that she finds it difficult to pull the trigger.
The former journalism student says most of her targets are other snipers on the Serbian side. Rockets explode on Sarajevo downtown center, closed to the Cathedral, on June 5, Heavy shelling and fighting raged throughout the Bosnian capital overnight.For over four years following the breakup of Yugoslavia and the onset of war, first in Croatia and then in Bosnia, the United States refused to take the lead in trying to end the violence and conflict.
One notable exception is Richard Holbrooke, who recounts his own crucial contribution to the negotiation of the Dayton Peace Accords in his book To End a War.
It was on the basis of that decision that Holbrooke subsequently undertook his negotiating effort. Why, when numerous previous attempts to get involved in Bosnia were half-hearted in execution and ended in failure? The answer is complex, involving explanations at two different levels. It was clear that events on the ground and decisions in allied capitals as well as on the Capitol Hill were forcing the administration to seek an alternative to muddling through.
Second, at the level of the policy-making process, the president encouraged his national security adviser and staff to develop a far-reaching and integrated strategy for Bosni a that abandoned the incremental approach of past efforts.
This process produced agreement on a bold new strategy designed to bring the Bosnia issue to a head inbefore presidential election politics would have a chance to intervene and instill a tendency to avoid the kind of risk-taking behavior necessary to resolve the Bosnia issue.
Based on new extensive research, including numerous interviews with key participants, it is now possible to begin filling in some of the critical details on how the administration arrived at its decision in August That shift stemmed from a decision, reached by the Bosnian Serb leadership in early March, that the fourth year of the war would be its last. The Bosnian Serb objective was clear: to conclude the war before the onset of the next winter. The strategy was simple, even if its execution was brazen.
Next, attention would shift to Bihac—a fourth, isolated enclave in north-western Bosnia—which would be taken over with assistance from Croatian Serb forces.
Finally, with the Muslims on the run, Sarajevo would become the grand prize, and its capture by the fall would effectively conclude the war.
Betrayal in Srebrenica As the Bosnian Serb strategy unfolded through the spring and into summer, the 20,strong U.
Protection Force in Bosnia confronted a fateful dilemma. But this would entail sacrificing the evenhandedness that is the hallmark of U. But this would effectively leave the Muslims to face the Bosnian Serb assault virtually unprotected.Start of War in Bosnia April 6th 1992
It repeatedly demanded that the U. Most European allies had a different view. Unlike the United States, many Europeans had placed their troops at risks by participating in the U. When limited air strikes in late May resulted in nearly peacekeepers being taken hostage, a consensus quickly emerged within the U. This sent the not-so-subtle message to the Bosnian Serbs that they were now free to pursue their preferred strategy. Ivo H. The Bosnian Serbs implemented their strategy with horrifying results.
In July, Serb forces turned their focus to Srebrenica, a small village near the eastern border with Serbia swollen with some 60, Muslim refugees. It was there that the then-U. I will never abandon you. Within 10 days, tens of thousands of Muslim refugees streamed into the Muslim-controlled city of Tuzla. Missing from the stream of refugees were more than 7, men of all ages, who had been executed in cold blood — mass murder on a scale not witnessed in Europe since the end of World War II.
Breaking Out of the Box By the end of July the United States and its allies confronted a situation that required concerted action. The strategy of muddling through that had characterized U. The president made clear to his senior advisers that he wanted to get out of the box in which U.The Bosnian War was incredibly brutal and impacted millions of lives.
10 Facts about Bosnian War
Below are 10 important Bosnian War facts: how it began, what happened and how it ended. Even today, as a result of these Bosnian War facts, the territory remains highly divided between two sections: Muslim-Croat and the Serbian Republic.
Both sections face a continuous fight against poverty, unemployment and ethnic discord. Photo: Flickr. Blog - Latest News. People wanted to see the end of communism, and various ethnic groups were vying for control of the area. Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence on March 3, It was recognized by the U. The Serbian paramilitary forces began the siege by holding positions inside the city and in the hills surrounding Sarajevo.
By the first week of May, the Serbs had surrounded the whole city.
War crimes and trials
This cut Sarajevo off from food, medicine, water, electricity, fuel and other supplies. The Serbs began firing on Sarajevo with advanced artillery but faced heavy defense from those mobilized with weapons within the city. Because the Serbs were facing opposition, they began to terrorize the city with intense gunfire and snipers.
The Siege of Sarajevo lasted for 47 months and remains the longest siege in modern history. With Sarajevo, as well as several other cities isolated by force, the supply of food, utilities and communication became extremely limited and spread thin throughout the territory.
This caused many cases of malnutrition and many citizens lost up to 33 pounds while some others lost their lives due to lack of access to supplies. Bosnian Serbs began the ethnic cleansing of large areas occupied by non-Serbs, primarily Muslims.
The genocide destroyed entire villages and thousands of Bosnians were forced out of their homes and taken to detention camps where they were raped, tortured, deported or killed.
The Serbians used rape in the Bosnian War as a tactic to increase terror. One of the most lethal Bosnian War facts came when Gen. The U. The Bosnian government was unable to access updated and necessary weaponry that the Serbian and Croatian armies maintained due to an international arms embargo imposed throughout the Bosnian War. Although the U. Protection Force occasionally sent troops to supervise humanitarian aid and protect declared safe areas, the U. Throughout the Bosnian War, more thanpeople lost their lives and many more were displaced from their homes.Leighton W.
Consequently, it represented mainly the Bosnian Muslims. Following a number of violent incidents in earlythe war is commonly viewed as having started on 6 April The war ended on 14 December The main belligerents were the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and those of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb entities within Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Herzeg-Bosniawhich were led and supplied by Serbia and Croatiarespectively.
The war was part of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Following the Slovenian and Croatian secessions from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia inthe multi-ethnic Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina — which was inhabited by mainly Muslim Bosniaks 44 percentas well as Orthodox Serbs This was rejected by the political representatives of the Bosnian Serbs, who had boycotted the referendum.
Tensions between Croats and Bosniaks increased throughout lateresulting in the Croat—Bosniak War that escalated in early Events such as the Siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre later became iconic of the conflict. The Serbs, although initially militarily superior due to the weapons and resources provided by the JNA, eventually lost momentum as the Bosniaks and Croats allied themselves against the Republika Srpska in with the creation of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina following the Washington agreement.
Pakistan defied the UN 's ban on supply of arms and airlifted missiles to the Bosnian Muslims, while after the Srebrenica and Markale massacres, NATO intervened in with Operation Deliberate Force targeting the positions of the Army of the Republika Srpska, which proved key in ending the war.
Peace negotiations were held in Dayton, Ohio and were finalised on 21 November By earlythe International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had convicted 45 Serbs, 12 Croats and 4 Bosniaks of war crimes in connection with the war in Bosnia.
There is debate over the start date of the Bosnian War. Serbs consider the Sarajevo wedding shootingwhen a groom's father was killed on the second day of the Bosnian independence referendum1 Marchto have been the first victim of the war. On April 5, when a huge crowd approached a barricade, a demonstrator was killed by Serb forces. The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina came about as a result of the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
A crisis emerged in Yugoslavia as a result of the weakening of the confederational system at the end of the Cold War. In Yugoslavia, the national communist partythe League of Communists of Yugoslaviawas losing its ideological potency.Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina a.
Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia up to Republika Srpska Yugoslav People's Army. Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina b. NATO bombing operations Leighton W. This was primarily because of the Washington Agreement. The Bosnian War was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1 March and 14 December The war involved several factions.
The main belligerents were the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and those of the Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats entities within Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Herzeg-Bosniawho were led and supplied by Serbia and Croatia respectively. The war came about as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Following the Slovenian and Croatian secessions from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia inthe multi-ethnic Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovinawhich was inhabited by Muslim Bosniaks 44 percentOrthodox Serbs 31 percent and Catholic Croats 17 percentpassed a referendum for independence on 29 February This was rejected by the political representatives of the Bosnian Serbs, who had boycotted the referendum and established their own republic.
The Croats also aimed at securing parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Croatian. Events such as the Siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre would become iconic of the conflict.
The Serbs, although initially superior due to the vast amount of weapons and resources provided by the JNA, eventually lost momentum as the Bosniaks and Croats allied themselves against the Republika Srpska in with the creation of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina following the Washington agreement.
Peace negotiations were held in Dayton, Ohio, and were finalized on 21 December The accords are now known as the Dayton Agreement. The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina came about as a result of the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Crisis emerged in Yugoslavia with the weakening of the Communist system at the end of the Cold War.
In Yugoslavia, the national Communist party, officially called the Alliance or League of Communists of Yugoslaviawas losing its ideological potency. Meanwhile nationalism, after violence broke out in Kosovo, experienced a renaissance in the s.
In Marchthe crisis in Yugoslavia deepened after the adoption of amendments to the Serbian Constitution that allowed the government of Serbia to impose dominance over the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina.Bosnian Warethnically rooted war —95 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a former republic of Yugoslavia with a multiethnic population comprising Bosniaks Bosnian MuslimsSerbsand Croats.
During the next 20 years the Serb and Croat populations fell in absolute terms as many Serbs and Croats emigrated.
CHRONOLOGY-What happened during the war in Bosnia?
In the census Muslims made up more than two-fifths of the Bosnian population, while Serbs made up slightly less than one-third and Croats one-sixth. From the mids the term Bosniak replaced Muslim as the name Bosnian Muslims use for themselves. In the s the rapid decline of the Yugoslav economy led to widespread public dissatisfaction with the political system.
That attitude, together with the manipulation of nationalist feelings by politicians, destabilized Yugoslav politics. Independent political parties appeared by In earlymultiparty elections were held in Slovenia and Croatia. When elections were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina in December, new parties representing the three national communities gained seats in rough proportion to their populations.
By then full-scale war had broken out in Croatia, and the breakup of Yugoslavia was under way. Most of the local Bosniak population was expelled from these areas, the first victims in the country of a process described as ethnic cleansing. Although Bosniaks were the primary victims and Serbs the primary perpetrators, Croats were also among the victims and perpetrators.
Within six weeks a coordinated offensive by the Yugoslav army, paramilitary groups, and local Bosnian Serb forces brought roughly two-thirds of Bosnian territory under Serb control. From the summer ofthe military situation remained fairly static. A hastily assembled Bosnian government army, together with some better-prepared Bosnian Croat forces, held the front lines for the rest of that year, though its power was gradually eroded in parts of eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Bosnian government was weakened militarily by an international arms embargo and by a conflict in —94 with Croat forces. But later inBosnian Croats and Bosniaks agreed to form a joint federation. Several peace proposals during the war failed, largely because the Bosnian Serbs—who controlled about 70 percent of the land by —refused to concede any territory.
Following the Srebrenica massacre and another Bosnian Serb attack on a Sarajevo marketplace, NATO undertook more concentrated air strikes late in Combined with a large-scale Bosniak-Croat land offensive, this action led Bosnian Serb forces to agree to U. Serbian Pres. The resulting Dayton Accords called for a federalized Bosnia and Herzegovina in which 51 percent of the land would constitute a Croat-Bosniak federation and 49 percent a Serb republic.
To enforce the agreement, formally signed in Decembera 60,member international force was deployed. It was originally estimated that at leastpeople were killed and more than 2, displaced during the —95 war. Subsequent studies, however, concluded that the death toll was actually aboutBosnian War. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents.
Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction Background Independence and war War crimes and trials. Bosnian War European history [—]. Written By: John R. See Article History. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription.