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The Institute for Domestic and International Affairs

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia Background Information Rutgers Model United Nations 16-19 November 2006

Director: Samuel Zeidman

Š 2006 Institute for Domestic & International Affairs, Inc. (IDIA) This document is solely for use in preparation for Rutgers Model United Nations 2006. Use for other purposes is not permitted without the express written consent of IDIA. For more information, please write us at

A Note on Nomenclature _______________________________________________________ 1 Ethnicities _______________________________________________________________________ 1 Nationalities______________________________________________________________________ 1

Historical Background_________________________________________________________ 3 World War II and the Rise of Tito ___________________________________________________ 4 After Tito: The Breakup of Yugoslavia _______________________________________________ 6 Slovenia and Croatia ______________________________________________________________ 8 Bosnia and Herzegovina___________________________________________________________ 10 Safe Area Srebrenica as a Refugee Collection Point ____________________________________ 13 Reaction to Srebrenica ____________________________________________________________ 16 Kosovo _________________________________________________________________________ 17

Works Cited ________________________________________________________________ 18

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A Note on Nomenclature To better understand the various conflicts of the Balkan Peninsula and of the refugee crisis at large, it is necessary to define specific terminology.

These terms will

make some of the complexities of this area more manageable, and will offer the reader a better comprehension of the tensions of the region.

Definitions and explanations that

follow should be considered generalizations and not hard and fast rules.


statements of religious affiliation should be limited to descriptive understanding only.

Ethnicities Bosniak: Nation of people generally collected in the center of what is today Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosniaks are typically of the Muslim faith, and represent the northern-most territorial boundary of the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I. Croat: Nation of people generally collected in the Republic of Croatia during the time of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Croats are typically Roman Catholic and identify largely with their European neighbors. Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I. Serb: Nation of people found in eastern Bosnia, eastern Croatia (Slavonia) and throughout Serbia. Serbs are typically practice the eastern order of Orthodox Catholicism. Serbia was largely controlled by the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I. Slovene: Slovenes are most closely related to their European neighbors and are typically Roman Catholic.

Nationalities Bosnian: Bosnians are citizens of the present state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia has historically been a mixture of Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs throughout history. Bosnians are typically split by those with an affinity toward Turkish or Western culture. Croats settled largely in the western regions (Herzegovina), Bosniaks largely in the center (Bosnia), and Serbs can be found primarily in the eastern regions of the country (Republika Srpska). Croatian: Croatians are citizens of the present state of Croatia. Before the 1990s, Croats were located primarily in the southern (Dalmatia) and central (Croatia)

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regions. Serbs were often found to be living in the eastern regions (Eastern Slavonia). Macedonian: Macedonians are citizens of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Due to its proximity to Albania, the FYROM had a substantial Albanian population. Serbian1: Serbians are citizens of the present state of Serbia and Montenegro. Before the war, Serbia was home primarily to Serbs, but there also existed significant Hungarian and Albanian populations. After the war, Serbia is made up almost entirely of Serbs. Slovenian: Slovenians are citizens of the present state of Slovenia. Slovenians are very close in their relationships to Europe and the population is largely homogenous. Before the breakup of Yugoslavia, all six republics were members of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY)


In the post-war period, the remnants of the former Yugoslavia were limited to Serbia and Montenegro, and Montenegro gained independence in 2006. Serbia is considered to have dominated Montenegro in both political and military arenas. As such, the Montenegrans were not significant players during the conflicts of the 1990s.

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Historical Background To conceptualize the nationalism upon which leaders in the 20th Century mobilized their citizens during the conflicts in the southern Slavic region, one must begin in the fourteenth century. The Battle of Kosovo Polje occurred on Vidovdan, or St. Vitus Day, in 1389 and became a date enshrined in the national consciousness of Serbs. On this day, the Serbs lost to the conquering

Western Balkans

Ottoman Empire as it sought to establish a stronghold in Europe. To this day, the Serbian Orthodox observe this holiday.

Despite its

importance to the collective tradition of the Serbian people as an anniversary of their ancestors valiantly fighting against oppression, it represents an occasion after which Serbs would be subjugated by their Ottoman masters.2 Nevertheless, St. Vitus Day would retain its historical significance for those rallying behind Serb national pride even at the end of the 20th Century. The idea of an independent Serbian state, though, did not come into favor until the 19th Century. The Southern Slavic states began achieving independence in 1878 with the Congress of Berlin, which followed the Russo-Turkish War. Under that agreement, both Serbia and Montenegro became independent, and Bosnia and Herzegovina came under the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. National tensions remained, however, and at the beginning of the 20th Century they culminated in what became a global war. On 28 June 1914, St. Vitus Day, the assassination of the Habsburg Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip became the spark that ignited the “powder keg of Europe,� a principle cause of the First World War. Ferdinand, 2

John B. Allcock, Explaining Yugoslavia (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 316-7.

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according to popular opinion at the time, was in favor of “trialism,” which was a proposal to grant the southern Slavs autonomy within Austria-Hungary.3 One month following the assassination, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The assassination was not the sine qua non of a widespread European conflict. Under the many treaties and alliances in effect in Europe at the time, widespread war in hindsight, seemed inevitable. World War I officially began on 1 August 1914, though the Balkan states were not its primary focus of battle. The war sounded the death knell for the Ottoman Empire, which even before the war was in such decline that it had earned the nickname “the sick man of Europe.” Upon the conclusion of the Great War in 1918, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes came into being. On 28 June 1921, the Vidovdan Constitution outlined a predominantly Serbian, centralist government for the Kingdom, although in 1929 the President of Serbia suspended the constitution in favor of establishing a dictatorship. After a decade of autocratic rule, a Sporazum (compromise) allowed for an independent government based in Croatia. Called Hrvatska, its federal structure arguably may have blossomed into the “First Yugoslavia.” The chaos of the Second World War, however, arrived before the new government had sufficient time to create orderly and structured rule.4

World War II and the Rise of Tito Two years after the German invasion of Poland, World War II began directly affecting the fledgling government in Yugoslavia.

In 1941, the Nazis invaded

Yugoslavia and quickly installed a Ustaša regime in Croatia sympathetic to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The states surrounding Yugoslavia began annexing its territory as their own in the name of ethnic rights.5 Meanwhile, both Germany and Italy established protectorates in Serbia and Montenegro, respectively. In Croatia, the Ustaša government operated a concentration camp, Jasenovac, in which both Serbs and Jews faced


Carole Rogel, The Breakup of Yugoslavia and the War in Bosnia, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998), 6. Allcock, 269. 5 Rogel, 10. 4

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extermination. The extent to which this death camp killed Serbs would become an important issue of debate in the ensuing dialogue that became Yugoslavia. Widespread resistance to the occupation soon became the norm. By the next year, fighting between rival collaborationist and resistance factions plunged the state into civil war.

The conflict pitted members of the same

nationality and even family against each other. During this time, more than any other, such fratricidal conflict set the grim precedent of ethnic conflict in the region.6 In the end, Josip Broz Tito, whose parents were Croatian and Slovenian, and who lived in Serbia, emerged the victor as leader of

Ustaša: The Ustaše was a Croatian far-right organisation put in charge of the Independent State of Croatia by the Axis Powers in 1941. They pursued Nazi/fascist policies and were subsequently expelled by the communist Yugoslav partisans and the Red Army in 1945. Source:

the communist resisters. By 1945, Tito had attained sufficient control of the region to establish the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). Map of Serbia and its Constituent Provinces

The Yugoslav government under Tito deemphasized nationalism on the grounds that it led to the destabilization of the region underscored throughout World War II.7 The SFRY consisted of six republics: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia, and two autonomous areas within Serbia Kosovo8 and Vojvodina.


initially aligned itself with the Soviet Union only to face expulsion after a confrontation between Tito and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1948. No longer a part of the Soviet Union, the SFRY captured the attention of the West, from which it now received aid, 6

Jeffrey S. Morton, et al. (ed.), Reflections on the Balkan Wars: Ten Years After the Break Up of Yugoslavia (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 6. 7 Ibid, 6. 8 Kosovo, the site of the battle that bears its name from 1389, had become a haven for a largely Albanian population, while Vojvodina was primarily a Hungarian region.

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though it remained a communist government. Continuing his practice of non-alignment, Tito continued his rule until his death in 1980, effectively balancing his relationship with both the United States and the Soviet Union. In order to limit the effect of nationalism, Tito implemented a variety of programs that sought to unite Yugoslavia as a single country, not of six constituent republics. Economic development programs were established throughout the country, ensuring that despite its communist nature, that prosperity could be had in all sectors. In addition, Tito strongly advocated intermarriage among ethno-linguistic groups. The product of a mixed marriage, Tito believed strongly that if there was a meaningful interrelation among the people of Yugoslavia, then it would be unlikely that these groups would turn on themselves in any sort of a violent way.

After Tito: The Breakup of Yugoslavia The death of Tito, the charismatic ‘president-for-life’ who gained fame and power as a leader of a resistance movement during World War II, placed Yugoslavia in similar circumstances as the Fifth Republic in France after De Gaulle stepped down.


government created around a uniquely popular personality now lacked that unifying executive, and changes in the government were inevitable.

Consequentially, the

nationalism that Tito had worked so hard to suppress renewed itself in force in the years following his passing, and other aspects of the “Titoist” ideology that prevailed during his rule crumbled as well.9

In 1986, the Serbian Academy of Sciences published a

memorandum accusing Tito of causing the economic woes of Serbians through a variety of discriminatory policies, including granting equal authority within the federal government to Kosovo. The Academy felt the territory rightfully belonged to Serbia as part of “Greater Serbia” ideals. Historically, Kosovo had long been a part of Serbia, however it had become ninety per cent Albanian and just ten per cent Serb by the 20th


Allcock, 241.

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Century. During this time, the majority of Kosovars, afraid of the growing Serbian nationalism present even under Tito, clamored for uniting Kosovo with Albania.10 During this wave of nationalist sentiment, a heretofore inconspicuous bureaucrat named Slobodan Milošević capitalized upon the prevailing attitudes of those who sympathized with the memorandum. He soon rose to the leadership of the Serbian Slobodan Milosevic

League of Communists (SKS). He had, as a member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, moved through the ranks by giving speeches and pledging actions that appealed to Serbian nationalists. Many of these promises particularly addressed the protection of minority of Serbs who lived in Kosovo.11 In a speech delivered to what was estimated as a crowd of nearly one million people on the 600th anniversary of Serbian

defeat on the fields of Kosovo Polje, Slobodan Milošević responded to an attack on Serbian nationalists by Albanians by calling for “unity and prosperity,” a common reprise in Yugoslavia, however his speech was considered to be wildly nationalistic, and some felt that is was a harbinger of things to come. Slovenia, afraid of further consequences arising from the newest applications of the Greater Serbia philosophy, organized a walkout of a session of the communist congress in Belgrade in January 1990. The Croat delegation followed, effectively sealing the fate of the League of Communists. In that year, nationalist sentiments across the region revealed themselves in the subsequent elections held in the Yugoslav republics. In Croatia, former communist Franjo Tudjman, the candidate of the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), won the presidency. In Slovenia, the presidential victor was Milan Kucan, also a former communist. Milošević won in Serbia, representing the new Social Democratic Party. Momir Bulatovic, a reformist who nevertheless allied with Milošević, achieved victory in 10

Morton, 6. Week in Review Desk, “A Whirlwind of Hatreds: How the Balkans Broke Up,” The New York Times, 14 February 1993. Online: Lexis-Nexis,


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Montenegro. Lastly, Alija Izetbegović of the Muslim Party of Democratic Action won in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Shortly before the elections, Milošević took $1.8 billion from the Yugoslavian federal bank and used it to subsidize various Serbian interests, which no doubt helped assure his victory. At the same time, Milošević began replacing high level military officials with Serbs. The trend toward nationalism in the governments of the Yugoslav republics seemed to undermine the overarching federal structure. Although international actors like the European Community, the United States, and the International Monetary Fund all saw a unified Yugoslavia in their best interests, ultimately the tension between nations became insurmountable.

Slovenia and Croatia On 15 May 1991, according to the standard of rotation of the presidency, Croatian President Stipe Mesic was to assume the post; however the president at the time refused to step down. Borisav Joric, a Serb in association with Milošević, would not relinquish his office and was supported in his resistance by Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Vojvodina. In response, Croatia held referenda to move toward independence and was successful, creating its own national guard. Slovenia, considered by most states to be more European than Yugoslavian, declared its independence on 25 June 1991 after considerable deliberations and planning. Seizing on an opportunity, and fearful of being dragged into the wrong side of a war, Croatia declared its independence on the same day in a somewhat less organized fashion. In response, the Yugoslavian National Army (JNA), with its Serb military commanders, was ordered into Slovenia, however the Slovene National Guard and police effectively suppressed the campaign and it was abandoned after just ten days. Foreign Ministers of the European Community (EC) began an embargo on arms to Yugoslavia on 5 July of that year, seeking to avoid open

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war.12 Two days later, the EC facilitated the Brioni Agreement, formally ending the conflict there. Croatia fared much worse than Slovenia in its efforts







throughout Croatia, devastating the resorts in the city of Dubrovnik, on the Adriatic, along with two heavily populated cities in east Croatia, Osijek and Vukovar. It was in the east of Croatia that Serbia began its policy of “ethnic cleansing,” in an attempt to rid Croatia of Croatians and other non-Serbian nationalities. Again, the EC attempted to negotiate truces, all of which ended shortly after going into effect, often on the same day as their signing.14 The United Nations began its involvement in the conflict with the passage of economic sanctions, including Security Council Resolution 713, which established an embargo on Ethnic Cleansing: the mass expulsion and killing of one ethic or religious group in an area by another ethnic or religious group in that area Source:

arms sales to all of Yugoslavia. These sanctions had no immediate effect, however their long term ramifications would shape the ensuing conflict. Then, in 1992, invoking Chapter VIII of the UN

Charter, the United Nations finally brokered a ceasefire, to be monitored by a protection force (UNPROFOR) of 14,000 peacekeepers.15 At the time of the ceasefire, the situation in Croatia was already dour: the Serbs had already taken control of one third of the state,


Sir Russel Johnston, “The Yugoslav conflict- Chronology of Events from 30th May 1991- 8th November 1993,” Defence Committee of the Western European Union. Online: (Accessed 15 April 2006). 13 Rogel, 25. 14 Johnson. 15 United Press International, “Security Council to Approve Peace Force to Yugoslavia,” 20 February 1992. Online: Lexis-Nexis,

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ten thousand people had been killed, thirty thousand wounded, and the fighting had displaced 730,000 refugees, Croat and Serb alike.16

Bosnia and Herzegovina The United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) established its headquarters in Sarajevo with the intention of basing its administration away from the conflict in Croatia. Unfortunately, fighting would soon come to Bosnia as well. In 1992, fearing domination by Serbian government forces, Bosnian citizens passed a referendum for independence, and gained international recognition from the United States and the EC. Consequently, the Serb-controlled JNA turned its attention to Sarajevo, beginning an epic siege there on 5 April, involving heavy artillery fired upon the city by Serb forces from its surrounding hills.17 Escalating tensions forced the

Alija Izetbegovic

relocation of UNPROFOR to Zagreb, as Radovan Karadzic, the head of the Serbian Democratic Party, led Bosnian






multinational Bosnian government forces.



aimed to create a contiguous Serbian territory encompassing western Bosnia and the Krajina region of Croatia, along with Sarajevo.18

The Bosnian Serbs

were incensed by the independence maneuver by the predominantly Muslim population, and sought to establish a region in which it believed that the rights of Serbs would be protected. While potentially noble in purpose, this effort relied upon ethnic cleansing, in process. Izetbegović called for international help, and on 22 May 1992, the United Nations recognized and admitted Bosnia-Herzegovina as a sovereign state; one week later, it levied sanctions upon Serbia and Montenegro for being the aggressor in the conflict. Despite this seemingly supportive stance, the United 16

Rogel, 26. Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts established pursuant to security council resolution 780 (1992). Online: (accessed 18 April 2006). 18 Rogel, 32. 17

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Nations maintained its arms embargo on the whole of Yugoslavia, including the munitions-weak state of Bosnia. As in Croatia, the sanctions had little mitigating effects. In fact, these sanctions made it quite difficult for Bosnia to defend itself from its Serbian attackers. Of the states involved in the conflict, the Serbians had access to the formidable JNA and held onto major munitions building facilities in the former Yugoslavia, the Croatians received munitions from Germany, the United States, and other supporters, but Bosnia lacked access to the very weapons it needed to defend itself.

Instead of trying to thwart

continued combat, the arms embargo served as a veritable advantage for the invading Serbians who were able to maintain a significant weapons cache for use in its efforts. The presence of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and mass rape forced many Bosnians to flee, causing an influx of refugees in the surrounding areas. Amidst the atrocities, the international community struggled to find an end to the conflict. A Security Council resolution established a no-fly zone over Bosnia, and granted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) the authority to enforce it. The EC and the UN established the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia (ICFY) in September to seek a political solution to the fighting. In an attempt to ease the refugee crisis, the UN also passed resolutions creating nominal “safe areas” in Sarajevo, Bihać, Goražde, Srebrenica, Tuzla, and Žepa, though these lacked effective mechanisms of enforcement. The ICFY in 1993 proposed the Vance-Owen Peace Plan (VOPP), which called for a division of Bosnia into ten provinces. Each ethnic group would receive three provinces, while the UN would take control of the tenth in Sarajevo. Cyrus Vance, the UN envoy, and Lord David Owen, representing the EC, appealed to leaders throughout Yugoslavia to accept the terms of the agreement, and to establish a lasting peace. Only the Croats voiced their acceptance for the proposal, while both Muslims and Serbs voiced objection: Izetbegović refused the plans because it essentially granted a third of Bosnia to the Serbian invaders, the Serbs did not accept the plan because they felt they had more

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opportunity to seize land through combat.19 The Bosnian Serbs, unwilling to give up the territory they had acquired during the fighting, rejected the proposal in May 1993.

Almost irregardless of these

Proposed Peace Plans Red: Serb Majority Blue: Croat Majority Green: Bosniak Majority White: UN control

positions, by the time the VOPP was

Vance Owen Peace Plan

being actively considered, the realities on the ground had essentially made the plan obsolete. The next year saw the proposal of the Owen-Stoltenberg plan, which called for Bosnia to become divided based on ethnicity into a confederation. While it had the support and coauthorship of Milošević and Tudjman, Izetbegović maintained his convictions

Owen-Stoltenberg Plan

for a multinational Bosnia and did not participate in the peace talks.


Bosnian state continued to erode, with tensions escalating between Muslims and a group of Bosnian Croats who believed in Croatian ownership of Herzeg-Bosna, in the southwest.


should be noted that while the Serbians and Bosnian Serbs were most known for ethnic cleansing, that all sides of the conflict were known to have used this strategy.20 19

The Economist, “A Map for Peace: Why the West Must Push for an Imperfect Plan for Bosnia,” 9 January 1993. Online: Lexis-Nexis, 20 Morton, 14.

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In 1994, television footage of a Serb attack in a marketplace in Sarajevo drew considerable international outcry. Before details were known, as in most shellings in Bosnia, the Bosnian government was accused of bombing itself in an effort to bring about international concern for its cause.

When the shells were ultimately identified as

emanating from Serb foces, NATO began enforcing a 20 kilometer safe zone around the city – not specifically to protect the people of Sarajevo, but instead to ensure the safety of UN workers in the area. The Contact Group, the collection of states charged with negotiating a meaningful peace in the area and consisting of France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States, facilitated an agreement accepted by both parties, allowing Bosnian Croats the ability to enter into a confederation with Croatia while simultaneously remaining part of the Bosnian federation.21 Over time, as the initial incursions into Bosnia and Croatia were failing, Milošević realized that he needed to distance himself from the Bosnian Serbs, and ultimately he ordered them to peace.22 In 1995, after negotiations between Tudjman and the United Nations, Croatia launched an offensive to reclaim the territory the Serbs had taken in 1992 with the permission of the international community. After staging successful campaigns to retake the central and eastern areas of the state, the Croatian forces entered into battle with Bosnian forces against the Bosnian Serbs.

Safe Area Srebrenica as a Refugee Collection Point During the war in Bosnia, instead of offering a true intervention force, the international community sought to protect Bosnians in what were termed “safe areas.” These cities were to be guarded by United Nations personnel, and the people who sought refuge there would be both protected, and provided with humanitarian assistance from UN and other relief agencies. These safe areas were located in such areas as Žepa, Srebrenica, and Goražde, and were represented to the Bosnians as areas where Muslims

21 22

Ibid. Rogel, 36.

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and other ethnic groups could safely reside. The implication was that United Nations “blue helmets” would protect these individuals militarily, if necessary. By July 1995, some 40,000 internally


displaced persons from across Bosnia had sought refugee in Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia. These individuals had come to the Muslim enclave after their own homes had been overrun by the advancing Bosnian Serbs.





Srebrenica was deemed a safe haven, and “should be free from any armed attack or any other hostile act.”23 This resolution further called for a general demilitarization of all sides of the conflict, and called upon the UN to “increase the presence” of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to monitor humanitarian assistance.

While the resolution seems to suggest that

UNPROFOR would defend the enclave, the language specifically stated that the role of the UN forces would be for monitoring purposes, not specifically for the protection of the people assumed to be under their care. UNPROFOR sent some 600 lightly armed Dutch soldiers (DutchBat) to Srebrenica to monitor events there. As part of the agreement to have UN soldiers in the area, both sides were required to demilitarize. DutchBat took possession of a few artillery pieces and most of the small arms possessed by the Bosnians that were in Srebrenica. The Bosnian-Serbs agreed to withdraw their heavy artillery and soldiers from the region. The agreement was short-lived.

From 6-8 July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces

continuously shelled the enclave, inflicting casualties on both the IDP and existing civilian population. The newly disarmed Bosnians asked UNPROFOR to return their 23

United Nations Security Council Resolution 819. Resolution S/RES/819, April 16, 1993.

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surrendered weapons so that they would be able to defend themselves, however the Dutch soldiers, under orders from UNPROFOR and the Security Council refused this request. Thousands more Bosnians fled the outlying villages and collected in Srebrenica, assuming they would receive UN protection. On 9 July, the shelling intensified and the Bosnian-Serbs took some thirty Dutch soldiers prisoners. In response, DutchBat issued an ultimatum that the attackers remove their artillery from around the region or suffer NATO air strikes.

Ratko Mladic

The Bosnian-Serbs refused and the following day, NATO dropped two bombs on artillery positions. The Bosnian-Serbs responded with threats to kill their Dutch prisoners if the air strikes were not called off, and NATO, whose paramount mission was to protect UNPROFOR forces, ended further attacks.


hours after the planes returned to NATO bases, Bosnian-Serb military leader Ratko Mladic entered Srebrenica and demanded full disarmament in exchange for the lives of the people in the enclave. The following day, buses arrived to remove all women and children to Muslim territory. Mladic ordered that all males between the ages of 12 and 77 be held for interrogation as potential enemy combatants.

In the end, some 23,000 women and children were

evacuated, and it is estimated that about 15,000 Bosnian men had escaped the enclave into the hills. On 13 July 1995, the DutchBat forces negotiated the release of 14 Dutch soldiers from captivity in exchange for some 5,000 refugees at the base at Potocari. The Dutch further negotiated their safe departure from the region, provided they leave behind their weapons, food, and medical supplies. Over the course of the next three days, the Bosnian-Serbs are believed to have killed more than 8,000 Bosnian men, most in

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Their bodies have been found in mass graves since the

implementation of the Dayton Accords.24

Reaction to Srebrenica When the United Nations arrived in Bosnia, most people assumed that the UN forces would be effective at bringing about peace and security. The UN offered implied guarantees of protection and promoted their efforts at bringing all sides to the negotiating table, while stopping the shooting on the ground. In the end, while the Bosnian refugees held faith in the words of the UN forces, very little was actually done to ensure their protection. UN safe areas at Srebrenica, Goražde and Žepa were overrun, and UN forces did little to protect the innocent or persecuted.

Moreover, UNPROFOR officers

continually informed the Bosnians that their true mission was to enforce the peace, not to bring it about. The result of these events brought about significant distrust of the United Nations and of the Western world, in general in the region. The Bosnians believe that they were abandoned and betrayed by the guarantors of freedom.25 This distrust of international organizations has led to hesitancy in working with the United Nations, the UN High Commission on Refugees, and other organizations as they attempt to return to their homes and to a sense of normalcy. These doubts about real support have caused difficulties in the safe return and repatriation of countless thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons. While fighting has ended throughout the region, there is still widespread hatred and ethnic tension, and there is little faith that the organizations that are pushing so strongly for refugees to return home will provide the necessary protection and security should conflict resurface.26


“Timeline: Siege of Srebrenica,” BBC News, 9 June 2005. Accessed 1 August 2005. 25 Hinchliffe, Michael. Personal interview with Blanca Milutanovic. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 July 2005. 26 Ibid.

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Kosovo Serbian leaders had, in March 1989, eliminated the autonomy of Kosovo by bringing it under Serbian control. In 1991, separatist groups claimed independence for the predominantly Albanian republic.

Albania quickly recognized Kosovo as

independent, and in 1992 the new republic elected Ibrahim Rugova its first president. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) rose in power in 1996, and began claiming responsibility for several attacks on police targets. On 28 February 1998, the death of two Serbian police officers provoked Milošević to retaliate, sending in Serbian military forces that used lethal measures against those whom it considered separatists. Fighting escalated on both sides, with


another ethnic cleansing, this time against the Albanians living in the region.

President Bill

Clinton of the United States, among other world leaders, condemned the attacks and moved international agencies to action to end the conflict. After UN sanctions, a sustained NATO bombing campaign, and the deployment of the NATO peacekeeping force K-FOR, Milošević pulled forces out of Kosovo, paving the way for a cease-fire on 2 June 1999.

By this time,

approximately 860,000 Kosovars had fled to neighboring states, arguably helping achieve Milošević’s goal at a pure Serb population.27


Cooper, Mary H. "Global Refugee Crisis." The CQ Researcher 9, no. 25 (July 8, 1999). (accessed April 18, 2006).

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Works Cited Allcock, John B. Explaining Yugoslavia (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 316-7. Cooper, Mary H. "Global Refugee Crisis." The CQ Researcher 9, no. 25 (July 8, 1999). (accessed April 18, 2006). The Economist, “A Map for Peace: Why the West Must Push for an Imperfect Plan for Bosnia,” 9 January 1993. Online: Lexis-Nexis, Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts established pursuant to Security Council resolution 780 (1992). Online: (accessed 18 April 2006). Hinchliffe, Michael. Personal interview with Blanca Milutanovic. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 July 2005. Johnston, Sir Russel, “The Yugoslav conflict- Chronology of Events from 30th May 1991- 8th November 1993,” Defence Committee of the Western European Union. Online: (Accessed 15 April 2006). Morton, Jeffrey S., et al. (ed.), Reflections on the Balkan Wars: Ten Years After the Break Up of Yugoslavia (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 6. Rogel, Carole. The Breakup of Yugoslavia and the War in Bosnia, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998), 6. “Timeline: Siege of Srebrenica,” BBC News, 9 June 2005. Accessed 1 August 2005. United Nations Security Council Resolution 819. Resolution S/RES/819, April 16, 1993. United Press International, “Security Council to Approve Peace Force to Yugoslavia,” 20 February 1992. Online: Lexis-Nexis, Week in Review Desk, “A Whirlwind of Hatreds: How the Balkans Broke Up,” The New York Times, 14 February 1993. Online: Lexis-Nexis,


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