World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Yugoslav Wars

Yugoslav Wars

Clockwise from the top-left: Slovenian police escort captured JNA soldiers back to their unit during the 1991 Slovenian war of independence; A destroyed tank during the Battle of Vukovar; Anti-tank missile installations in the siege of Dubrovnik; Reburial of victims from the 1995 Srebrenica massacre on 11 July 2010; UN vehicle driving on the streets of Sarajevo during the siege.
Date 31 March 1991 – 12 November 2002
(11 years, 7 months, 1 week and 5 days)
Location Yugoslavia
Total deaths: ≈140,000+
Displaced: ≈4,000,000[1]

The Yugoslav Wars were ethnic conflicts fought from 1991 to 2002 inside the territory of the former Yugoslavia. These wars accompanied and/or facilitated the breakup of the country, when its constituent republics declared independence, but the issues of ethnic minorities in the new countries (chiefly Serbs in central parts and Albanians in the southeast) were still unresolved at the time the republics were recognized internationally. The wars are generally considered to be a series of separate but related military conflicts which, occurred in, and affected most of the former Yugoslav republics:[2][3][4]

The wars mostly resulted in peace accords, involving full international recognition of new states, but with massive economic damage to the region. Initially the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) sought to preserve the unity of the whole of Yugoslavia by crushing the secessionist governments; however the JNA increasingly came under the influence of the Serbian government of Slobodan Milošević that evoked Serbian nationalist rhetoric and was willing to support the Yugoslav state insofar as using it to preserve the unity of Serbs in one state; as a result the JNA began to lose Slovenes, Croats, Kosovar Albanians, Bosniaks, and ethnic Macedonians, and effectively became a Serb army.[5] According to the 1994 United Nations report, the Serb side did not aim to restore Yugoslavia, but to create a "Greater Serbia" from parts of Croatia and Bosnia.[6]

Often described as Europe's deadliest conflict since World War II, the conflicts have become infamous for the war crimes involved, including ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and rape. These were the first conflicts since World War II to be formally judged genocidal in character and many key individual participants were subsequently charged with war crimes.[7] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established by the UN to prosecute these crimes.[8]

According to the International Center for Transitional Justice, the Yugoslav Wars resulted in the deaths of 140,000 people.[9] The Humanitarian Law Center estimates that in the conflicts in former Yugoslav republics at least 130,000 people lost their lives.[10]


  • Terminology 1
  • Background 2
  • The wars 3
    • Ten-Day War (1991) 3.1
    • Croatian War of Independence (1991–95) 3.2
    • Bosnian War (1992–95) 3.3
    • Kosovo War (1998–99) 3.4
    • Insurgency in the Preševo Valley (1999–2001) 3.5
    • Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia (2002) 3.6
    • Arms embargo 3.7
  • War crimes 4
    • War rape 4.1
  • Analysis 5
  • Timeline of the Yugoslav Wars 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
    • Books 9.1
    • Other sources 9.2
  • External links 10


The war(s) have alternatively been called:

  • "Wars in the Balkans" (although the war only affected the Western Balkans and areas often seen as belonging to Central Europe)
  • "Wars/conflicts in the former Yugoslavia".[9][11]
  • "Wars of Yugoslav Secession/Succession".
  • "Third Balkan War": a term suggested by British journalist Misha Glenny in the title of his book, alluding to the two previous Balkan Wars fought 1912–13.[12] In fact, this term has been applied by some contemporary historians to World War I, seeing it as a direct sequel of the 1912–13 Balkan wars.[13]
  • "Yugoslavia Civil War"/"Yugoslav Civil War"/"Yugoslavian Civil War"/"Civil War in Yugoslavia".[14][15]


Map of the six Yugoslav republics and autonomous provinces of the time.[16]

The nation of Yugoslavia was created in the aftermath of World War I, and was composed mostly of South Slavic Christians, but the nation also had a substantial Muslim minority. This nation lasted from 1918 to 1941, when it was invaded by Axis powers during World War II, which provided support to the Ustaše (founded 1929), which conducted a genocidal campaign against Serbs, Jews and Roma inside its territory. In 1943, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) was established under Josip Broz Tito, who maintained a strongly authoritarian leadership that was non-aligned with either the United States or the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

In the 1980s, relations among the six republics of the SFRY deteriorated. Slovenia and Croatia desired greater autonomy within the Yugoslav confederation, while Serbia sought to strengthen federal authority. As it became clearer that there was no solution agreeable to all parties, Slovenia and Croatia moved toward secession. Although tensions in Yugoslavia had been mounting since the early 1980s, it was 1990 that proved decisive. In the midst of economic hardship, Yugoslavia was facing rising nationalism among its various ethnic groups. By the early 1990s, there was no effective authority at the federal level. The Federal Presidency consisted of the representatives of the six republics, two provinces, and the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). The communist leadership was divided along national lines.

The representatives of Vojvodina, Kosovo and Montenegro were replaced with loyalists of the President of Serbia, Slobodan Milošević. Serbia secured four out of eight federal presidency votes[17] and was able to heavily influence decision-making at the federal level, since all the other Yugoslav republics only had one vote. While Slovenia and Croatia wanted to allow a multi-party system, Serbia, led by Milošević, demanded an even more centralized federation and Serbia's dominant role in it.[18] At the 14th Extraordinary Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia in January 1990, the Serbian-dominated assembly agreed to abolish the single-party system; however, Slobodan Milošević, the head of the Serbian Party branch (League of Communists of Serbia) used his influence to block and vote-down all other proposals from the Croatian and Slovene party delegates. This prompted the Croatian and Slovene delegations to walk out and thus the break-up of the party,[19] a symbolic event representing the end of "brotherhood and unity".

Upon Croatia and Slovenia declaring independence in 1991, the Yugoslav federal government attempted to forcibly halt the impending breakup of the country, with Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Marković declaring the secessions of Slovenia and Croatia to be illegal and contrary to the constitution of Yugoslavia, and declared support for the Yugoslav People's Army to secure the integral unity of Yugoslavia.[20]

The wars

Ten-Day War (1991)

The first of these conflicts, known as the Ten-Day War, was initiated by the JNA on 26 June 1991 after the secession of Slovenia from the federation on 25 June 1991.[21][22]

Initially, the federal government ordered the Yugoslav People's Army to secure border crossings in Slovenia. Slovenian police and Slovenian Territorial Defence blockaded barracks and roads, leading to stand-offs and limited skirmishes around the republic. After several dozen casualties, the limited conflict was stopped through negotiation at Brioni on 7 July 1991, when Slovenia and Croatia agreed to a three-month moratorium on secession. The Federal army completely withdrew from Slovenia by 26 October 1991.

Croatian War of Independence (1991–95)

Damage after the bombing of Dubrovnik
Destroyed Serbian house in Sunja, Croatia. Most Serbs fled during Operation Storm in 1995.

Fighting in this region had begun weeks prior to the Ten-Day War in Slovenia. The Croatian War of Independence began when Serbs in Croatia, who were opposed to Croatian independence, announced their secession from Croatia following Croatia's declaration of independence.

When Franjo Tuđman, the first President of Croatia, came to power, he openly promoted policies of extreme nationalism. During his tenure in power until his death in 1999 public squares were renamed, including for Ustaše leader Mile Budak; as of August 2004, there were seventeen cities in Croatia and one in Herzegovina which had streets named after Budak.[23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30] Tuđman visited and rewarded World War II-era Ustasha veterans, including Ivo Rojnica, in exile in Argentina,[31] and displaying open contempt for the Serb minority.[32][33] His close advisors included neo-Ustasha and paleo-Ustasha elements (Antun Vrdoljak and Gojko Šušak, respectively). Vrdoljak was director general of Croatian Radiotelevision (1991–95). On 16 September 1991, guards at the entrances of the HRT building told more than 300 employees that their passes were no longer valid. The move was attributed to "security reasons". Most of those on the security blacklists were Serbs or married to Serbs. Others may have had a relative in the Yugoslav Army or did not publicly support the HDZ.[34] Šušak was a long-term Croatian emigrant to Canada. His father and an elder brother were both Ustaše officers killed during World War II.[35] The chief of police for eastern Slavonia, Josip Reihl-Kir, who was later murdered, stated that Šušak was in the group that had fired Armbrust anti-tank missiles on civilian houses in mostly Serb populated Borovo Selo in April 1991, an event which indirectly led to the May 1991 Borovo Selo killings.[36]

Ethnic tensions rose, fueled by propaganda in both Croatia and Serbia. As the new Croatian authorities started to modify the Constitution of Croatia, Serbian politicians escalated their boycott into an insurrection called the Log Revolution. The armed incidents of early 1991 escalated into an all-out war over the summer, with fronts formed around the areas of the breakaway SAO Krajina. The JNA had disarmed the Territorial Units of Slovenia and Croatia prior to the declaration of independence.[37] This was aggravated further by an arms embargo, imposed by the UN on Yugoslavia. The JNA was ostensibly ideologically unitarian, but its officer corps was predominantly staffed by Serbs or Montenegrins (70 percent).[38] As a result, the JNA opposed Croatian independence and sided with the Croatian Serb rebels. The Croatian Serb rebels were unaffected by the embargo as they had the support of and access to supplies of the JNA. By mid-July 1991, the JNA moved an estimated 70,000 troops to Croatia. The fighting rapidly escalated, eventually spanning hundreds of square kilometers from western Slavonia through Banija to Dalmatia.[39]

Franjo Tuđman, first president of Croatia, acted as a Croatian leader throughout the war

Border regions faced direct attacks from forces within Serbia and Montenegro, and saw the shelling of UNESCO world heritage site Dubrovnik, where the international press was criticised for focusing on the city's architectural heritage, instead of reporting the destruction of Vukovar in which many civilians were killed.[40]

Meanwhile, control over central Croatia was seized by Croatian Serb forces in conjunction with the JNA Corps from Bosnia and Herzegovina, under the leadership of Ratko Mladić.[41]

In January 1992, the Vance Plan proclaimed UN controlled (UNPA) zones for Serbs in territory claimed by Serbian rebels as the Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) and brought an end to major military operations, though sporadic artillery attacks on Croatian cities and occasional intrusions of Croatian forces into UNPA zones continued until 1995. The fighting in Croatia ended in mid-1995, after Operation Flash and Operation Storm. At the end of these operations, Croatia had reclaimed all of its territory except the UNPA Sector East portion of Slavonia, bordering Serbia. Most of the Serb population in the reclaimed areas became refugees, and these operations led to war crimes trials by the ICTY against elements of the Croatian military leadership, all of whom were ultimately acquitted.[42] The areas of "Sector East", unaffected by the Croatian military operations, came under UN administration (UNTAES), and were reintegrated to Croatia in 1998 under the terms of the Erdut Agreement.[43]

In 2007, Milan Martić, former president of RSK, was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment as part of a joint criminal enterprise against the non-Serb population of Croatia.[44] Milan Babić, the first President of RSK, pleaded guilty and was sentenced by the ICTY to 13 years in prison. Babić was found dead in his prison cell in The Hague in March 2006, an apparent suicide.[45]

Bosnian War (1992–95)

A Serb woman mourns at a grave at the Lion's cemetery in Sarajevo, 1992
Radovan Karadžić (left), former president of Republika Srpska, and Ratko Mladić (right), former Chief of Staff of the Army of the Republika Srpska; both charged with war crimes, including genocide, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
People waiting in line to gather water during the Siege of Sarajevo, 1992

In 1992, conflict engulfed Bosnia and Herzegovina. The war was predominantly a territorial conflict between the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina chiefly supported by Bosniaks, the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb entity Republika Srpska, and the self-proclaimed Herzeg-Bosnia, who were led and supplied by Serbia and Croatia respectively, reportedly with a goal of the partition of Bosnia.

The Yugoslav armed forces had disintegrated into a largely Serb-dominated military force. Opposed to the Bosnian-majority led government's agenda for independence, and along with other armed nationalist Serb militant forces, the JNA attempted to prevent Bosnian citizens from voting in the 1992 referendum on independence.[46] This did not succeed in persuading people not to vote and instead the intimidating atmosphere combined with a Serb boycott of the vote resulted in a resounding 99% vote in support for independence.[46]

On 19 June 1992, the war in Bosnia broke out, though the Siege of Sarajevo had already begun in April after Bosnia and Herzegovina had declared independence. The conflict, typified by the years-long Sarajevo siege and Srebrenica, was by far the bloodiest and most widely covered of the Yugoslav wars. Bosnia's Serb faction led by ultra-nationalist Radovan Karadžić promised independence for all Serb areas of Bosnia from the majority-Bosniak government of Bosnia. To link the disjointed parts of territories populated by Serbs and areas claimed by Serbs, Karadžić pursued an agenda of systematic ethnic cleansing primarily against Bosnians through massacre and forced removal of Bosniak populations.[47]

At the end of 1992, tensions between Bosnian Croats and Bosniaks rose and their collaboration fell apart. In January 1993, the two former allies engaged in open conflict, resulting in the Croat–Bosniak War.[48] In 1994 the US brokered peace between Croatian forces and the Bosnian Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Washington Agreement. After the successful Flash and Storm operations, the Croatian Army and the combined Bosnian and Croat forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, conducted an operation codenamed Operation Mistral to push back Bosnian Serb military gains.[49]

Together with NATO air strikes on the Bosnian Serbs, the successes on the ground put pressure on the Serbs to come to the negotiating table. Pressure was put on all sides to stick to the cease-fire and negotiate an end to the war in Bosnia. The war ended with the signing of the Dayton Agreement on 14 December 1995, with the formation of Republika Srpska as an entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina being the resolution for Bosnian Serb demands.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States reported in April 1995 that 90 percent of all the atrocities in the Yugoslav wars up to that point had been committed by Serb militants.[50] Most of these atrocities occurred in Bosnia. In 2004, the ICTY ruled that the Srebrenica massacre constituted genocide.[51] In May 2013, in a first-instance verdict, the ICTY convicted six Herzeg-Bosnia Officials for their participation in a joint criminal enterprise against Muslim population in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[52] Radovan Karadžić, former president of Republika Srpska, and Ratko Mladić, former Chief of Staff of the Army of the Republika Srpska, are as of 2015 at trial by the ICTY.

Kosovo War (1998–99)

A Tomahawk cruise missile launches from the aft missile deck of the USS Gonzalez on March 31, 1999
Post-strike bomb damage assessment photograph of the Kragujevac Armor and Motor Vehicle Plant Crvena Zastava, Serbia
Smoke in Novi Sad, Serbia after NATO bombardment in 1999

After its

  • Video on the Conflict in the Former Yugoslavia from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives
  • Information and links on the Third Balkan War (1991–2001)
  • Nation, R. Craig. "War in the Balkans 1991–2002"
  • Radović, Bora, Jugoslovenski ratovi 1991–1999 i neke od njihovih društvenih posledica (PDF) (in Српски / Srpski), RS: IAN 
  • Wiebes, Cees. Intelligence and the War in Bosnia 1992–1995, Publisher: Lit Verlag, 2003
  • Operation Storm on YouTube
  • Yugoslav wars at DMOZ

External links


  • Allen, Beverly (1996). Rape Warfare: The Hidden Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. University of Minnesota Press.  
  • Bideleux, Robert; Jeffries, Ian (2007). A history of Eastern Europe: crisis and change (2nd ed.). Taylor & Francis.  
  • Brown, Cynthia; Karim, Farhad (1995). Playing the "Communal Card": Communal Violence and Human Rights. New York:  
  • Brouwer, Anne-Marie de (2005). Supranational Criminal Prosecution of Sexual Violence. Intersentia.  
  • Finlan, Alastair (2004). The Collapse of Yugoslavia 1991–1999. Essential Histories. Oxford, UK: Osprey.  
  • Gagnon, Valère Philip (2004). The Myth of Ethnic War: Serbia and Croatia in the 1990s. Cornell University Press.  
  • Meštrović, Stjepan Gabriel (1996). Genocide After Emotion: The Postemotional Balkan War. Routledge.  
  • Naimark, Norman; Case, Holly M. (2003). Yugoslavia and Its Historians: Understanding the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. Stanford University Press.  
  • Ramet, Sabrina P. (2010). Central and Southeast European Politics Since 1989.  
  • Rogel, Carole (2004). The Breakup of Yugoslavia and Its Aftermath. Greenwood Publishing Group.  
  • Tanner, Marcus (2001). Croatia : a nation forged in war (2nd ed.). New Haven; London:  
  • Aleksandar, Bosković; Dević, Ana; Gavrilović, Darko; Hašimbegović, Elma; Ljubojević, Ana; Perica, Vjekoslav; Velikonja, Mitja, eds. (2011). Political Myths in the Former Yugoslavia and Successor States: A Shared Narrative. Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation.  

Other sources

  • Bassiouni, M. Cherif (28 December 1994). "Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts established pursuant to security council resolution 780 (1992), Annex III – The military structure, strategy and tactics of the warring factions". United Nations. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  • Bassiouni, M. Cherif (28 December 1994). "Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts established pursuant to security council resolution 780 (1992), Annex IV – The policy of ethnic cleansing". United Nations. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  • "The Prosecutor vs Milan Milutinovic et al – Judgement" (PDF). International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 26 February 2009. 


  1. ^ "Transitional Justice in the Former Yugoslavia". ICJT. 
  2. ^ a b  
  3. ^ Finlan (2004), p. 8
  4. ^ Naimark (2003), p. xvii.
  5. ^ Armatta, Judith (2010), Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosević, Duke University Press, p. 121 .
  6. ^ Annex IV – II. The politics of creating a Greater Serbia: nationalism, fear and repression
  7. ^ Bosnia Genocide, United Human Rights Council, retrieved 13 April 2015 .
  8. ^ United Nations Security Council Resolution 827. S/RES/827(1993) 25 May 1993.
  9. ^ a b "Transitional Justice in the Former Yugoslavia". International Center for Transitional Justice. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009. 
  10. ^ "About us". Humanitarian Law Center. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  11. ^ Tabeau, Ewa (15 January 2009). "Casualties of the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia (1991–1999)" (PDF). Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. 
  12. ^ Glenny (1996), p. 250
  13. ^ Bideleux & Jeffries (2007), p. 429
  14. ^ "("yugoslav civil war")-("yugoslavian civil war")-("yugoslavia civil war")-("civil war in yugoslavia")". Google Search. 1991. 
  15. ^ Google scholar, accessed 13 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Serbia and Kosovo reach EU-brokered landmark accord". BBC. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  17. ^ Brown & Karim (1995), p. 116
  18. ^ Annex IV – Prelude to the breakup
  19. ^ "Milosevic's Yugoslavia: Communism Crumbles". BBC News. 
  20. ^ Leonard J. Cohen & Jasna Dragović-Soso. State Collapse in South-Eastern Europe: New Perspectives on Yugoslavia's Disintegration. Purdue University Press, 2008. p. 323.
  21. ^ Race, Helena (2005). ]"A Day Before" – 26 June 1991 (diploma thesis) ["Dan prej" – 26. junij 1991: diplomsko delo (PDF) (in Slovenian). Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  22. ^ Prunk, Janko (2001). "Path to Slovene State". Public Relations and Media Office, Government of the Republic of Slovenia. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  23. ^ Michael Parenti. To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia, Verso, 2002; ISBN 1-85984-366-2, ISBN 978-1-85984-366-6 (p. 45)
  24. ^ Sabrina P. Ramet & Davorka Matić. Democratic Transition in Croatia: Value Transformation, Education & Media, Texas A&M University Press, 2007 (p. 17)
  25. ^ Teddy Preuss. "Goebbels lives - in Zagreb", The Jerusalem Post (international edition), 21 December 1991.
  26. ^ Stephen Kinzer. "Pro-Nazi Legacy Lingers for Croatia", New York Times News Service, 30 October 1993.
  27. ^ "Monument to Anti-Fascism Desecrated in Croatia", Tanjug, February 1995.
  28. ^ "Another Anti-Fascist Monument Blown Up in Croatia", Tanjug, 11 April 1995.
  29. ^ Miodrag Dundjerović. "Croatia, Symbols of Crimes", Tanjug, 1 June 1994.
  30. ^ "Croatia is Rehabilitating Ustashism and the Independent State of Croatia", Politika (Belgrade), 12 February 1993.
  31. ^ "Croatia Grants Awards to Nazi-Era War Veterans", Reuters, 7 November 1996.
  32. ^ "[i]n 1990 Tudjman said, 'I am glad my wife is neither Serb nor Jew' and wrote that accounts of the Holocaust were 'exaggerated' and 'one-sided'
  33. ^ Diana Jean Schemo. "Croatian Leader's Invitation to Holocaust Museum Sparks Anger and Shock", New York Times News Service, 21 April 1993.
  34. ^ Kemal Kurspahić. "Serbo-Croatian War: Lying For The Homeland", Prime Time Crime: Balkan Media in War and Peace, p. 67; ISBN 1929223382
  35. ^ Hockenos, Paul (2003). Homeland Calling: Exile Patriotism and the Balkan Wars.  
  36. ^ Death of Yugoslavia, BBC, Episode 1: "Enter Nationalism".
  37. ^ Annex III – The Conflict in Slovenia
  38. ^ Annex III – General structure of the Yugoslav armed forces
  39. ^ Annex III – Forces operating in Croatia
  40. ^ Joseph Pearson, "Dubrovnik's Artistic Patrimony, and its Role in War Reporting", European History Quarterly (1991), Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 197–216.
  41. ^ "Profile: Ratko Mladic, Bosnian Serb army chief". BBC. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  42. ^ "Judgement Summary for Gotovina et al." (PDF). The Hague: International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  43. ^ "The Erdut Agreement" (PDF).  
  44. ^ "Milan Martić sentenced to 35 years for crimes against humanity and war crimes". International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 12 June 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  45. ^ Milan Babić profile,; accessed 19 July 2015.
  46. ^ a b Meštrović (1996), p. 36.
  47. ^ Meštrović (1996), pg. 7.
  48. ^ "Prosecutor v. Rasim Delić Judgement" (PDF). International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 15 September 2008. p. 24. 
  49. ^ CIA 2002, p. 379.
  50. ^ Meštrović (1996), p. 8.
  51. ^ """ICTY "Prosecutor v. Krstic (PDF). United Nations. 5 March 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  52. ^ Six Senior Herceg-Bosna Officials Convicted,; accessed 13 April 2015.
  53. ^ a b , 26 February 2009The Prosecutor vs Milan Milutinović et al. – Judgement, pp. 88–89
  54. ^ , 26 February 2009The Prosecutor vs Milan Milutinović et al. – Judgement, p. 416.
  55. ^ Kosovo Liberation Army: The Inside Story of an Insurgency, Henry H. Perritt
  56. ^ Reflections on the Balkan Wars: Ten Years After the Break-up of Yugoslavia, Jeffrey S. Morton, Stefano Bianchini, Craig Nation, Paul Forage
  57. ^ War in the Balkans, 1991–2002, R. Craig Nation
  58. ^ Morton, Jeffrey S. (2004). Reflections on the Balkan Wars. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 57; ISBN 1-4039-6332-0.
  59. ^ "Renewed clashes near Kosovo border". BBC News. 28 January 2001. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  60. ^ "Kostunica warns of fresh fighting". BBC News. January 29, 2001. 
  61. ^ a b "Who are the rebels?". BBC News. 20 March 2001. 
  62. ^ "Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Macedonia, 2002 – Book XIII, Skopje, 2005" (PDF). State Statistical Office of the Republic of Macedonia. 
  63. ^ "Macedonia's 'Liberation' Army". Zurich: World Press Review. 20 June 2001. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  64. ^ Blaz Zgaga; Matej Surc (2 December 2011). "Yugoslavia and the profits of doom". EUobserver. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  65. ^ "Chile generals convicted over 1991 Croatia arms deal". BBC News. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  66. ^ a b de Brouwer (2005), p. 10
  67. ^ a b de Brouwer (2005), pp. 9–10
  68. ^ new Internationalist issue 244, June 1993. Rape: Weapon of War by Angela Robson.
  69. ^ Netherlands Institute for War Documentation Part 1 Chapter 9
  70. ^ Bosnia: Landmark Verdicts for Rape, Torture, and Sexual Enslavement: Criminal Tribunal Convicts Bosnian Serbs for Crimes Against HumanityHuman Rights News ,, 22 February 2001.
  71. ^ Simons, Marlise (June 1996). "For first time, Court Defines Rape as War Crime". The New York Times. 
  72. ^ de Brouwer (2005), p. 11
  73. ^ "Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict: A Framework for Prevention and Response". UN  
  74. ^ "Film award forces Serbs to face spectre of Bosnias rape babies". The Independent (UK). 20 February 2006. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  75. ^ United Nations Commission on Breaches of Geneva Law in Former Yugoslavia,; accessed 14 April 2014.
  76. ^ Card, Claudia (1996). "Rape as a Weapon of War". Hypatia 11 (4): 5–18.  
  77. ^ Allen (1996), p. 77
  78. ^ McGinn, Therese (December 2000). "Reproductive Health of War-Affected Populations: What Do We Know?". International Family Planning Perspectives 26 (4): 174–180.  
  79. ^ a b c "Serb Gang-Rapes in Kosovo Exposed – Human Rights Watch". 
  80. ^ a b c Kosovo: Rape as a Weapon of "Ethnic Cleansing", Human Rights Watch; accessed 14 april 2015.
  81. ^ Decision of the ICTY Appeals Chamber; 18 April 2002; Reasons for the Decision on Prosecution Interlocutory Appeal from Refusal to Order Joinder; Paragraph 8
  82. ^ Stephen A. Hart (17 February 2011). "Partisans: War in the Balkans 1941–1945". BBC History. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  83. ^ a b Gagnon (2004), p. 5
  84. ^ Zaknic, Ivan (1992). "The Pain of Ruins: Croatian Architecture under Siege". Journal of Architectural Education 46 (2): 115–124.  
  85. ^ "Milosevic: Important New Charges on Croatia".  
  86. ^ "Returns to Bosnia and Herzegovina reach 1 million". UNHCR. 21 September 2004. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  87. ^ "Bleak outlook for Serb refugees". BBC News. 22 March 2000. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 


See also

  • Slobodan Milošević is voted out of office, and Vojislav Koštunica becomes the new president of Yugoslavia. With Milošević ousted and a new democratic government in place, FR Yugoslavia comes out of isolation. The political and economic sanctions are suspended in total, and FRY is reinstated in many political and economic organizations, as well as becoming a candidate for other collaborative efforts.


  • Račak massacre, Rambouillet talks fail. NATO starts a military campaign in Kosovo and bombards FR Yugoslavia in Operation Allied Force.
  • Following Milošević's signing of an agreement, control of Kosovo is handed to the United Nations, but still remains a part of Yugoslavia's federation. After losing wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, numerous Serbs leave those countries to find refuge in Serbia. In 1999, Serbia was host to some 700,000 Serb refugees.[87]
  • Fresh fighting erupts between Albanians and Yugoslav security forces in Albanian populated areas outside of Kosovo, with the intent of joining three municipalities to Kosovo.
  • Franjo Tuđman dies. Shortly after, his party loses the elections.


Yugoslav Ministry of Defence building in Belgrade destroyed during the 1999 NATO bombing.
  • Eastern Slavonia peacefully reintegrated into Croatia, following a gradual three-year handover of power.
  • Fighting in Kosovo gradually escalates between Albanians demanding an independent Kosovo and ethnic Serbs and their paramilitary forces.


  • FR Yugoslavia recognizes Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
  • Fighting breaks out between Serbian forces and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
  • Following allegations of fraud in local elections, hundreds of thousands of Serbs demonstrate in Belgrade against the Milošević regime for three months.


  • NATO launches a series of air strikes on Bosnian Serb artillery and other military targets. Croatian and Bosnian army start a joint offensive against Republika Srpska.
  • Dayton Agreement signed in Paris. War in Bosnia and Herzegovina ends. Aftermath of war is over 100,000 killed and missing and two million people internally displaced or refugees.[86] The Serb defeat in Croatia and West Bosnia allowed Croat and Bosniak refugees to return home, while creating large numbers of ethnic Serb refugees.
A boy at a grave during the 2006 funeral of Srebrenica victims
  • Srebrenica massacre reported, 8,372 Bosniaks killed by Serb forces.
  • Croatia launches Operation Storm, reclaiming all UNPA zones except Eastern Slavonia, and resulting in exodus of 150,000–200,000 Serbs from the zones. War in Croatia ends.


  • Peace treaty between Bosniaks and Croats arbitrated by the United States, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina formed.
  • FR Yugoslavia starts slowly suspending its financial and military support for Republika Srpska and stabilizes the economy structure with Economic Implementation Framework.


  • Fighting begins in the Bihać region between Bosnian Government forces loyal to Alija Izetbegović, and Bosniaks loyal to Fikret Abdić, also supported by the Serbs.
  • Sanctions in FR Yugoslavia, now isolated, create hyperinflation of 3.6 million percent a year of the Yugoslav dinar. Inflation exceeds that of the Great Depression of 1929.
  • The Stari Most (The Old Bridge) in Mostar, built in 1566, was destroyed by Croats. It was rebuilt in 2003.


Two Croatian Defense Council (HVO) T-55 Main Battle Tanks pull into firing position during a three-day exercise held at the Barbara Range in Glamoč, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Vance Plan signed, creating four United Nations Protection Force zones for Serbs and ending large-scale fighting in Croatia.
  • Bosnia declares independence. Bosnian war begins with Serbs trying to create a new, separate Serb state, Republika Srpska, that would swallow as much of Bosnia as possible.
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia proclaimed, consisting of Serbia and Montenegro, the two remaining republics.
  • United Nations impose sanctions against FR Yugoslavia and accepts Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia as members. FR Yugoslavia claims being sole legal heir to SFRY, which is disputed by other republics. UN envoys agree that Yugoslavia had 'dissolved into constituent republics'.
  • The Yugoslav army retreats from Bosnia, but leaves its weapons to the army of Republika Srpska, which attacks poorly armed Bosnian cities of Zvornik, Kotor Varoš, Prijedor, Foča, Višegrad, Doboj. Siege of Sarajevo starts. All of which results in approx. 600,000 non-Serbian refugees.
  • Bosniak-Croat conflict begins in Bosnia.
Sarajevo. Besieged residents collect firewood in the bitter winter of 1992.


  • Slovenia and Croatia declare independence in June, Macedonia in September. War in Slovenia lasts ten days, and results in 63 fatalities. The Yugoslav army leaves Slovenia defeated, but supports rebel Serb forces in Croatia. The Croatian War of Independence begins in Croatia. Serb areas in Croatia declare independence, but are recognized only by Belgrade.
  • Vukovar is devastated by bombardments and shelling, and other cities such as Dubrovnik, Karlovac and Osijek sustain extensive damage.[84] Refugees from war zones overwhelm Croatia, while Europe is slow to accept refugees.
  • In Croatia, about 250,000 Croats and other non-Serbs forced from their homes or fled the violence.[85]



A shelled Croatian hotel resort of the Dalmatian coastline in Kupari near Dubrovnik (1991)

Timeline of the Yugoslav Wars

According to Stephen A. Hart, author of Partisans: War in the Balkans 1941–1945, the ethnically mixed region of Dalmatia held close and amicable relations between the Croats and Serbs who lived there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many early proponents of a united Yugoslavia came from this region, such Ante Trumbić, a Croat from Dalmatia. However, by the time of the outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars, any hospitable relations between Croats and Serbs in Dalmatia had broken down, with Dalmatian Serbs fighting on the side of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Clear ethnic conflict between the Yugoslav peoples only became prominent in the 20th century, beginning with tensions over the constitution of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in the early 1920s and escalating into violence between Serbs and Croats in the late 1920s after the assassination of Croatian politician Stjepan Radić. During World War II the Croatian Ustaše committed genocide against Serbs, Jews and Roma, leading to later reprisals against Croats and Bosniaks. The Yugoslav Partisan movement was able to appeal to all groups, including Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks.[2][82] In Serbia and Serb-dominated territories, violent confrontations occurred particularly between nationalists towards non-nationalists who had criticized the Serbian government and the Serb political entities in Bosnia and Croatia.[83] Serbs who publicly opposed the nationalist political climate during the Yugoslav wars were reportedly harassed, threatened, or killed.[83]

The War Crimes Tribunal accused Slobodan Milošević of "attempting to create a Greater Serbia"', a Serbian state encompassing the Serb-populated areas of Croatia and Bosnia, and achieved by forcibly removing non-Serbs from large geographical areas through the commission of criminal activity.[81]


During the Kosovo War thousands of Kosovo Albanian women and girls became victims of sexual violence. War rape was used as a weapon of war and an instrument of systematic ethnic cleansing; rape was used to terrorize the civilian population, extort money from families, and force people to flee their homes. According to a report by the Human Rights Watch group in 2000, rape in the Kosovo War can generally be subdivided into three categories: rapes in woman's homes, rapes during fighting, and rapes in detention.[79][80] The majority of the perpetrators were Serbian paramilitaries, but also included Serbian special police or Yugoslav army soldiers. Virtually all of the sexual assaults Human Rights Watch documented were gang rapes involving at least two perpetrators.[79][80] Since the end of the war, rapes of Serbian, Albanian, and Roma women by ethnic Albanians — sometimes by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) – have been documented.[79][80] Rapes occurred frequently in the presence, and with the acquiescence, of military officers. Soldiers, police, and paramilitaries often raped their victims in the full view of numerous witnesses.[66]

War rape in the Yugoslav Wars has often been characterized as genocide. Rape perpetrated by Serb forces served to destroy cultural and social ties of the victims and their communities.[76] Serbian policies allegedly urged soldiers to rape Bosnian women until they became pregnant as an attempt towards ethnic cleansing. Serbian soldiers hoped to force Bosnian women to carry Serbian children through repeated rape.[77] Often Bosnian women were held in captivity for an extended period of time and only released slightly before the birth of a child conceived of rape. The systematic rape of Bosnian women may have carried further-reaching repercussions than the initial displacement of rape victims. Stress, caused by the trauma of rape, coupled with the lack of access to reproductive health care often experienced by displaced peoples, lead to serious health risks for victimized women.[78]

Others have estimated that during the Bosnian War between 20,000 and 50,000 women, mainly Muslim, were raped.[73][74] There are few reports of rape and sexual assault between members of the same ethnic group.[75]

The evidence of the magnitude of rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina prompted the ICTY to deal openly with these abuses.[71] Reports of sexual violence during the Bosnian War (1992–1995) and Kosovo War (1998–1999) perpetrated by the Serbian regular and irregular forces have been described as "especially alarming".[67] The NATO-led Kosovo Force documented rapes of Albanian, Roma and Serbian women by both Serbs and members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.[72]

War rape occurred as a matter of official orders as part of ethnic cleansing, to displace the targeted ethnic group.[66] According to the Tresnjevka Women's Group, more than 35,000 women and children were held in such Serb-run "rape camps".[67][68][69] Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovač, and Zoran Vuković were convicted of crimes against humanity for rape, torture, and enslavement committed during the Foča massacres.[70]

War rape

Detainees at the Trnopolje Camp, near Prijedor (photograph provided courtesy of the ICTY)

War crimes

The United Nations Security Council had imposed an arms embargo. Nevertheless, various states had been engaged in, or facilitated, arms sales to the warring factions: Bulgaria, North Korea, Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Russia were all export countries for weapons to the conflict; the headquarters for a huge logistics operation was in Vienna; financial transactions were executed by a Hungarian bank; arms smugglers used companies registered in the off-shore haven of Panama; and the United Kingdom sent military equipment and provided loans for arms purchases, as did Germany.[64] In 2012, Chile convicted nine people, including two retired generals, for their part in arms sales.[65]

Arms embargo

The insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia was an armed conflict in Tetovo which began when the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) militant group began attacking the security forces of the Republic of Macedonia at the beginning of February 2001, and ended with the Ohrid Agreement. The goal of the NLA was to give greater rights and autonomy to the country's Albanian minority, who make up 25.2% (54.7% of the population in Tetovo) of the population of Macedonia.[61][62] There were also claims that the group ultimately wished to see Albanian-majority areas secede from the country,[63] although high-ranking NLA members have denied this.[61]

Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia (2002)

Yugoslav president Vojislav Koštunica warned that fresh fighting would erupt if KFOR units did not act to prevent the attacks coming from the UÇPMB.[60]

The Insurgency in the Preševo Valley was an armed conflict between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the ethnic-Albanian insurgents[55][56][57] of the Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (UÇPMB).[58] There were instances during the conflict in which the Yugoslav government requested KFOR support in suppressing UÇPMB attacks since they could only use lightly armed military forces as part of the Kumanovo Treaty that ended the Kosovo War, which created a buffer zone so that the bulk of Yugoslav armed forces could not enter.[59]

Insurgency in the Preševo Valley (1999–2001)

With time, Kosovar Albanians started an insurgency against Belgrade when the Kosovo Liberation Army was founded in 1996. Armed clashes between two sides broke out in early 1998. A NATO-facilitated ceasefire was signed on 15 October, but both sides broke it two months later and fighting resumed. When the killing of 45 Kosovar Albanians in the Račak massacre was reported in January 1999, NATO decided that the conflict could only be settled by introducing a military peacekeeping force to forcibly restrain the two sides. After the Rambouillet Accords broke down on 23 March with Yugoslav rejection of an external peacekeeping force, NATO prepared to install the peacekeepers by force. The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia followed, an intervention against Serbian forces with a mainly bombing but partly ground-based campaign, under the command of General Wesley Clark. Hostilities ended 2½ months later with the Kumanovo Agreement. Kosovo was placed under the governmental control of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo and the military protection of Kosovo Force (KFOR). The 15-month war had left thousands of civilians killed on both sides and over a million displaced.[54]

[53] assembly and several faculty councils were dissolved and replaced by Serbs, and Kosovar Albanian teachers were prevented from entering school premises for the new school year beginning in September 1991, forcing students to study at home.University of Priština In June 1991 the [53]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.