From the siege of sarajevo to srebrenica
Following the death of Josip Broz Tito, leaders clinging to ethno-nationalism rose to power across Yugoslavia. Bosnia and Herzegovina, a majority Muslim republic, found itself under attack by Serb and Croat forces in a race for expansionism and power. Once considered a melting pot of cultures in which Jews, Muslims, Christians, Catholics and others lived side by side in peace…the small country found its Bosniak-Muslim population defenseless as the Serb army laid siege to its town and villages in an attempt to exterminate and “ethnically cleanse” the country of Bosnian Muslims. To find out more about how the genocide in Srebrenica and Bosnia unfolded, we have prepared a variety of resources and academic articles on the systematic and industrialised process of genocide and ethnic cleansing which took place during the Bosnian War.
The Bosnian Genocide Timeline
Bosnia-Herzegovina liberated from Nazi-allied forces following a unified campaign by partisans under Tito.
Tito assembled the provisional government of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia in Belgrade
Tito dies sparking increased division and ethno-nationalism within Yugoslavia
Fall of the Berlin wall and collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism
Following the collapse of communism, nationalist-separatists win first multi-party elections
June, Slovenia and Croatia declare their independence from Yugoslavia, leading to civil war
Following the rise of nationalist rhetoric, Bosnians vote to declare Independence. Independence from Yugoslavia declared on March 3rd.
War of Aggression on Bosnia by Serb forces unfolds. Bosnian-Serb Nationalists declare independence of the new ‘Republika Srpska’ within Bosnia-Herzegovina, politically led by Radovan Karadžić.
Siege of Sarajevo begins. Serb forces seize the city of Sarajevo, blocking and cutting off the city from all resources.
Bosnian-Serb army is established and Ratko Mladić appointed as commander. Bosnian Serb troops control two-thirds of Bosnia. An immediate siege and attack on Sarajevo is launched by the Bosnian-Serb forces resulting in a daily terror campaign against the civilians.
Ed Vuilliamy and Penny Marshall visit Omarska and Trnopolje concentration camps and share their accounts with the world
April, UN declares areas of Srebrenica and Žepa as ‘safe zones’
March, Karadžić signs ‘Directive 7’ calling for combat operations to “create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival or life” for those living in the UN safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa.
2nd July, the safe zone of Srebrenica is shelled and Bosnian Serb troops advance as Dutch UN soldiers retreat or are captured.
11th July, Ratko Mladić’s nationalist forces enter Srebrenica. Thousands of people, mostly women, children and the elderly have already fled to nearby Potocari, while around 15,000 men begin trekking through the woods to reach Tuzla, thousands are killed by Bosnian-Serb Forces on their journey.
12-13th July, Bosnian-Serb Forces separate men and boys from the rest of the refugees in Potocari. Women and children are put on buses and trucks and sent to Muslim-controlled territory. The men are executed and buried in mass graves and many women raped.
August-November, Bosnian Serb forces dig up primary graves with heavy machinery and rebury bodies in secondary or tertiary graves in attempts to disguise their actions.
December, Dayton peace accord creates two entities, one for Bosnian Muslims and Croats, the other for Serbs. An international peacekeeping force is deployed.
Bosnian War and Genocide- History and Analysis
Mortal remains of 19 victims of the Bosnian Genocide will be buried at the Potocari-Srebrenica Memorial Centre this year. Each year, mass graves are uncovered containing the remains of those who were killed in the genocide in 1995.
On 6th April 1993, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 819, declaring that Srebrenica and a 30 square mile area around the town was a United Nations Safe Area. The UN promised the people of Srebrenica safety and security. Their promises fell through as genocide began.
Over the course of just three years, torn by a rising wave of ethno-nationalism , the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disintegrated into five successor states: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (later known as Serbia and Montenegro). Click on the interactive map to see how this unfolded.
Witnessing Genocide: Journalists & Academics
Award-winning photographers and journalists recount their experiences of witnessing a war through the lens.