20 Years Since The Bosnian War

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Bosnian War, a long, complex, and ugly conflict that followed the fall of communism in Europe. In 1991, Bosnia and Herzegovina joined several republics of the former Yugoslavia and declared independence, which triggered a civil war that lasted four years. Bosnia's population was a multiethnic mix of Muslim Bosniaks (44%), Orthodox Serbs (31%), and Catholic Croats (17%). The Bosnian Serbs, well-armed and backed by neighboring Serbia, laid siege to the city of Sarajevo in early April 1992. They targeted mainly the Muslim population but killed many other Bosnian Serbs as well as Croats with rocket, mortar, and sniper attacks that went on for 44 months. As shells fell on the Bosnian capital, nationalist Croat and Serb forces carried out horrific "ethnic cleansing" attacks across the countryside. Finally, in 1995, UN air strikes and United Nations sanctions helped bring all parties to a peace agreement. Estimates of the war's fatalities vary widely, ranging from 90,000 to 300,000. To date, more than 70 men involved have been convicted of war crimes by the UN.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Kirill Kudryavtsev / Reuters

    Russia's New Spaceport: The Vostochny Cosmodrome

    For the past five years, Russia has been building a new spaceport in its Far East, about 3,500 miles (5,500 kilometers) away from Moscow, called the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

  • Renaud Philippe

    Rebuilding Nepal by Hand

    The photographer Renaud Philippe returned to the epicenter of last year’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake to document what progress has been made in some of the hardest-to-reach villages.

  • Christian Charisius / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 4/23-4/29

    A shepherd pulls a lamb into the sea in Gaza City, President Obama meets Prince George in London, the aftermath of Ecuador’s earthquake, and much more.

  • 2016 Audubon Photography Awards

    Spectacular wildlife photography: the winners and runners-up from the 2016 Audubon Photography Awards competition.

Join the Discussion