War in Bosnia: Timeline
Original Timeline appropriated from Kristina Lerman
1990-91Croatia and Slovenia declare their independence from the
Yugoslav Federated Republic. In Croatia ethnic Serbs and Croats begin a
long, bloody conflict. UN imposes arms embargo on all members of the
former Yugoslav Republic, including Bosnia.
April 1992Nationalist Serb snipers fire on peaceful
demonstrators in Sarajevo, marking the beginning of the war. Bosnian Serb
soldiers are formally discharged from the Yugoslav army, but allowed to
keep all of their weapons.
May 1992The West recognizes Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent
state. A mortar shell fired from a Serb position in the hills of Sarajevo
kills 16 people waiting in line for bread. UN imposes sanctions on
Summer 1992reports of "ethnic cleansing," a policy of
slaughtering Muslim inhabitants of towns or driving them away, in order
to create an ethnically pure region. Reports of concentration camps, mass
Winter 1992-93Gas, water and electricity service are at best
sporadic in Sarajevo. UN humanitarian convoys to Muslim enclaves in
central Bosnia crowded with refugees are blocked by Serb forces leading
to acute shortages of food, fuel, and medicine there. UN declares several
Bosnian cities "safe havens" to no one's relief. Pres. Clinton orders
humanitarian aid and food to be air-lifted to those places.
1992-1993Many cease fires are broken. Vance-Owen peace treaty is
first accepted by Milosevic and Karadzic, then rejected by the Bosnian
Serb Parliament. Other peace treaties based on dividing Bosnia along
ethnic lines are negotiated, rejected, then renegotiated. Croatians,
originally fighting with the Muslims against the Serbs, start their own
"ethnic cleansing" campaign.
1993Mortar barrages on Sarajevo lighten up, and Serbs withdraw
from some strategic positions, when US and NATO threaten air strikes.
Firing resumes when it becomes obvious that no action will be taken.
Fall 1993Bosnian Government army makes some territorial gains
against Croatian separatists, reputedly with the arms supplied by the
Serbs. Both Yugoslav and Croatian army regulars are observed fighting in
Bosnia. The breakaway Serb republic of Bosnia orders a general
mobilization among all the Bosnian Serb refugees, planning for an all out
assault that will lead to the end of war.
January 1994France, which has the most UN troops in Bosnia,
calls for NATO to use air strikes to relieve the humanitarian crisis in
Bosnia. French philosopher, Bernard-Henri Levi, and other intellectuals
start a party "Europe Begins at Sarajevo", for the elections for the
European Parliament. The party's only platform is that Europe's humanity
and civility is challenged by its inactivity in the Bosnia crisis.
February 4, 1994The market
place massacre, which leaves 68 people dead and over 200 wounded in
Sarajevo ignites public outcry against this and other atrocities leading
NATO to issue ultimatum for Serbs to withdraw their artillery to 20 km
from Sarajevo, and for all warring parties to hand over their heavy
weapons to UN observers.
Summer 1994Bosnian Government army makes successful advances
against separatist Serbs, recapturing some of the territory around Bihac,
in Bosnia's North-East corner.
Fall 1994Cease fire around Sarajevo is spotty, but holding.
Bosnian Serb forces are reinforced by Croatian Serb forces from the
neighboring Krajina region, press against Bosnian governemnt,
re-recapturing the region around Bihac. Bihac is shelled and bombed
relentlessly. NATO "strikes back" and bombs the runways in the Serb held
airport in Krajina from which bombing raids are flown. Serbs hold over
300 UN troops hostage against further air raids.
December 1994Former US President Jimmy Carter flies to Sarajevo
to negotiate a 4 month cease fire with the warring parties. Cease fire
does not affect Croat Serbs who continue the siege of Bihac.
January 28, 19951000th day of the siege of Sarajevo.
February, 1995 Cease fire violations by Bosnian Serbs are
increasingly common. UN monitors observe helicopters crossing from Serbia
to Bosnia, presumably to resupply the Bosnian Serb positions, a breach of
promise by Serbia's president Milosevic to put Bosnian Serbs under an
internal embargo. Pres. Tudjman of Croatia asks for U.N. preacekeepers'
withdrawal from Krajina, a hotly contested region in Croatia occupied
mainly by Serbs. Fears of renewed fighting when U.N. withdraws in the
spring of 1995 are ignited.
February 13, 1995United Nations tribunal on human rights
violation in the Balkans charges 21 Bosnian Serb commanders with genocide
and crimes against humanity. This action marks the first time that a
Western political body openly charged Serbs with genocide.
February 15 - 22, 1995 Under the pressures from European allies,
U.S. agrees to loosed economic sanctions against Yugoslavia, in return
for Pres. Milosevic's recognition of territorial integrity of Croatia and
Bosnia-Herzegovina. Milosevic refuses.
March 9, 1995According to New York Times, a CIA report completed
earlier in the year has concluded that 90% of the acts of "ethnic
cleansing" were carried out by Serbs and that leading Serbian politicians
almost certainly played a role in the crimes. The report is believed to
be the most comprehensive United States assessment of the atrocities in