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Justice and reparations still critical, 30 years on from Sarajevo siege |


The siege began after Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence following the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.

Bosnian Serbs largely opposed independence, while two other large ethnic groups, Bosnian Muslims and Croats, supported separation from Belgrade.

The Bosnian Serb army began shelling the capital city in April 1992, a continuous offensive that lasted nearly four years.

It was the longest blockade since the Second World War, with more than 12,000 people killed, and marked a pivotal moment in the Bosnian War.

Fight against atrocities

The UN Resident Coordinator for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ingrid Macdonald, met with survivors’ associations around the country.

Ms. Macdonald continues to emphasize the importance of against denying atrocities and glorifying war criminals, speak United Nations Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, speaking at a daily news conference from New York.

“She said such rhetoric prolongs the suffering of survivors and victims’ families and has no place in a democratic society,” Mr. Dujarric told journalists.


Women near the town of Kladanj, in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995).

© UNICEF / LeMoyne

Women near the town of Kladanj, in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995).

End hatred and discrimination

Ms. Macdonald has also called on political leaders to take measures to prevent and take action against any manifestation of hatred and discrimination.

They are also encouraged to ensure that everyone there lives in an environment of mutual understanding, respect and dignity.

The United Nations has repeatedly spoken out against the growing hate speech in this country and in neighboring Serbia, decades after the Bosnian War.

The conflict ended in December 1995 and was one of the bloodiest fighting to occur in Europe in the last century.

Horrible crimes have been committed, including campaigns of ethnic cleansing such as the massacre of thousands of Muslim men and boys in Srebrnica in July 1995.

Last June, a United Nations court upheld a 2017 life sentence for the head of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladić, who had commanded the killings.



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