Timeline – The Bosnian War


1st March

Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats vote for independence from Yugoslavia in a referendum boycotted by the majority of the Serbs

3rd March

Bosnia declares independence

6th April

Bosnia’s independence is recognized by the EU

War begins, the Serbs siege Sarajevo and quickly control over half of the republic


Sanctions are imposed on Serbia for backing rebel Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia




Fighting starts between Croats and Muslims, who were previously allied against Serbs. Peace efforts fail

Muslims and Serbs form an alliance against Croats in Herzegovina, rival Muslim forces fight one another in north-west Bosnia and Croats and Serbs fight Muslims in central Bosnia


The UN declare safe areas in eastern Bosnia: Srebrenica, Zepa, Gorazde, and Sarajevo

UNPROFOR troops are deployed to stop the Bosnian Serb Army attacks



5th February

The first Markale massacre in Sarajevo killing 68 and 144 injured

1st March

Muslim-Croat federation is created and fighting stops due to US brokered agreement

20th December

Bosnian Serbs agree to four-month ceasefire with Bosnian Muslims, hoping for further negotiations




Bosnian Serb President, Radovan Karadzic orders the isolation of Zepa and Srebrenica. The area is cut-off and aid is prevented from reaching them.


Bosnian Serb forces shell the town of Tuzla killing 71 and injuring 240

Bosnian Serbs also take 370 UN members hostage, keeping them hostage for almost a month

11th July

General Mladic orders Bosnian Serb troops capture the ‘safe area’ of Srebrenica. Thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys are separated from their families and massacred all under the watch of the Dutch UN peacekeeping troops.

Later the UN war crimes tribunal will indict Karadzic and Mladic for genocide


The second Markale massacre in Sarajevo killing 38 and leaving 75 injured

NATO airstrikes begin against Bosnian Serb forces

12th October

Ceasefire comes into force throughout all of Bosnia, brokered by the US

21st November

Following 17 days of negotiations, the Dayton Peace Accords are signed in Dayton, Ohio by Bosnian Muslim President Izetbegovic, Croatian President Tudjman and Serbian President Milosevic

The peace accords created two entities; one for Muslims and Croats and the other for Serbs

14th December

Peace Accords are signed in Paris by the three leaders.

NATO peacekeeping Implementation Force (IFOR) arrive in Bosnia and the international community establishes a permanent presence. Later taken over by the European Union




Karadzic is forced to step down as Bosnian Serb president


In the first post-war elections the nationalist win



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