History of Islam/Modern period/Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

The 1990 parliamentary elections led to a national assembly dominated by three ethnically-based parties, which had formed a loose coalition to oust the communists from power. Croatia and Slovenia's subsequent declarations of independence and the warfare that ensued placed Bosnia and Herzegovina and its three constituent peoples in an awkward position. A significant split soon developed on the issue of whether to stay with the Yugoslav federation (overwhelmingly favored among Serbs) or seek independence (overwhelmingly favored among Bosniaks and Croats). A declaration of sovereignty in October 1991 was followed by a referendum for independence from Yugoslavia in February and March 1992 boycotted by the great majority of Bosnian Serbs. The turnout in the independence referendum was 63.7% and 99.4% voted for independence. The controversy lies in the fact that the referendum failed to surpass the constitutional two-third required majority. But Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence nevertheless Following a tense period of escalating tensions and sporadic military incidents, open warfare began in Sarajevo on April 6.

International recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina increased diplomatic pressure for the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) to withdraw from the republic's territory which they officially did. However, in fact, the Bosnian Serb members of JNA simply changed insignia, formed the Army of Republika Srpska, and continued fighting. Armed and equipped from JNA stockpiles in Bosnia, supported by volunteers and various paramilitary forces from Serbia, and receiving extensive humanitarian, logistical and financial support from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republika Srpska's offensives in 1992 managed to place much of the country under its control. By 1993, when an armed conflict erupted between the Sarajevo government and the Croat statelet of Herzeg-Bosnia, about 70% of the country was controlled by Republika Srpska. The ethnic cleansing and civil rights violations against non-serbs were rampant in these areas. Until today the DNA teams are still digging through the mass graves which were left as a result of the campaign. One single most prominent example is the Massacre of Srebrenica, ruled genocide by the Hague Tribunal. The third war party, Bosnian Muslims, also called Bosniaks, was supported financially or otherwise by some pro-Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia.

In March 1994, the signing of the Washington accords between the leaders of the republican government and Herzeg-Bosnia led to the creation of a joint Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The signing of the Dayton Agreement in Dayton, Ohio by the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Alija Izetbegović), Croatia (Franjo Tuđman), and Yugoslavia (Slobodan Milošević) brought a halt to the fighting, roughly establishing the basic structure of the present-day state. The number of identified victims is currently at 97,207 and the recent research estimates the total number to be less 110,000 killed (civilians and military) and 1.8 million displaced. This is being addressed by the International Commission on Missing Persons.

The Bosnian government charged Serbia of complicity in genocide in Bosnia during the war at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In its verdict (2007), the Court found that Serbia had not committed or conspired to commit genocide. It also concluded that Serbia was not complicit in genocide. It also dismissed Bosnian claims that genocide has been committed on the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It did, however, find that Serbia had violated the obligation under the Genocide Convention to prevent the specific instance of genocide that occurred at Srebrenica in 1995.