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1992 Yugoslav People's Army column incident in Sarajevo

1992 Yugoslav People's Army column incident in Sarajevo
Date3 May 1992
Location
Dobrovoljačka Street, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Result Column stopped; Several minutes of shooting reportedly leaves dozens of JNA soldiers dead; Large amount of equipment looted
Belligerents
 Bosnia and Herzegovina  Yugoslavia
UNPROFOR
Commanders and leaders
Jusuf Prazina (alleged) Milutin Kukanjac
Lewis Mackenzie
Units involved

Bosnian Army

  • Local militias
Yugoslav Army
Strength
~200 ~270 soldiers, 38 vehicles
~10 UNPROFOR observers, 4 vehicles
Casualties and losses
16 killed 6 killed[1] (alternative sources state 5–38),[2][3] 71–73 wounded and 215–218 captured
1–23 civilians killed

The 1992 Yugoslav People's Army column incident in Sarajevo occurred on 3 May 1992 in Dobrovoljačka Street, Sarajevo, when members of the Bosnian army (ARBiH) attacked a convoy of Yugoslav army (JNA) troops that were exiting the city of Sarajevo according to the withdrawal agreement.

Background

The attack is thought to have happened in retaliation for the arrest of the President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Alija Izetbegović, who was detained at the Sarajevo Airport by the Yugoslav army the previous day.[4]

Attack

The attack started with the convoy being separated when a car was driven into it. Then sporadic and disorganized fighting took place for several minutes in and around the convoy.

Bosnian army commander Sefer Halilovic later stated about the incident "our fighters and civilians acted spontaneously, they cut the convoy in half."

In his book Peacekeeper: The road to Sarajevo, the UN peacekeepers' commander, General Lewis MacKenzie, who was in the convoy described what he saw: "I could see the Territorial Defense soldiers push the rifles through the windows of civilians' cars, which were part of the convoy, and shoot [...] I saw blood flow down the windshields. It was definitely the worst day of my life."

Aftermath

Serb prosecutors stated that 42 JNA soldiers were killed in the attack. However, General Milutin Kukanjac, the commander of the JNA in Sarajevo, claimed that out of 215 military personnel, only six died in the attack.[2]

Controversy

An investigation was opened by the Serbian Prosecutors Office and has stirred controversy both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Two members of the State Presidency, Haris Silajdžić and Željko Komšić, claimed Serbia’s action breached the Rome Agreement.[5] The presidents attended a meeting with members of the wartime Presidency of Bosnia, namely Tatjana Ljujić-Mijatović, Ivo Komšić, Miro Lazović and Ejup Ganić, and concluded that Serbia had breached the 1996 Rome Agreement, failed to seek the ICTY’s opinion before taking action and had "therefore breached international legal provisions".[6]

A Belgrade court issued arrest warrants for 19 former Bosnian-government officials. Ejup Ganić, a former member of the Bosnian wartime presidency who was among the people sought for the attack, dismissed the allegations, indicating the attack on the JNA column was aimed at striking at Izetbegović's kidnappers after his capture by Bosnian Serb forces.[7] Ganić was arrested in London, but was quickly released since Judge Timothy Workman ruled that the JNA was an enemy army at war with Bosnia and Herzegovina and thus, a legitimate target.[8] In 2003 The International Tribunal for Justice dismissed the case, stating that the actions of the ArBiH did not constitute a breach of law.[9]

On 3 March 2011, Jovan Divjak was arrested in Vienna due to Serbia's arrest warrant. However, Austria said it will not extradite him to Belgrade.[10] In 2003, the ICTY also ruled that there was no ground for prosecution of Divjak.[11] In 2012, the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina did the same.

See also

References

  1. ^ РТС: О Ганићевој одговорности
  2. ^ a b "Sarajevo ogorčeno zbog Divjaka". B92. March 5, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  3. ^ [balkans.aljazeera.net]
  4. ^ John F. Burns (3 May 1992). "Sarajevo's Center Erupts in War, Weakening Yugoslav Truce Effort". New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  5. ^ [web.archive.org]
  6. ^ Mackic, Erna. "Serbian Probe into JNA Deaths Alarms Bosnians". Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.
  7. ^ Vasovic, Aleksandar (26 February 2009). "Serbia charges 19 Bosnian officials with war crimes". Reuters.
  8. ^ Workman, Timothy (July 27, 2010). "The Government of the Republic of Serbia vs. Ejup Ganić" (PDF). City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 1, 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  9. ^ Gutman, Roy. "Serbia pursues Ejup Ganic for war crimes. Or is it a vendetta?". Christian Science Monitor.
  10. ^ "Austria won't send Bosnia general to Serbia". Reuters. March 7, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  11. ^ "RULES OF THE ROAD: NO GROUNDS FOR PROSECUTION OF GENERAL DIVJAK". Sense Agency. March 3, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2011.