Bosnian War

The Bosnian War (Serbo-Croatian: Rat u Bosni i Hercegovini / Рат у Босни и Херцеговини) was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. The war is commonly seen as having started on 6 April 1992, following a number of earlier violent incidents. The war ended on 14 December 1995. The main belligerents were the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and those of Herzeg-Bosnia and Republika Srpska, proto-states led and supplied by Croatia and Serbia, respectively.[10][11]

Bosnian War
Part of the Yugoslav Wars

Clockwise from left to right:
1. The Executive Council Building burns after being hit by tank fire in Sarajevo.
2. May 1992; Ratko Mladić with Army of Republika Srpska officers.
3. A Norwegian UN peacekeeper in Sarajevo.
Date6 April 1992 – 14 December 1995
(3 years, 8 months, 1 week and 6 days)

Military stalemate

  • Internal partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina according to the Dayton Accords.
  • Over 101,000 dead, mainly Bosniaks.
  • First genocide in Europe since World War II.
  • Deployment of NATO-led forces to oversee the peace agreement.
  • Establishment of the Office of the High Representative to oversee the civilian implementation of the peace agreement.
Until October 1992:
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Until October 1992:
 Republika Srpska
 Serbian Krajina

October 1992–94:

 Bosnia and Herzegovina

October 1992–94:


October 1992–94:

 Republika Srpska
 Serbian Krajina
Western Bosnia (from 1993)

 FR Yugoslavia


 Bosnia and Herzegovinab

 NATO (bombing operations, 1995)


 Republika Srpska
 Serbian Krajina
Western Bosnia

 FR Yugoslavia
Commanders and leaders

Alija Izetbegović
(President of Bosnia and Herzegovina) Haris Silajdžić
(Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Sefer Halilović
(ARBiH Chief of Staff 1992–1993)
Rasim Delić
(ARBiH Commander of the General Staff 1993–1995)
Enver Hadžihasanović
(ARBiH Chief of Staff 1992–1993)

Leighton W. Smith
(Commander of AFSOUTH)

...and others

Franjo Tuđman
(President of Croatia)
Gojko Šušak
(Minister of Defence)
Janko Bobetko
(HV Chief of Staff)

Mate Boban
(President of Herzeg-Bosnia until 1994)
Krešimir Zubak
(President of Herzeg-Bosnia from 1994)

Milivoj Petković
(HVO Chief of Staff)
...and others

Slobodan Milošević
(President of Serbia)
Momčilo Perišić
(VJ Chief of Staff)

Radovan Karadžić
(President of Republika Srpska)
Ratko Mladić
(VRS Chief of Staff)

Fikret Abdić (President of AP Western Bosnia)

...and others
110,000 troops
100,000 reserves
40 tanks
30 APCs[1]
45,000–50,000 troops[2]
75 tanks
50 APCs
200 artillery pieces[3]
15,000 troops[4]
80,000 troops
300 tanks
700 APCs
800 artillery pieces[5]
AP Western Bosnia:
4,000–5,000 troops[6]
Casualties and losses
30,521 soldiers killed
31,583 civilians killed[7][8]
6,000 soldiers killed
2,484 civilians killed[7][8]
21,173 soldiers killed
4,179 civilians killed[7][8]
additional 5,100 killed whose ethnicity and status are unstated[9]

a ^ From 1992 to 1994, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was not supported by the majority of Bosnian Croats and Serbs. Consequently, it represented mainly the Bosnian Muslims.

b ^ Between 1994 and 1995, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was supported and represented by both Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims. This was primarily because of the Washington Agreement.

The war was part of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Following the Slovenian and Croatian secessions from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991, the multi-ethnic Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina – which was inhabited by mainly Muslim Bosniaks (44%), mainly Orthodox Serbs (32.5%) and mainly Catholic Croats (17%) – passed a referendum for independence on 29 February 1992. Political representatives of the Bosnian Serbs boycotted the referendum, and rejected its outcome. Anticipating the outcome of the referendum boycotted by the majority of Bosnian Serbs, the Assembly of the Serb People in Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the Constitution of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on February 28, 1992. Following Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of independence (which gained international recognition) and following the withdrawal of Alija Izetbegović from the previously signed Cutileiro Plan[12] (which proposed a division of Bosnia into ethnic cantons), the Bosnian Serbs, led by Radovan Karadžić and supported by the Serbian government of Slobodan Milošević and the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), mobilised their forces inside Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to secure ethnic Serb territory, then war soon spread across the country, accompanied by ethnic cleansing.

The conflict was initially between the Yugoslav Army units in Bosnia which later transformed into the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) on the one side, and the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH), which was largely composed of Bosniaks, and the Croat forces in the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) on the other side. Tensions between Croats and Bosniaks increased throughout late 1992, resulting in the Croat–Bosniak War that escalated in early 1993.[13] The Bosnian War was characterised by bitter fighting, indiscriminate shelling of cities and towns, ethnic cleansing and systematic mass rape, mainly perpetrated by Serb,[14] and to a lesser extent, Croat[15] and Bosniak[16] forces. 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 1994 with the creation of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina following the Washington agreement. Pakistan ignored the UN's ban on supply of arms and airlifted anti tank missiles to the Bosnian Muslims, while after the Srebrenica and Markale massacres, NATO intervened in 1995 with Operation Deliberate Force targeting the positions of the Army of the Republika Srpska, which proved key in ending the war.[17][18][better source needed] The war was brought to an end after the signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Paris on 14 December 1995. Peace negotiations were held in Dayton, Ohio and were finalised on 21 November 1995.[19]

By early 2008, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had convicted 45 Serbs, 12 Croats and four Bosniaks of war crimes in connection with the war in Bosnia.[20][needs update] The most recent estimates suggest that around 100,000 people were killed during the war.[21][22][23] Over 2.2 million people were displaced,[24] making it the most devastating conflict in Europe since the end of World War II.[25][26] In addition, an estimated 12,000–50,000 women were raped, mainly carried out by Serb forces with most of the victims being Bosnian Muslims.[27][28]