The Bosnian War was the bloodiest conflict in Europe since the end of World War II. The war took place between April 6, 1992 and December 14, 1995. The main belligerents were the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and those of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat entities within Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Herzeg-Bosnia, who were led and supplied by Serbia and Croatia respectively. As a result of the war (and primarily as a result of ethnic cleansing), around 100,000 people were killed. All parties to the conflict have committed numerous ethnic cleansing, robberies and rapes. It is estimated that 20,000 to 50,000 women, the majority of whom were Bosniak, were raped, and over 2.2 million people became refugees. In 1995, UN air strikes and sanctions helped bring all parties to a peace agreement. Learn more about the Bosnian War here.
Warning! This post contains photos of injured and dead people that are difficult to view. You have been warned!
1. During the Bosnian War, cellist Vedran Smailovic plays Strauss inside the bombed-out National Library in Sarajevo, on September 12, 1992.
2. A former sniper position on the slopes of mount Trebevic gives a view of Bosnian capital Sarajevo, seen on April 2, 2012.
3. A Bosnian special forces soldier returns fire in downtown Sarajevo as he and civilians come under fire from Serbian snipers, on April 6, 1992. The Serbs were shooting from the roof of a hotel at a peace demonstration of some of 30,000 people as fighting between Bosnian and Serb fighters escalated in the capital of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
4. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić (right) and General Ratko Mladić speak to reporters on November 4, 1992.
5. A Serbian soldier takes cover by a burning house in the village of Gorica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, on October 12, 1992.
6. Smoke and flames rise from houses set on fire by heavy fighting between Bosnian Serbs and Muslims in the village of Ljuta on Mount Igman some 40km southwest from the besieged Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, on July 22, 1993.
7. On her way home in afternoon on Thursday, April 8, 1993 in Sarajevo, a Bosnian woman rushes down an empty sidewalk past war-destroyed shops in one of the worst sections of the so-called “Sniper Alley.”
8. French troops of the United Nations patrol in front of the destroyed mosque of Ahinici, near Vitez, northwest of Sarajevo, on April 27, 1993. This Muslim town was destroyed during fighting between Croatian and Muslim forces in central Bosnia.
9. The “Momo” and “Uzeir” twin towers burn on Sniper Alley in downtown Sarajevo as heavy shelling and fighting raged throughout the Bosnian capital on June 08, 1992.
10. A father’s hands press against the window of a bus carrying his tearful son and wife to safety from the besieged city of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War on November 10, 1992.
11. A Muslim militiaman looks for snipers during a battle with the Yugoslav federal army in Central Sarajevo on Saturday, May 2, 1992.
12. Dead and wounded people lie scattered outside Sarajevo’s indoor market after a mortar shell exploded outside the entrance to the building, on August 28, 1995. An artillery shell killed at least 32 and wounded more than 40 others.
13. Bosnian Croat soldiers taken as prisoners pass a Bosnian Serb soldier after surrendering on the central Bosnian mountain of Vlasic. About 7,000 Croat civilians and some 700 soldiers fled to Serb-held territories under heavy Muslim attack.
14. A Serbian soldier beats a captured Muslim militiaman during an interrogation in the Bosnian town of Visegrad, 125 miles southwest of Belgrade, on June 8, 1992.
15. 122mm heavy artillery of the Bosnian government, in position near Sanski Most, 10 miles (15 kilometers), east of Banja Luka, opens fire at the Serb-controlled town of Prijedor, on October 13, 1995.
16. A woman, standing between markers of fresh graves in a Sarajevo cemetery, mourns over the grave of a dead relative in the early morning, on January 17, 1993. More people came to visit graves of friends and relatives as the dense fog protected them from sniper fire.
17. Seven-year-old Nermin Divovic lies mortally wounded in a pool of blood as unidentified American and British U. N. firefighters arrive to assist after he was shot in the head in Sarajevo, November 18, 1994. The boy was shot and killed by a sniper firing from an apartment building into the Sarajevo city center, along Sarajevo’s notorious Sniper Alley. The U.N. firefighters were at his side almost immediately, but the boy died outright.
18. A top sniper, codenamed “Arrow,” loads her gun in a safe room in Sarajevo, Tuesday, June 30, 1992. The 20-year old Serb who shoots for the Bosnian forces says she has lost count of the number of people she has killed, but that she finds it difficult to pull the trigger. The former journalism student says most of her targets are other snipers on the Serbian side.
19. Rockets explode on Sarajevo downtown center, closed to the Cathedral, on June 5, 1992. Heavy shelling and fighting raged throughout the Bosnian capital overnight. Sarajevo radio said all parts of the city were hit by heavy artillery, leaving at least three people dead and 10 injured in the Muslim stronghold of Hrasnica, which faces the Southwest side of the airport.
20. A Bosnian man cradles his child as they and others run past one of the worst spots for snipers that pedestrians have to pass in Sarajevo, on April 11, 1993.
21. Participants in the Miss Besieged Sarajevo 93 beauty pageant line up on stage holding a banner reading, “Don’t Let Them Kill Us” in front of a packed audience in Sarajevo, on May 29, 1993.
22. Bloodstains cover the wreckage of patients’ rooms at Sarajevo’s Kosevo Hospital on June 16, 1995, after a shell slammed into it killing two and injuring six.
23. A man takes cover behind a truck while looking at the body of Rahmo Seremet, 54, a Sarajevo engineer working for the city, after he was shot dead by a sniper while supervising the installation of an anti-sniper barricade in central Sarajevo, on May 18, 1995.
24. Two prisoners sit on the ground during a visit of journalists and members of the Red Cross in a Serb camp in Tjernopolje, near Prijedor northwest Bosnia, on August 13, 1992.
25. A French U. N. soldier sets up barbed wire in one of the U. N. compounds in Sarajevo, Friday, July 21, 1995.