“ The siege of Sarajevo, as it came to be popularly known, was an episode of such notoriety in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia that one must go back to World War II to find a parallel in European history. Not since then had a professional army conducted a campaign of unrelenting violence against the inhabitants of a European city so as to reduce them to a state of medieval deprivation in which they were in constant fear of death. In the period covered in this Indictment, there was nowhere safe for a Sarajevan, not at home, at school, in a hospital, from deliberate attack.“
-ICTY Stanislav Galic Judgment
June 25, 1991: Slovenia and Croatia declare independence
February 1992: Bosnia sues for Independence from Yugoslavia
63.7 % turnout, 99.4% vote for independence
Boycotted by Bosnian Serbs
March 1, 1992: Independence Declared
April 5, 1992: 50,000 to 100,000 protestors take to the street
Serb gunmen fire at the antiwar protestors
2 people killed Suada Dilberovic and Olga Sucic, they are the first casualties of the siege
April 6, 1992 JNA seizes Ministry Training Academy, Central Tramway Depot, and the Airport
Shell lobbed from hills into Sarajevo kills 16 standing in a breadline, 100 wounded.
Bosnian Muslims attack barracks of trapped Yugoslav soldiers (mostly Serbs) in the city.
Yugoslav Army official claims massacre was staged by Muslims, in effort to get international support for the Bosniak side.
Whether it was an act or not the International community released sanctions against Serbs/JNA.
By late spring/early summer 1992 snipers are present around city.
Sniper Screens and signs pop up, some roads/areas become too dangerous to travel.
Left: Trash Buildup on dangerous street. Right, sniper warning.
Sarajevo Library 1992
Futile Attempts at Peace
Designed at European Community(EC) peace conference February 1992
Proposed weak central government of Bosnia with power passed to the district level
Signed March 18 th by Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia, Radovan Karadzic of Serbia, and Mate Boban of Croatia
Izetbegovic pulls signature 10 days later(March 28 th ) and the plan dies.
Proposed January 1993
Would have split Bosnia into ten semi-autonomous regions
Rejected by Bosnian Serb Parliament
June 18 th the plan is dead
Would have split Bosnia into 3 ethnic states
The majority ethnic group(Muslims) would have only received 30% of the territory
Rejected August 29, 1993
Contact Group Plan
Devised by the U.S., Russia, France, Britain, and Germany from February to October 1994
Plan presented in July 1994
Isolate the Serbs and communicate only with Sloban Milosevic
Centered on the 51/49 proposal Muslim/Serb, Croat
Rejected by the Bosnian Serbs
The Markale Market Massacres
First Markale Massacre
February 5, 1994
68 Killed, 144 Wounded
Second Markale Massacre
August 28, 1995
37 killed, 90 Wounded
NATO responds with bombing
Winter 1992-93 gas, water, and electric is sporadic at best
January 1993 tunnel work begins
Sarajevans volunteer and work 8-hour shfits
1.5 meters in height and width
800 meters in length
Connected Sarajevo with the airport
Allowed supplies to flow in and out
20 million tons of food
1 million people
Most famous moment was the transportation of Bosnian President Alija Izebegovic in his wheelchair
Today 20 meters is open as part of a museum
Sarajevo Tunnel cont……
Occurred November 1-21, 1995 at Wright-Patterson AFB
Negotiations led by U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and negiator Warren Christopher
Agreement reached November 21, treaty signed in Paris December 14
Serbs get 49% of the land(mostly mountains), up from 46% but lose Sarajevo
Serbs leave hills around Sarajevo February 19, 1996. Siege Ends.
Lasted 1,425 days
Including 1,500+ children
Late 1992, early 1993 height of the siege.
Average of 329 shells per day
July 22, 1993 is estimated to be heaviest day, 3,777 shells.
Almost every building damages in some way
Pre-war population: 650,000
Day of Cease Fire: approx 220,000, only 65% of pre-war size
War Crimes Convictions
First commander of the Sarajevo Romanija Corp/ Republica Srpska
December 5, 2003 given 20 years imprisonment
Appealed November 2006, rejected and sentence increased to life imprisonment
War Crimes Convictions cont…
Second commander of Romanija Corp, oversaw second Markale Massacre
Claimed Sarajevo was war zone and civilians got in the way
December 12, 2006 convicted and sentenced to 33 years imprisonment
November 12 th 2009 appealed and sentence reduced to 29 years