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Srebrenica Timeline

A Muslim woman mourns at a cemetery of Srebrinica victims (epa file photo) (epa) July marks 10 years since the massacre of some 8,000 Bosnian-Muslim men and boys in the small town in eastern Bosnia whose name has become virtually synonymous with ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia. The single bloodiest event of the 1992-95 Bosnian war, the Srebrenica roundup and genocide of Muslims by Serbs came two years after the area was declared a UN safe haven.

The international community has been heavily criticized for its role in concentrating the eventual victims before retreating ahead of the five-day slaughter, which many regard as a planned extermination at the hands of the Bosnian Serb leadership. Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and ex-army commander Ratko Mladic have been indicted for their roles in the genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but they remain at large. A major commemoration ceremony is planned for Potocari, Bosnia-Herzegovina, on 11 July to mark the 10th anniversary of what is widely considered Europe's worst atrocity since the Holocaust.

April 16, 1993: The UN Security Council backs Resolution 819, declaring it is "deeply alarmed" at the "rapid deterioration of the situation in Srebrenica and its surrounding areas." The Security Council "demands that all parties and others concerned treat Srebrenica and its surrounding area as a safe area which should be free from any armed attack or any other hostile act."

May 1995: Serbs hold some 350 Dutch peacekeepers hostage around Sarajevo in response to NATO air strikes.

Bosnian-Muslim women mourning the victims of Srebrenica (epa file photo)

May 22, 1995: The UN commander in Bosnia, General Bertrand Janvier, implores the UN Security Council to protect the Srebrenica area through either troop increases or a withdrawal of the lightly armed peacekeepers to allow for air strikes to break the Serb paramilitary forces' grip on the area.

July 1995: For months, Bosnian Serbs have been tightening their hold on the Srebrenica enclave, including halting international convoys to the area.

July 5, 1995: Artillery strikes reach southern Srebrenica.

July 6-9, 1995: Muslim defenders in Srebrenica unsuccessfully plead for the return of their surrendered weapons from international peacekeepers amid the Serbian offensive. Dutch peacekeepers request "close air support" from UN superiors but are rejected. Bosnian Serb forces intensify the attacks, including on UN observation posts and refugee centers, prompting a flight of refugees from Srebrenica. A Dutch peacekeeping post is attacked, and more than two dozen peacekeepers are taken hostage by Bosnian Serb fighters.

July 10, 1995: A Dutch request for air strikes is eventually granted but called off when Serbs' attacks abate. Still, the Dutch commander vows that NATO will launch air strikes if Serbian forces do not retreat by the next morning. Refugees continue to scramble to seek safety near Dutch peacekeeping positions.

July 11, 1995: Dutch fighters drop two bombs on Serbian forces; Bosnian Serbs counter with a threat to kill the Dutch hostages and shell refugees. The NATO air strikes are abandoned. Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic enters Srebrenica, and warns the Dutch commander that the city's inhabitants must turn over any weapons or risk death.

July 12, 1995: Tens of thousands of Muslims are bused out of the area, but Bosnian Serbs separate out men and boys from the others. Thousands of fighters fleeing overnight are targeted by Bosnian Serb artillery.

July 13, 1995: Reports emerge of execution-style killings by Bosnian Serbs. Peacekeepers turn over thousands of Muslims who had sought shelter at a Dutch camp to Bosnian Serbs, who release more than a dozen Dutch hostages. In the next several days, further reports of mass killings by Bosnian Serbs will emerge with survivors who have made their way out of Srebrenica.

July 16, 1995: Negotiations with Bosnian Serb forces result in Dutch peacekeeping forces being allowed to leave the area, although they leave behind supplies and weaponry.

November 16, 1995: Initial indictments are brought against Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic by the International War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), also known as the international war crimes tribunal. Mladic and Karadzic are charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws or customs of war.

August 2, 2001: Former Bosnian Serb senior commander Radislav Krstic is found guilty of genocide for his role at Srebrenica, marking the first conviction for genocide relating to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. Krstic is sentenced to 46 years in prison.

April 16, 2002: Dutch government resigns following report holding it partly responsible for deaths in Srebrenica, which was under the protection of lightly armed Dutch soldiers.

August 19, 2004: The ICTY rules that the atrocities perpetrated against the mostly Muslim population in Srebrenica constitutes an act of genocide by Bosnian Serb forces.

November 10, 2004: The government of Bosnia-Herzegovina's Republika Srpska apologizes to relatives of Bosnian Muslims killed in Srebrenica. An official statement concedes that "a war crime of enormous proportions took place" in July 1995.

November 15, 2004: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan predicts that a new report by a panel in Republika Srpska on the massacre could lead to action against the perpetrators.

March 31, 2005: Bosnian Serb authorities announce that they are investigating nearly 900 officials to determine whether they had any role in the Srebrenica atrocities. "The New York Times" reports that a commission of inquiry has given state prosecutors the names of 892 people it suspects of culpability over Srebrenica.

May 2005: International High Representative to Bosnia-Herzegovina Paddy Ashdown accuses authorities in Republika Srpska of failing to provide specific data on individuals who participated in the Srebrenica massacre. A republican commission is slated to complete its work by the end of September 2005 and bring the culprits to justice.

The Srebrenica video (epa file photo)

June 2, 2005: Video footage of Bosnian Serb soldiers taking part in the execution of unarmed men around Srebrenica is presented at the international war crimes tribunal's trial of former Yugoslav and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. The footage, which includes execution-style killings as well as conversations in which Bosnian Serbs discuss ways to "make [their deaths] look like an escape attempt" is later broadcast on Serbian television.

June 3, 2005: Serbian President Boris Tadic announces that "Serbia is deeply shocked." "Those images are proof of a monstrous crime committed against persons of a different religion...."he adds. "All those who committed war crimes must be held accountable; only in this way will we be able to have a future. We must not close our eyes to the cruelty that took place."

(compiled by Naida Skrbic and RFE/RL OnLine)

See also:

The Film That Shook Belgrade

Belgrade's Ambiguous Response To Srebrenica

Ten Years After Srebrenica

RFE/RL Balkan Report

RFE/RL Balkan Report


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