Yugoslavia was a country located in Southeast Europe for most of the 20th century. The country of the time was made up of Bosnia, Kosovo, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Macedonia. Ethnic conflict among those nations eventually led to the dismantling of Yugoslavia.
Throughout its lifespan, Yugoslavia had a history of political, economic, cultural conflict and ethnic tension. Between 1992 and 1995, 100,000 people were killed as an attempt by Serbia to preserve its rule over Bosnia.
It all started in April of 1992, when Bosnia was recognized as an independent country by Europe and the United States. The three main actors in the conflict were the Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats and although the international community tried to create peace in the region, they did not succeed.
The Serbs began bombing major cities in Bosnia and took hold of large areas in order to form their territory. In addition, they started campaigning against fundamentalist Muslims who aimed to slaughter the Serbian nation. This led to Genocide against Bosnians living in the areas under Serbian control. Their goal was to wipe out the educated, the intellectual, the wealthy and any other non-Serb who actively opposed their rule.
In May of the same year, the Serbs began segregating Muslims and Croats in Northwest Bosnia and the Muslims were sent to concentration camps. There, they were beaten, starved and dehydrated, sexually assaulted, tortured before finally being killed. Other civilians were forced into closed train cars and sent to areas ruled by Bosnia which caused a mass exodus of Muslims in Northwest Bosnia. Out of an initial population of 550,000 Muslims and Croats, by mid-1994 only 50,000 remained in their homes.
In April of 1993, the United Nations declared the city of Srebrenica a demilitarized protected area. The Serbs considered the area of the city to be strategically important and attempted to conquer it. Serbian forces and ammunition were sent to the city and blocked the entry of supplies to the Bosnian people.
In July of 1995, Serbian forces took control of the city of Srebrenica and on the 11th of July, between 20,000 and 25,000 Bosnian refugees arrived. On the following day, Serbian soldiers went into the crowd of refugees and began killing selected people. Women and children were put on buses and sent to the North of the country, while some men were taken into ‘the white house’ and shot to death. Others (8,000 men) were packed into trucks and sent to killing fields, where they were tied up and killed with automatic weapons before being buried in mass graves.
In contrast to other ethnic conflicts that occurred during the same time, the war in Bosnia was widely covered by international media. Although the international community was aware of the situation in the region, no major steps were taken to interfere and end the genocide. After extensive international negotiations and deliberations, the United States intervened by offering economic incentive in return for a peace agreement.
Violence continued until August of 1995, when NATO forces began airstrikes against the Serbs. This resulted in them surrendering and the end of the war in Bosnia. After the Dayton Accords was signed, Bosnia was split into separate Serb and Muslim regions and the Serbs stayed in Bosnia.
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