Genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina


"Ethnic Cleansing"

The largest massacre in European history since the Holocaust was the Genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Unrest and conflict was rising steadily in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovnia. The major ethnic groups of that time included the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. The "ethnic cleansing" began when the Serbs started attacking the Muslims in Bosnia.

It all started in 1992 when the government of Bosnia declared independence from Yugoslavia. Thus the country of Bosnia was formed. It was populated by the three rivalry ethnic groups of Serbs, Croats, and Muslims as long as many other groups. Eventually racial tensions rose and the Serbs began massacring the Muslims in Bosnia. Even though the Holocaust was long over, the genocide in Bosnia Herzegovina brought back the terrible concentration camps to "ethnically cleanse" human beings. An estimated 200,000-400,000 Muslims died as a result of the Bosnia Herzegovnia genocide.

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Eyewitness Accounts

Hasan Nuhanović

In 1992 Hasan Nuhanović and his family fled their town to try and find peace. Nuhanović found a job with the United Nations peacekeepers in Srebenica as a translator. The Bosnian Serbs attacked in 1995 and Hasan and his family sought shelter at the UN base. The Dutch peacekeepers handed the civilians over the Serbs, who separated the men from the women and children. Hasan was allowed to stay because of his job but his family was forced off the base. His family was among the 8,000 Bosniaks killed by the Serbs.

Dragan Obrenović

Dragan Obrenović was chief of staff and commander of the 1st Zvornik Infantry Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army. Obrenović halped implement the plan to kill the Bosniak civilians and prisoners of war. He was indicted for his role in the massacres in 2003, pleaded guilty to crimes against humanity, and is currently serving a 17 year sentence in a Norwegian prison.

Christiane Amanpour

Christiane Amanpour was a journalist who covered war zones. She broadcast the problems in Bosnia on CNN. In April 1993 she reported the evacuation of Bosniak civilians who had been wounded, many of which were children.

Nataša Kandić

Nataša Kandić is a human rights advocate who documented the war in Bosnia. She has gone through frontliens to provide leage aid and help establish the truth of Serbian war crimes. In 2003 a former member of the Skorpions contacted her that he was willing to testify against his former friends. A year later Kandić secured a home video of the Skorpions executing Bosniak men and boys. After it was shown on television the videotape had significant impact on Serbian public opinion.

Genocide in Bosnia Herzegovina

Involvement of the United States

At first, the United States refused to get involved in attempting to stop the threat of war in Bosnia and Croatia. Our country did not want to take the lead in ending the violence. Then, almost four years after the breakup of Yugoslavia, a war broke out. The United States, as previously mentioned, was reluctant to get involved. However, an “ethnic cleansing” - which we know today as the Bosnia-Herzegovina genocide - broke out in Bosnia, causing the United States to change their mind. Around the summer of 1995, the United States took on a role to end the war in Bosnia. There had been previous attempts to get involved in the war in Bosnia, but they were half-hearted attempts and ultimately failed. The complex reasoning for finally getting involved deals with crisis management and policy-making processes.

There are no known survivors living in the United States.

Avoiding Genocides in the Future

In order to prevent terrible events like genocides we must take action. We can educate the public so that they can understand what has happened in the past and learn not to make the same mistakes again. Countries can also crack down on moral laws. We can also tell the world how unethical it is to exterminate a race of people. It is not right to kill other human beings no matter how many. We should not judge people just because of what they believe in or look like. Genocide is a horrible thing that we must try to prevent as much as possible for generations to come.