Bosnia and Herzegovina. In March, the international community appointed Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko a new so-called High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the task of overseeing the peace process. According to countryaah, Inzko succeeded Miroslav Lajcak, who held the post for almost two years. When US Vice President Joe Biden came to visit in May, he strongly urged political leaders to work across ethnic borders so that the country can begin to function as a nation.
In June, the envoy Inzko made it clear that it is not doing so yet: he used his special powers to annul laws passed in the Serbian Republic of the Republic of Srpska. According to Inzko, the laws violated the Dayton Agreement, the peace settlement at the end of the war in 1995. The Bosnian rebels were allowed to retaliate on no less than 68 points, including control of the judiciary, customs revenue, foreign trade and police operations.
The stifled contradictions between the country’s ethnic groups created a deadlock that increasingly emerged as the worst political crisis since the end of the war. From time to time, the Republican Srpska’s leadership threatened with a referendum to break off its territory. This could lead to new outbreaks of violence, mainly Bosnians in the other region, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said. In October, politicians from both camps gathered for talks under the leadership of a US representative and the EU, represented by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. The agenda mainly consisted of constitutional changes to strengthen central power and simplify the complicated bureaucracy that is a result of compromises in Dayton Peace.
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić, who was arrested in Serbia in July 2008, continued to claim that he had immunity from prosecution at the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Karadžić, who was charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1992-95 war, refused to stand when the trial against him began in October. He claimed that he was going to stand for his own defense, pointing out that he needed time to read the nearly one million pages of evidence presented by prosecutors.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sarajevo
Sarajeʹvo, capital of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina; 300 900 residents (2012). Sarajevo is located in the valley of the Miljacka River and is surrounded by high mountains. Trebević (1 629 m asl). From being a small town in the early 1900s, Sarajevo has grown into a modern industrial city with, among other things, metallurgical and textile and automotive industries.
The city’s oriental feel is still noticeable in the city center with the bazaar block from the Ottoman era and mosques with surrounding detached houses on the slopes. There are universities (founded in 1946) and a science academy. Among the buildings are the Gazi Husreff-Bey Mosque of 1530 and the Ali Pasha Mosque of 1561.
In 1984, the Olympic Winter Games were held in the city. During the Yugoslav war, large parts of the city were destroyed, especially industrial and residential areas near the airport.
Traces of settlement date back to the younger Stone Age, but permanent settlement dates only from 1415, adjacent to a high medieval castle. Like Bosna Saraj, the city flourished under Turkish rule from 1463, and it became the administrative center of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1850, which fell to Austria-Hungary in 1878. On June 28, 1914, the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by the Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip, World War I.
Of the 9,000 to 10,000 Jews living in Sarajevo in 1941, a significant proportion of 1941–42 were deported to extermination and concentration camps. Most of the 2,400 Jews who survived the Second World War took refuge in the part of Croatia occupied by Italy.
As the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence and was recognized by the EU countries on 6 April 1992, widespread fighting in Sarajevo between the Serbian militia and the Federal Yugoslav army on the one hand and the Muslim and Croat militia on the other. The Serbs soon entered the city, which, despite extensive shelling, did not fall. The government side consolidated an approximately 11 km × 6 km area, the city itself except a district. The UN forces in Sarajevo were completely powerless as their mandate only applied to Croatia and Sarajevo was chosen as the location for their headquarters. The humanitarian situation quickly became desperate, with indiscriminate Serbian shelling, conscious terror and collapsed electricity, water and food supplies. From the summer of 1992, UN forces took over Sarajevo’s airport and provided food assistance through the city’s residents. Countless ceasefire agreements did not prevent the city from continuing shooting for twenty-two months. 10,000 deaths are estimated to have been claimed during this period. Following a grenade attack on a market square, the worst individual massacre, the UN issued an ultimatum with the threat of NATO air strikes and forced in February 1994 that heavy weapons were withdrawn from a security zone around Sarajevo. The battles around the city were muted, but the war was postponed to other front sections. Sarajevo’s situation deteriorated again in the spring of 1995 and the 1994 agreement became increasingly illusory. In the early summer, the Bosnian army made an unsuccessful attempt to break the siege, but was hit back with heavy losses. In August, a marketplace of grenade missiles was once again hit, and after an ultimatum, NATO flights launched a two-week air offensive against the Bosnian Serb army. Sarajevo’s siege was finalized through the ceasefire and the Dayton agreement in October and November respectively. In the spring of 1996, the Serbian-controlled suburbs of Ilidža and Vogošča were handed over to the Muslim-Croat Federation.
The siege of Sarajevo received a great deal of attention in the news reporting. Among many Western intellectuals, Sarajevo came to symbolize the Bosnian war’s bestiality and the inability of the outside world to protect the civilian population, to step in against war crimes and to take a stand for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integrity as a multi-ethnic state formation. In this respect, the siege of Sarajevo was often compared to the siege of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War. However, after the war, the Dayton Agreement’s de facto division of Bosnia and Herzegovina led to Sarajevo not regaining his former multi-ethnic character. The authorities also showed a keen interest in facilitating the relocation of Serbian refugees and to curb harassment.