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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: September 2012

6 - Bosnia and Croatia: Reinforcing Ethnic Divisions


The territory of the former Yugoslavia has hosted several peacebuilding missions. The first major postconflict operation was deployed to Bosnia in 1995. Other missions were created for Croatia (1995) and Kosovo (1999). This chapter focuses on the Bosnia operation and concludes with an analysis of the much smaller Croatia operation. The subsequent mission to Kosovo will be examined in Chapter 11.


War in the former Yugoslavia broke out in June 1991, after two of the country's then-constituent republics – Slovenia and Croatia – declared their independence from the Yugoslav federation. Fighting between Slovenian nationalists and the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) lasted only ten days before the JNA withdrew from Slovenia. In Croatia, however, ethnic Serb residents formed paramilitary units (which were supplied and supported by the JNA) and waged a war against Croatian nationalist forces throughout the second half of 1991. A cease-fire came into effect at the end of the year, but only after Serb militias and the JNA had gained control of roughly one-quarter of the republic's territory. In February 1992, the UN Security Council created the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to monitor the cease-fire in Croatia.

One month later, in March 1992, a referendum on independence was held in neighboring Bosnia, which at the time was still part of Yugoslavia. The vote divided Bosnia along ethnic lines.

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At War's End
  • Online ISBN: 9780511790836
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