Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Pawel Goleniowski
The Bosnian War was fought between ethnic Serbs, Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) and ethnic Croats 20 years ago. The resulting destruction and genocide was “the worst on European soil since the Second World War”, erstwhile UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said.And two decades later, bad blood still exists (as evinced by the tensions surrounding Angelina Jolie’s movie on the war). While war crimes trials still continue, the three ethnic groups have failed to integrate into a single nation, according to the Guardian. The bad economy has only made things worse.
June 25, 1991: Following the first multi-party elections and months of talks among the republics of Yugoslavia, Slovenia and Croatia declared independence from it.
February 29, 1992: Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence as well through a referendum. Bosnian Serbs rejected the decision.
April 6-7, 1992: Europe and the US recognised Bosnia's independence, as the Bosnian Serbs, supported by Yugoslavia and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, began the bloody siege of Bosnia's capital Sarajevo to win their own independence.
March 1993: The UN's sanctions on Yugoslavia failed to bring peace. In fact, Bosnia's Muslims and Croats now turned against each other.
In a referendum, Bosnian Serbs voted for an independent Bosnian Serb state, rejecting a UN peace plan.
March 18, 1994: The Bosnian Muslims ('Bosniaks') and Croats finally signed a US-brokered peace accord after a year of infighting.
1995: Following more intense fighting, failed peace talks, the capture of UN peacekeepers, and failed attacks by NATO, the US and Great Britain sent thousands of more troops to Bosnia.
July 11, 1995: Bosnian Serbs, under General Ratko Mladic, captured the UN 'safe area' of Srebrenica.
The Serbs were ruthless: 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred, and 20,000 Muslim women, children, and elderly were expelled to Tuzla.
A war crimes tribunal indicted Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, the main Serbian instigators, of genocide and crimes against humanity.
August 4, 1995: Croatia launched a huge assault on the rebel Serbs. More than 180,000 Serb civilians fled their homes toward Bosnia.
August 30, 1995: NATO planes, supported by UN ground troops, launched massive airstrikes on Serb strongholds around Sarajevo, causing the Serbs to shell Sarajevo in response.
November 21, 1995: After almost a month of negotiations, Serbian President Milosevic, Bosnian President Izetbegovic, and Croatian President Tudjman signed a US-brokered peace deal in Dayton, Ohio. It created two states within Bosnia, one for the Muslims and Croats, the other for the Serbs.
December 1995: NATO deployed more than 60,000 peacekeeping troops into Bosnia, administered by the permanent office of an international peace overseer.
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