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1993: The World Acts but Does Not Halt Atrocities in the Former Yugoslavia

1993: The World Acts but Does Not Halt Atrocities in the Former Yugoslavia

A Bosniak woman forcibly displaced from Srebrenica at a makeshift refugee camp, July 1995.

Targeted civilian groups suffered brutal atrocities throughout the conflicts in the former Yugoslav republics of Croatia (1991–95) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992–95). Though the international community showed little will to stop the crimes as they were taking place, the UN Security Council did establish the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. It was the first international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg and the first mandated to prosecute the crime of genocide.

Nonetheless, the single worst atrocity to occur in Europe since the Holocaust came two years later. In July 1995, the Bosnian Serb army overran the United Nations–declared “safe haven” of Srebrenica. In the following days, they killed some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) men and boys. This incident would later be judged to constitute “genocide ” by the ICTY. In total, 100,000 people died during the Bosnian conflict; some 80% of the civilians killed were Bosniaks.

Photo:  US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Ron Haviv/VII.