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The Third War

The Third War

The Bosnian war and the siege of Sarajevo lasted from 1992 until 1995. Donia notes that the Bosnian Department of Public Health, which reported casualties daily, "counted 10,615 deaths during the siege, with over 75 percent of all deaths occurring in 1992." Demographers at the UN's war crimes tribunal in The Hague "have estimated that 4,352 persons (soldiers and civilians) died violent conflict-related deaths in besieged Sarajevo between September 10, 1992, and August 10, 1994, a period that excludes times of the heaviest shelling in 1992 and 1995."

They found that the wounded numbered more than three times those who were killed, with civilians accounting for about 37 percent of casualties in the city. Shelling accounted for 66 percent of violent civilian deaths, with sniping blamed for another 18 percent of civilian casualties. These numbers, which remain uncertain and contested, in any case fail to capture the fear, agony, and loss felt by Sarajevans who remained in the city.

The war and siege ended without a victor. Persons on all sides were incredulous that the struggle had gone on for so long and been so utterly destructive. The Bosnian Serb nationalists had come close to accomplishing their goal of separating Sarajevo's peoples, but they had failed to bring the city to its knees. Nationalist forces had been strengthened by the war, and the ubiquitous feelings of resentment and desire for revenge dimmed the prospects for large-scale reconstruction and meaningful reconciliation. The Sarajevo siege wrought great and long-lasting devastation on the city that is still felt today.

[p.334]

Sarajevo: A Biography. 2005. Robert Donia [C. Hurst & Co]

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