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The Yugoslav Conflict: A Chronology of Events 1990-1993

by Dr. Timothy L. Sanz
Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS.

Military Review Logo A version of this article appeared in

Military Review

December 1992
under the title: The Yugoslav Conflict: A Chronology of Events

Additional events have been added

The conflict in the former Yugoslavia presents a bewildering number of names, places, and events, especially since the onset of full-scale hostilities after Croatian and Slovenian declarations of independence on 25 June 1991.1 To recall and put these events into perspective, the chronology below provides dates and brief descriptions of the most pivotal developments in the crisis. It begins in 1990, before the breakup of the country, and runs through August 1992; it is intended as a guide for further study of a particular event by pinpointing its exact date. In addition, it provides a succinct history of events leading to the breakup of the country, outbreak and spreading of hostilities, key political moves, and diplomatic peace efforts. The map following the chronology illustrates possible future regions of conflict, including Kosovo, where the Albanian majority is seeking independence, and Serbia where many fear civil war is possible.

EVENTS IN 1990 LEADING UP TO HOSTILITIES

Jan- League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) -- Extraordinary 14th Congress to formalize a reform program; adjourned because of walkout by the Slovenian delegation; end of LCY era.

Jan- Mass protests in Kosovo for the restoration of national and human rights, free elections and a free press; 29 killed.

Apr- Croatian and Slovenian communist parties defeated in May multiparty elections.

7 Sept- Albanian Yugoslav deputies proclaim a separate constitution and independence for Kosovo.

28 Sept- Serbia abolishes self-rule in Kosovo and Vojvodina.

5 Oct- State Presidencies of Croatia and Slovenia propose restructuring Yugoslavia into a confederation of sovereign states.

19 Nov- LCY reorganized as Movement for Yugoslavia; defends socialism and Yugoslavia as a federation.

17 Dec- Yugoslav People's Army (YPA) party organization officially dissolved; political activities and organizations prohibited within the military.

20 Dec- Alija Izetbegovic appointed president of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

23 Dec- Plebiscite on Slovenian independence; 95% favor an autonomous and independent republic.

26 Dec- Slovenia declares sovereignty.

EVENTS IN 1991.

9 Jan- Yugoslav State Presidency instructs the military to disarm illegal paramilitary groups.

14 Jan- Federal Constitutional Court annuls Slovenia's declaration of sovereignty.

24 Jan- Croatian Defense Minister Martin Spegelj puts Croatian defense forces on full alert.

30 Jan- YPA demands the arrest of Croatian Defense Minister Spegelj.

20 Feb- Slovenia passes 11-point plan as a declaration of intent to secede.

21 Feb- Croatia passes laws giving Croatian laws precedence over those of Yugoslavia.

28 Feb- Serbian National Council declares Serbs in Croatia independent.

9-12 Mar- Thousands of students stage anti-communist protests in Belgrade.

14 Mar- Yugoslav President Borisav Jovic resigns in protest of the collective presidency's refusal to authorize military intervention in the political crisis.

16 Mar- Serbs in Krajina, where 200,000 of Croatia's 600,000 Serbs live, announce plans to secede from Croatia.

18 Mar- Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic threatens to arm Serbs living in Croatia unless paramilitary formations there are disarmed.

31 Mar- Armed Serbs ambush Croatian police in Croatia's Plitvice National Park; one Serb and one Croat killed.

18 Apr- Croatian National Assembly establishes a National Guard Corps, a de facto Croatian army.

28 Apr- YPA enters Krajina region to prevent clashes between Serbs and Croats.

30 Apr- Krajina Serbs establish their own "parliament" for union with Serbia.

2 May- Clashes begin between Croatian police and Serbian paramilitary groups in Croatia; 12 Croatian police and 3 Serbs killed in Borovo Selo in Slavonia.

8 May- YPA issues appeal to Yugoslav collective presidency to end the fighting between ethnic groups or give it special powers to impose order.

9 May- Yugoslavia's federal presidency agrees to a series of measures to solve inter-republic conflicts.

13 May- Referendum in Krajina; 99% vote to leave Croatia and join Serbia.

15 May- A constitutional crisis arises when the State Presidency fails to elect a president; Croat Stipe Mesic takes office six weeks later.

16 May- European Community (EC) Parliament warns Yugoslav leaders against staging a military coup.

20 May- Croatian referendum results--94% approve sovereignty within a confederated Yugoslavia.

6 June- Presidents of Yugoslavia's six republics reach agreement for transforming Yugoslavia into a loose federation of sovereign republics.

9 June- Mass anti-government demonstrations in Belgrade calling for the resignation of the socialist (formerly communist) Serbian government.

25 June- Croatian and Slovenian legislatures declare independence.

27 June- YPA begins armed intervention in Slovenia to seize border posts and the airport.

7-8 July- EC representatives hold talks with federal and republic leaders on the island of Brioni; issue the Brioni Declaration "Common Declaration on the Peaceful Resolution of the Yugoslav Crisis".

18 July- The federal State Presidency votes to withdraw the YPA from Slovenia over a three-month period.

23 July- Intense fighting erupts in the Osijek region of eastern Croatia.

29 July- EC decides to increase its unarmed observer team from 50 to possibly 500.

16 Aug- Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina declares its neutrality.

2 Sept- EC cease-fire signed by representatives of the six republics.

3 Sept- Fighting intensifies around Osijek and Vukovar .

4 Sept- Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) passes resolution on arms embargo to Yugoslavia.

8 Sept- 95% of Macedonians vote for independence and sovereignty.

17 Sept- Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina declared.

18 Sept- Macedonia's National Assembly passes an independence declaration.

22 Sept- Bosnia's State Presidency orders mobilization of 23,000 territorial defense personnel.

25 Sept- UN Security Council imposes arms embargo on Yugoslavia.

1 Oct- YPA launches major offensive towards Vukovar and Vinkovci; referendum held in Kosovo where vast majority approve independence.

7 Oct- Croatian capital Zagreb bombed by Yugoslav Air Force; Slovenia's National Assembly breaks all ties with Yugoslavia.

14 Oct- Bosnia's National Assembly approves memorandum on sovereignty and independence.

17 Oct- YPA launches major ground and air offensive with Vukovar and Dubrovnik the main targets.

27 Oct- Muslims in the Sandjak region of Serbia conduct referendum overwhelmingly favoring autonomy.

28 Oct- EC ultimatum to Serbia to transform Yugoslavia into association of sovereign republics.

2 Nov- YPA sieges of Vukovar and Dubrovnik intensify.

18 Nov- Surrender of Vukovar to YPA forces.

20 Nov- Alija Izetbegovic, President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, requests UN troops to protect its borders.

5 Dec- Stipe Mesic, Federal State President, resigns "irrelevant" position.

6 Dec- U.S. Department of State imposes economic sanctions on Yugoslavia.

EVENTS IN 1992.

6 Jan- 15th cease-fire, arranged by UN special envoy Cyrus Vance, goes into effect; lasts until 20 January.

7 Jan- EC monitoring mission helicopter shot down; 5 monitors killed.

8 Jan- Federal Defense Minister Veljko Kadijevic resigns; Blagoje Adzic assumes his duties.

15 Jan- EC formal recognition of Slovenia and Croatia following Germany's lead; numerous other European states follow suit.

30 Jan- Government of the Republic of Macedonia adopts law creating a national army.

23 Feb- Muslim, Serbian, and Croatian leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina reach compromise on setting up Swiss-type loose federal system based on cantons for the republic.

29 Feb- Referendum in Bosnia-Herzegovina; 99.4% favor independence.

1 Mar- Montenegro referendum; majority favor remaining in Yugoslav state with Serbia.

8 Mar- First UN peacekeeping troops dispatched to Croatia.

18 Mar- Leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina's three ruling ethnic parties agree on reshaping political and constitutional makeup of the republic.

27 Mar- YPA completes its evacuation of Macedonia.

4-5 Apr- Escalation of violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

6 Apr- Formal EC recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

7 Apr- U.S. Government's recognition of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina; Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina declares independence.

8 Apr.- Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina declares state of emergency, "a direct danger of war".

22 Apr- Escalation of fighting in Sarajevo.

27 Apr- New constitution for Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) -- Federal Republic of Yugoslavia proclaimed; Bosnia-Herzegovina's State Presidency and government order Serb-dominated federal army to withdraw from the republic.

8 May- Federal army begins withdrawal from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

12 May- Assembly of the "Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina" appoints government, presidency, and army.

15 May- Leaders of Bosnia's ethnic Muslim Party of Democratic Action and the Croatian Democratic Community discuss possible Bosnian-Croatian confederation.

18 May- Yugoslav Air Force completes withdrawal from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

31 May- 50,000 anti-war demonstrators in Belgrade demand end to war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and resignation of Milosevic.

16 June- Presidents Izetbegovic and Tudjman announce "formal military alliance" between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, calling for Croatian military "support" for Bosnia-Herzegovina and ensuring that future Croatian military activity in Bosnia would have approval of Bosnian authorities.

24 June- Serbian police prevent parliament of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo from assembling.

28 June- More than 100,000 demonstrators in Belgrade demand Milosevic's resignation.

30 June- Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney announces U.S. is ready to provide naval and air cover for relief efforts in Sarajevo.

3 July- Proclamation of autonomous "Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosna" by Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

12 July- Serbian offensive begins in Bosnia against the town of Gorazde.

14 July- Milan Panic, Serbian-American businessman, sworn in as new Yugoslav Prime Minister.

21 July- Panic visits UN; suggests UN monitors be stationed at all Yugoslav military bases.

27 July- EC-sponsored talks on Bosnian conflict open.

29 July- UN High Commissioner for Refugees' Conference convenes concerning exodus of refugees from the former Yugoslavia.

5 Aug- Russia extends Macedonia formal diplomatic recognition.

6 Aug- President Bush calls on UN Security Council to authorize "the use of all necessary measures" to ensure delivery of humanitarian aid to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

11 Aug- U.S. Senate passes resolution backing the use of force to protect relief missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

12 Aug- The "Serbian Republic" in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the "Serbian Republic of Krajina" announce intention to unify.

13 Aug- UN Security Council authorizes "all necessary measures" to ensure humanitarian aid to Sarajevo and condemns"ethnic cleansing".

13 Aug- CSCE meetings called to discuss humanitarian aid and NATO's and the West European Union's protection of convoys.

14 Aug- NATO representatives rule out massive use of ground forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

25 Aug- UN General Assembly passes resolution urging the Security Council to take "further appropriate measures" to end fighting and "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

26 Aug- Three-day UN-EC-sponsored London Conference begins with UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali and British Prime Minister Major as co-chairmen; long-term peace plan created for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

31 Aug- UN human rights monitor Tadeuez Mazawiecki blames all sides for human rights violations and condemns "ethnic cleansing".

31 Aug- Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia calls for a vote of no confidence on Prime Minister Milan Panic.

3 Sep- Italian relief plane crashes west of the Sarajevo airport; crew of four killed.

3 Sep- Long-term Geneva Conference opens--jointly sponsored by the UN and the European Community and co-chaired by Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen.

4 Sep- Prime Minister Milan Panic survives vote of no confidence.

8 Sep- Two French peacekeepers killed and two others wounded by an attack on a UN convoy.

9 Sep- Muslim Council of the Sandzak reports that approximately 70,000 Muslims have fled the region allegedly because of Serbian military terror.

10 Sep- Croatian security forces report impounding an Iranian 747 aircraft loaded with arms bound for Muslim forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

14 Sep- UN Security Council Resolution 776 calls for a four- to five-fold expansion of the UN force to enable the delivery of humanitarian relief.

15 Sep- Increase in clashes between Croatian and Muslim militia in towns in Herzegovina, especially in Prozor and Vitez.

15 Sep- Macedonian government in Skopje decides to construct defense facilities along the border with Serbia, in addition to CSCE patrols.

16 Sep- Russian Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev states Russia fully supports a UN seat for the new Yugoslavia.

16 Sep- 3-day CSCE meeting in Prague focuses on the Yugoslav conflict and the possibility of war spilling over into Kosovo and the Macedonia.

19 Sep- UN Security Council Resolution 777 recommends that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) should not participate in the work of the Assembly and should apply for membership in the UN.

21 Sep- Bosnian Foreign Minister Haris Silajdzic proposes a new constitutional framework for the republic at the Geneva Conference; the plan preserves Bosnia as a single state but decentralizes some functions to different regions.

24 Sep- Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle and Croatia's Cardinal Franjo Ruharic issue statement in Geneva calling for immediate negotiations between Croats and Serbs; condemn ethnic cleansing and call for the closing of camps.

29 Sep- Ethnic cleansing intensifies; international relief officials claim Serbian forces have begun systematically expelling 200,000 Muslims from northwestern Bosnia in the Banja Luka area.

30 Sep- Presidents Tudj man of Croatia and Cosic of Yugoslavia sign an 8-point declaration in Geneva; calls for the withdrawal of federal Yugoslav army from the Croatian Prevlaka Peninsula; condemns ethnic cleansing; pledges to use their influence to end the fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

6 Oct- Serbian forces occupy Bosanski Brod in northern Bosnia and reinforce the land corridor connecting Serbia with Serbian enclaves in the other republics.

9 Oct- UN Security Council adopts Resolution 781 banning all flights over Bosnia except for UN humanitarian flights.

12-14 Oct- 50,000 ethnic Albanians demonstrate in Pristina and other towns; protest the Serbianization of the curricula in schools and the university; demand the reopening of Albanian-language schools closed by Serbia in 1990.

24 Oct- Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic elected president of the ruling Socialist party of Serbia.

29 Oct- Serbian forces take the western Bosnian Muslim enclave of Jajce.

3 Nov- Prime Minister Milan Panic narrowly survives second vote of no confidence in the Federal Assembly.

5 Nov- General headquarters of the Iranian armed forces pledges to provide any kind of material or moral assistance to Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

16 Nov- UN Security Council votes to impose a blockade on the Adriatic and Danube River against truncated Yugoslavia.

22 Nov- NATO begins enforcing a blockade on the Adriatic coast.

1 Dec- UN Human Rights Commission condemns Bosnian Serbs as primarily responsible for the atrocities including "ethnic cleansing and systematic rape".

3 Dec- Organization of the Islamic Conference in Jidda issues declaration calling on the UN to intervene militarily in Boenia and lift the arms embargo on Bosnia.

11 Dec- UN Security Council passes Resolution 795 calling for the first-ever preventive deployment of UN peacekeeping forces, to Macedonia.

15 Dec- CSCE conference in Stockholm urges UN Security Council to urgently consider measures to enforce the no-fly zone over Bosnia.

28 Dec- Serbian President Milosevic's re-election confirmed with 56% of the popular vote; Seselj's Radical Party receives 22% of the vote.

28 Dec- U.S. warns Belgrade government against extending the war into Kosovo: In the event of conflict in Kosovo caused by Serbian action, the United States will be prepared to employ military force against the Serbs in Kosovo and in Serbia proper.

EVENTS IN 1993

9 Jan- Bosnian Deputy Prime Minister Hakija Turajlic assassinated by Serbian gunman later arrested by Serbian forces.

22 Jan- Belgrade periodical Nin (translated in FBIS-EEU-93-027) publishes article on the possible use of nuclear weapons in the conflict.

26 Jan- Croatian offensive near the Adriatic port of Zadar continues.

5 Feb- Bosnian President Izetbegovic urges the use of air strikes against Serbian forces.

11 Feb- U.S. sets forth its six-point approach policy on Bosnia-Herzegovina.

15 Feb- Belgrade periodical Borba reports that Russian Cossacks are fighting with Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

22 Feb- UN Security Council votes unanimously to set up a tribunal to investigate war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.

25 Feb- Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Y. Vorontsov, presents an 8-point plan for a Bosnian settlement.

28 Feb- U.S. military cargo planes begin the airdrop of supplies to encircled Muslim, Serb or Croat villages in eastern Bosnia.

2 Mar- President Clinton reaffirms President Bush's 1992 warning against extending ethnic cleansing into Kosovo.

3 Mar- UN General Secretary Boutros Ghali states that the world body May have to use force to implement a peace settlement as part of a more aggressive world role for the organization.

17 Mar- Siege of Muslim enclave of Srebrenica continues.

26 Mar- Bosnian President Izetbegovic agrees to sign the UN peace proposal to divide the republic into 10 autonomous regions.

31 Mar- UN Security Council decides to enforce a no-fly zone in Bosnia.

3 Apr- Delegates of the Bosnian Serbian Republic reject the Vance-Owen plan.

12 Apr- NATO aircraft begin enforcing the UN's no-fly zone over Bosnia.

17 Apr- UN Security Council, with Russia and China abstaining, votes to impose tougher sanctions on Belgrade.

3 May- Radovan Karadzic, Bosnian Serb leader, signs Vance-Owen plan.

4 May- Sarajevo Radio reports that the Health Headquarters of Bosnia-Herzegovina lists 139,982 as killed, 7,500 dead from starvation and cold, 25,900 missing and 146,200 wounded.

5 May- Parliament of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia in Pale rejects the Vance-Owen plan; calls for a referendum on the plan on 15-16 May.

6 May- Serbian President Milosevic announces that his government will suspend all aid, except humanitarian, to Bosnian Serbs because of their refusal to endorse the UN peace plan.

9 May- Fighting flares between Croats and Muslims in the vicinity of Mostar.

17 May- Bosnian Serbs reject Vance-Owen peace plan in a referendum by 96%.

18 May- Yugoslav Army's General Staff denounces Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party.

23 May- U.S., UR, Russia, France and Spain issue a 13-point plan for containing the fighting and providing six safe havens.

25 May- UN Security Council votes to establish a 11-member international war crimes tribunal in the Hague.

1 Jun- Yugoslav Federal President Dobrica Cosic is ousted in a vote of no confidence.

10 Jun- U.S. Secretary of State Christopher announces that the U.S. is willing to deploy 300 troops to the Republic of Macedonia to help prevent the spread of the conflict.

12 Jun- UN Commander in Bosnia Gen. Morillon threatens to withdraw UN forces because of anarchy in the region.

15 Jun- UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali calls for 7,500 more peacekeeping forces backed by air power to protect the six UN-designated safe areas for Muslims.

16 Jun- Serbian President Milosevic and Croatian President Tudjman propose a redivision of Bosnia into three distinct ethnic areas.

25 Jun- Zoran Lilic is elected Yugoslav Federal President replacing Dobrica Cosic.

29 Jun- UN Security Council fails to pass a resolution for the lifting of the arms embargo on the Muslims.

Endnotes

1.The large quantity of literature dealing with the conflict is reviewed and categorized in an article by this writer titled "The Yugoslav Conflict: Review of the Literature" to appear in European Security, vol. 1, issue 3, 1992, published by Frank Cass and Co.BACK