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The Croat-Muslim War: A Chronology

Written 27.11.2009. 13:33
List of abbreviations:

B&H- Bosnia and Herzegovina
HVO- Hrvatsko Vijece Obrane /Croat Defense Council, the Croat Army
of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Army of B&H- Bosnian Muslim Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina

April 7th, 1992

By the decision of its President, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, Republic of Croatia was among the first countries in the world to recognize the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

June 13th, 1992

The members of Muslim forces have ambushed and killed four HVO officers on Radusa mountain. Soon after that, the municipalities of Gornji Vakuf/Uskoplje become engulfed in the first conflict of the war between HVO and Muslim forces.

June 15th, 1992

The protocol has been signed by the presidents of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zagreb and Sarajevo which regulates the mutual right of its citizens to get help and being represented by the diplomatic and consular missions of the other country in the cases when access to its own diplomatic representatives or missions is not possible.

July 8th, 1992

Based on protocol signed on June 16, 1992, the Croatian Ministry of foreign affairs and Ministry of international cooperation of Bosnia and Herzegovina signed in Helsinki the agreement of mutual help in the matters of (urgent) consular services.

July 19th, 1992

The Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina decided that temporary mission of BH is to be established in Croatia.

July 21th, 1992

The President of Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman and President of Presidency of BH Alija Izetbegovic have signed the "Friendship and Cooperation" agreement between the two countries. The deputy foreign ministers of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Miomir Zuzul and Vlatko Kraljevic have signed the agreement establishing the diplomatic relationship between the two countries.

August 13th, 1992

On the initiative of the Croatian side, the meeting has taken place in Metkovic, between the delegations of Ministry of the Interior of Republic of Croatia and Ministry of the Interior of joint HVO and (Muslim) Republic of BH delegations.

September 23rd, 1992

In New York the President of Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, and President of
Presidency of BH Alija Izetbegovic have signed the "Friendship and Cooperation" agreement between the two countries.

September 29th, 1992

President of Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, has named the ambassador of Republic of Croatia in BH, Dr. Zdravko Sancevic.

October 1992

At the beginning of the October of 1992 the skirmishes started between Croatians and Muslims in the municipality of Novi Travnik, in the villages of Senkovci, Sinokos and Donje Pecine, Opara, as well as in the city. In attack on the villages, Muslims have targeted the commander of HVO in Jajce, Stjepan Blazevic and President of HVO in Jajce, Nikola Bilic. Fifteen HVO solders have been killed in the Muslim attack. That was the first occasion that Muslims used heavy artillery against their Croatian neighbors. Muslims have attacked the HVO command post and destroyed the HVO Field Hospital in Travnik. They set two buildings, almost exclusively inhabited by Croats, on fire. One of the obvious targets of the attack was the gas station in the city, and after they failed to take it, they set it on fire as well. As a result of the attack the city has been divided, the northern part of the city being controlled by Muslims while the southern part came under Croat control. In these attacks eight HVO soldiers have been killed and sixteen were injured. The Muslim casualties included thirty-seven injured, that have had been transported to Bugojno\'s hospital while the number of killed was not known.

October 21st, 1992

The meeting of "Headquarters of territorial defense forces of Prozor municipality" (the original name of Muslim forces that later started calling themselves "Army of BiH") and commanders of Muslim forces from neighboring municipalities took place in the house of Zibo Korman in the village of Blace (municipality Rama/Prozor). The chairperson Mustafa Hero, the commander of Muslim forces in Prozor said (according to the meeting notes taken by Alija Emric) that on Friday, October 23rd 1992 the fight will start and that at the end of it "The Muslims will call the shots in the city", and that in the fight they will be helped by the Muslims from Gornji Vakuf (around 1000 fighters) and Konjic (around 500 men).

October 23rd, 1992

The fight between HVO and Army of BiH broke out in the city. At the end of it (October 25th 1992), the greater part of the Prozor municipality is under control of the HVO forces. The fight escalated when the members of the Muslim forces ambushed and killed four HVO members in the vicinity of village of Dobrasin. At the same time the Muslims have prevented Croat reinforcement to be sent to the city of Jajce that has been at the verge of being taken by the attacking Serbian forces.

October 27th, 1992

The co-chairmen of International Conference of Former Yugoslavia, Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen have offered to all three sides the text of "Constitutional structures of B&H"

January 1st, 1993

The Vance - Owen peace plan signed In Geneva, Switzerland.

January 26th, 1993

The Muslim forces started attacking the municipality of Lasva, villages of Dusina, Brdo, Visnjica and Rajici. In village of Dusina, Muslim solders have killed nine Croats and one Serb, all civilians.

March 23rd, 1993

Since early hours the Muslim forces have completely blockaded the town of Konjic as
well the access to the town. On the location of Ivan Sedlo, without any reason they have
detained twenty HVO solders. The Croatian soldiers were never seen or heard of again.
At the same time, the Muslim forces have surrounded the village of Goransko Polje. Few
of the Croat villagers managed to escape to the neighboring village of Kostajnica. The
commander of the 45. Persovacka brigade "Neretvica" (Unit of Muslim forces - so called
Army of BiH), Hasan Hakalovic issued an order that stated: "All Croats are to be killed
if they do not surrender their weapons".

March 23rd - 24th 1993

The Muslim forces have for the first time attacked the municipality of Kiseljak that was under control of HVO brigade "Ban Jelacic". The members of so called "Army of BiH" have attacked the HVO unit defending the village of Bilalovac. After they have overrun the Croat defenses, the pillage and setting on fire of Croat houses began. The Croat villagers have been forced to leave their homes.

March 25th, 1993

The attack on the mainly Croat town of Busovaca has begun. The Muslim units are attacking the town from the direction of cities of Zenica, Visoko, Kakanj and Fojnica. 8,500 Muslim solders are concentrating their attack on the town of Busovaca itself. Although surrounded, 1,400 Croat defenders have succeeded in repelling the attack.

March 25th, 1993

The Presidents of Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman and President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina/B&H Alija Izetbegovic have signed the memorandum about the urgent need for the cooperation between the two countries.

April 13th , 1993

The Muslim forces have blockaded the town of Jablanica preventing the Croat civilians to leave or enter the city. The telephone lines were cut off to the people of Croat nationality.

April 15th, 1993

In the area of Podbrijezje (Zenica municipality) the members of B&H Army abducted the commander of HVO forces in Zenica Zivko Totic. In the attack on his motorcade Totic was injured, while four of his bodyguards (Ivica Vidovic, Marko Ljubic, Tihomir Ljubic, and Anto Zrnic) were shot from the close range in a hail of over 500 bullets.

April 16th , 1993

At 8 am, the members of B&H Army under the command of Zulfikar Ali Spaga called "Zuka", Hasan Hakalovic and Sejdo Padalovic, have started the attack on the civilian Croat population of village of Trusina from the directions of villages of Bare, Kljesi, Osoric and Sahici. After the artillery barrage, about fifty members of the Muslim forces (majority were wearing black uniforms and black pieces of cloth striped around their heads and arms) entered the village. They massacred sixteen Croat civilians and six captured HVO soldiers. The Croat civilians have been executed at the very spot where they have been caught (in their houses, barns, fields). The Croat soldiers surrendered after the Muslim soldiers threatened them with the execution of their captured wives. Immediately after the surrender, the Muslim soldiers executed them.

April 16th , 2002

At 5:45 am, the members of B&H Army started all out attack on town of Vitez. During the onslaught residential and commercial buildings suffered severe damage. Street fight broke out between the HVO and Muslim forces.

April 16th , 2002

The antiterrorist unit of the HVO military police called "Jokers" during the clashes with the "Krajiska" brigade of the Bosnian Muslim Army, committed a war crime in the village of Ahmici killing 117 Muslims during the attempt to lift the blockade of the strategic road Vitez-Busovaca.

April 18th , 1993

At 5:20 am Muslim forces started the attack on the all areas with the Croat majority in the city and municipality of Zenica.

April 18th , 1993

Following the new hostilities between Croat and Muslim forces in the areas of Zenica, Konjic, Vitez and Busovaca, Mate Boban and President of Presidency of Republic of B&H Alija Izetbegovic released a memorandum regarding the Croat-Muslim affairs.

April 20th, 1993

The Commanders of Army of B&H and HVO, Sefer Halilovic and Milivoj Petkovic have signed in Zenica the plan about the cessation of hostilities between Muslim and Croat forces in B&H.

April 24th , 1993

The co-chairmen of the International Conference of Former Yugoslavia Lord Owen and President of the Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman organized the meeting in Zagreb during which Mate Boban and Alija Izetbegovic signed the agreement about the immediate cessation of hostilities. Appended to the agreement signed by the general Sefer Halilovic and general Milivoj Petkovic is the organizational chart of the Chiefs of Staff of the B&H Army and HVO.

April 24th , 1993

In the village of Miletici (Travnik municipality), the members of Army of B&H ritually massacred five Croats.

April 28th - May 1st, 1993

The President of Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman visited Republic of Turkey to organize a "Good Will Mission" with his host, the Turkish President. The Mission\'s main goal was to work on improving the relationship and understanding between the Muslim and Croat communities in B&H.

May 9th, 1993

Heavy fighting breaks out between the Muslim and Croat forces in city of Mostar. After the sporadic skirmishes and numerous attempts of the Muslim soldiers to occupy the civilian buildings in the downtown Mostar, the HVO Command asked the units of 4th Corps of Army of B&H to withdraw from the downtown area to its base, "South camp". After that the HVO units from the its bases in "Northern Camp", "Heliodrom" and "Airport" attacked the Muslim forces occupying civilian buildings in the downtown area.

May 10th, 1993

President of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman sends a message to the President of B&H Presidency Alija Izetbegovic and Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban asking for the immediate stop of the hostilities between the Croats and Muslims. In its message Dr. Tudjman continues to emphasize that now is the time for both, Croats and Muslims to fight the Serbian aggressor, and not to play the "blame game" accusing each other for the continuation of hostilities.

May 10th , 1993

Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban have signed in Mostar the agreement about cessation of hostilities.

May 18th , 1993

The agreement about the implementation of peace was reached in Medjugorje.
Dr. Franjo Tudjman, Mate Boban, Mile Akmadzic, Franjo Boras, Milivoj Petkovic; Alija Izetbegovic, Dr. Haris Silajdzic, Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, Sefer Halilovic, Lord Owen and Thorvald Stoltenberg (the co-chairmen of the International Conference of Former Yugoslavia) and President of the Ministerial Council of European Union, Niels Helveg Peterson, were all present.

June 3rd, 1993

The soldiers of Bosnian Muslim Army have started the mass apprehensions and confinement of the citizens of the Croat nationality in the city of Travnik.

June 5th, 1993

The Secretary of the Defense of Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna Bruno Stojic sent a letter to Lord Owen, C. Thornberry, general Ph. Morillon, Alija Izetbegovic and Bosnian Muslim Army Chief of Staff S. Halilovic, complaining about the tragic situation of the Croats in the Travnik Municipality.

June 7th, 1993

Mate Boban has sent several letters regarding the tragic situation of the Croats in the Travnik area to both co-chairmen of the International Conference of Former Yugoslavia, UNPROFOR (United Nations body in B&H), State Department, Alija Izetbegovic, and to the Ambassador of B&H in the Republic of Croatia.

June 8th, 1993

In the village of Maljine (Travnik municipality), in the part of the village called Bikosi, the members of B&H Army have executed thirty villagers of the Croat nationality. After the execution, Muslim solders went from body to body of the shot Croat civilians shooting them once again with the single bullet to their heads.

June 9th, 1993

One of the witnesses says in their statement that on June the 9th, 1993, just around 10 am, the alarm sounded warning them that the all out attack by the Muslim Army on the areas in Kakanj municipality inhabited by the Croats just started. 15,000 Croats have been ethnically cleansed at the end of the Muslim campaign. 80% of all businesses as well as civilian buildings owned by the expelled Croats was first ransacked, then set on fire, and ultimately burned to the ground.

June 10th, 1993

Since the beginning of June 1993, when the Muslim Army started a campaign of ethnic cleansing of Croats in the Travnik municipality, 19,000 Croats were expelled from their homes. About 12,000 expelled Croats were accommodated in the still free areas of municipality of Novi (New) Travnik, while 4,000 succeeded in reaching the town of Vitez. Republic of Croatia accepted 2,000 refugees, while two municipalities in Herzegovina (Capljina and Ljubuski) accepted 829 and 503 refugees respectively. In the still unoccupied area of Travnik municipality called Nova Bila, 2,000 Croats still remain in their homes.

June 10th, 1993

In the town of Vitez, around 8:45 p.m., one single shell was fired from the area under the control of Muslim Army. It landed two meters from the bench that was the meeting point of the local kids, Croat as well as Muslim. That day, there were no Muslim children around. It has been theorized that their parents were notified about the impending attack, and that the projectile was navigated.
Five Croat children were killed on the spot, while three more died in the hospital.

June 12th, 1993

27 injured Muslims were evacuated from the city of Mostar and over the Croat port of Split to rehabilitation centres abroad. The idea was initiated by the Croatian-Turkish Mission of Good Will and actively supported by its founders, Presidents of Croatia and Turkey.

June 15th, 1993

The Parish of Kraljeva Sutjeska, containing of 26 villages, is virtually wiped out from the face of the earth by the attacking Muslim and Mujahedin forces. Everything that was Croat (Christian) was pillaged, set on fire or vandalized. In the early morning of June 13th 1993, around 10,000 Muslim soldiers attacked in the well-planed operation with overwhelming force the Croat defensive lines of town of Kakanj. After the Muslim attack, which successfully pierced the Croat lines, 15,000 Croat civilians and defenders have started their withdrawal towards town of Vares, still a free town in Central Bosnia. Under the heavy shelling and sniper fire, in columns over 10 kilometers long (cca. 6 miles) children, elderly, sick and injured reached the town of Vares. The locals helped them find the shelter in the factories, restaurants, and private homes.

June 19th, 1993

The attacks on the Kresevo municipality started from the directions of towns of Tarcin (Hadzici municipality) and Mount Igman. In two days of fighting, 13 HVO solders were killed, 20 injured, and 12 have disappeared.

June 24th, 1993

On the great Catholic holiday, St. John the Baptist, at 9:20 am, the members of recently formed B&H Army group called "Bosnia" started the attack on the Croats of the town and municipality of Zepce. With this attack the fighting in Central Bosnia has spilled out to the new areas. The attack of the Muslim forces came from the directions of Zenica and Zeljezno Polje. The areas of Mujadinske Kose, Visa, Brezove Kose and Martinova Visa were also attacked.

July 16th, 1993

After being attacked by the overwhelming Muslim force, the defending Croat forces started to pull out from the last defense lines at Malkoca (town of Fojnica). The civilian Croat population joined in exodus. More than 6,000 Croats are walking towards municipalities of Kiseljak and Kresevo. The Muslim forces took control of the Hospital in Fojnica where more than 800 mentally ill and handicapped people have found their home.

July 18th, 1993

The Muslim forces started the attack on the HVO forces in the city of Bugojno. With the overpowering force on their side, Muslim units in short period of time started taking parts of the town. Almost all of the surrounded HVO defenders end up being imprisoned by the Muslims. In just couple of days the mass exodus of 12,000 Croats took place in Bugojno. The Muslims have organized concentration camps for the Croats in the city. Many of the 350 captured Croats were tortured in unimaginable ways and executed in the manner that
combined "ordinary" sadistic bestiality with depraved travesty of Islamic religious rituals; others have simply disappeared. The witnesses of these tragic events are unanimous in describing what they went through: "That was the hell". Only about 3,000 Croats remain in the city.

July 28th, 1993

The combined Muslim forces of the 44. Jablanica brigade of the IV Corps of B&H Army, elements of Ministry of the Interior from the police station in town of Jablanica, members of so called "Zuka\'s Army" (a paramilitary unit affiliated with Bosnian Muslim Army) as well as group of armed Muslim villagers from the village of Jelacici surrounded the village of Doljani (12 km/8 miles west of Jablanica) in the early hours of July 28th, 1993. Ultimately, they have attacked and massacred eight civilians and 28 captured HVO members, while 185 Croats from the village of Doljani, including 37 children were taken to the concentration camp in Jablanica called "Museum". (In its pre-war history, the building was ironically a Museum documenting the events from the World War II.)

August 3rd, 1993

HVO soldiers have deported 1,500 Muslims from the town of Stolac towards the lines of separation with the Muslim forces in Blagaj.

August 3rd, 1993

The Peace summit starts in Geneva, Switzerland. Beside the representatives of Croatia, B&H, Serbia and Montenegro, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, Alija Izetbegovic, Slobodan Milosevic and Miomir Bulatovic, the leaders of Bosnian Croats and Serbs, Mate Boban and Radovan Karadzic were also present.

September 1st, 1993

President Tudjman issues the statement in Geneva about the collapse of the negotiations after the Muslim representatives made unacceptable requests towards the other two parties. "The Muslim leadership once again made requests that had to be given some additional consideration", said Dr. Tudjman adding that there is no real purpose in continuing the discussion, the feeling that apparently was shared by the other participants, as well as the co-chairmen of the conference.

September 9th t, 1993

The attacks and level of violence towards the Croat population living in the area of the Neretva valley, north of Mostar has culminated on September 9th, 1993, the day when the Muslim forces led by so called "Zuka\'s special forces" have committed the massacre in the village of Grabovica (Mostar municipality). The vicinity of the village was already under the control of B&H Army since May 10th, 1993. After they had entered the village, "Zuka\'s special forces" started to shoot on "everything that moved", although they knew all too well that the village was "open area" without any defense, and that it was currently inhabited by elderly, females and children. 32 Croat civilians were massacred, while others were taken to the concentration camp "Museum" in Jablanica. All that was worth stealing was taken from the Croat houses and then the village was burned to the ground. Soon after they realized that terrible news about the crime was coming out, Muslim political and military structures in the area did everything to cover up the crime. As a result, until now there are still corpses of the victims that were not found nor identified. Just a small numbers of corpses were received in the grisly exchange with the Muslims. Also, for the time being, the Croats are not allowed to enter the village of Grabovica and continue with the search in order to have the closure of the tragedy for the families. There are rumors that the victim\'s bodies have been thrown in the nearby lake in order to make the investigation stall.

September 14th, 1993

Around 5:30 am, around 120 members of B&H Army have attacked the Croats from the village of Uzdol. 29 civilians and 12 HVO members were killed. The villagers were completely surprised by the attack and many victims were found in the burned houses, on the fields or the country roads while they were trying to escape. Entire families were physically eradicated.

September 14th, 1993

President Tudjman restarted talks with leader of Bosnian Muslims, Alija Izetbegovic in Geneva, trying to resolve the issues that earlier this month caused the interruption of the peace talks. At the end of the talks, both parties signed the joint statement.

October 18th, 1993

Muslim forces started the attack from the directions of Zenica and Kakanj and took control of the strategic hill of Lijesnica. Huge attack follows on the HVO forces in Vares, the town that beside the locals was packed with thousands of Croat refugees who were already expelled from the town of Kakanj by the Muslim forces.

October 23rd, 1993

Two days battle between the Croat and Muslim forces erupts in the village of Stupni Do.

October 25th, 1993

HVO forces briefly took control of the village, withdrawing from it almost immediately. They committed a war crime in the village killing 16 Muslims-burning, shooting and looting.

October 1st - 5th, 1993

"…Using the absence of the HVO forces that were helping the evacuation of 6,000 ethnically cleansed Croats from the town of Kakanj, Muslim Army started with the coordinated attack on the municipality and city of Vares. Muslims were targeting only Croat villages that were already fully encircled, deprived of any humanitarian help, cutting the communications and using the civilians as "live shields….". The consequences of the attack were catastrophic for the Croats residing in Vares. 10,000 Croats from Vares and around 10,000 Croats from the area of Kakanj ultimately were expelled from Vares. During the Croat-Muslim war cca. 50,000 Bosnian Muslims have
been expelled from the area under HVO control, while the number of Croats ethnically
cleansed from the Bosnian Muslim Army held territories is around 150,000.

November 12th, 1993

General Ante Roso was named as the new Chief Staff of the HVO, replacing his predecessor, General Slobodan Praljak. General Roso was named by the executive order of Mate Boban and after being named as a Government Minister in Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.

November 12th, 1993

The foreign minister of Republic of Croatia, Dr. Mate Granic, Turkish foreign minister, Hikmet Cetin and Dr. Haris Silajdzic have signed the joint statement urging immediate cessation of hostilities and all operations between the Muslim and Croat forces.

December 15th, 1993

The Presidency of B&H had put under the command of B&H Army all HVO forces that jointly fought against the Serbian aggressor since the beginning of the war. In the future those Croat forces will be part of B&H Army without its own command.

December 22nd, 1993

"Muslim forces have killed 74 Croats in the village of Krizancevo Selo"- that is what the Commander of British battalion (Part of UNPROFOR- UN forces in B&H), Colonel Williams, was told by the Muslim representative when visiting the Command of the Muslim 3rd Corps (Army of B&H). During his visit to Vitez area Colonel Williams said that there were two mass graves in the vicinity of the village of Poculica (approximately 9 km/6 ms north-west of Vitez.), first containing the corpses of 38 and second of eight massacred Croats - victims of Muslim aggression. UNPROFOR\'s spokesman, Mr. Gell, issued the statement informing the Croats that there are 15 bodies of the murdered Croats to be picked up on the front line.

January 1st, 1994

Twenty-six Croats, solders and civilians (including four females) are the victims of the Muslim attack on the Croat village of Buhine Kuce (Vitez municipality)

January 1st, 1994

The meting between the diplomatic missions of Republic of Croatia and B&H led by Dr. Mate Granic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia and Prime Minister of the Sarajevo government, Haris Silajdzic took place in Geneva.

February 10th, 1994

The two meet again in Geneva and after the two days meeting they issued the joint statement.

February 10th, 1994

Dr. Granic and Prime Minister Silajdzic had a meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. After the meeting, Muslim Prime Minister said in his statement that they have discussed future political settlement in B&H, the absolute cease-fire as well as the cooperation in the humanitarian questions. "The number of unresolved issues have decreased, and the talks are very serious step in the direction of solving the B&H crisis and set up the principles of future cooperation between the two countries", they jointly proclaimed at the end of the meeting.

February 23rd, 1994

The Commander of HVO, general Ante Roso and Commander of B&H Army, General Rasim Delic, signed a cease-fire agreement in Zagreb. In Bonn, Germany, Croatian Foreign Minister, Dr. Mate Granic meets his German counterpart, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel. Two ministers discussed the relationship between Republic of Croatia and B&H as well as possible political settlement for B&H.

March 1st, 1994

Bosnian Croats and Muslims have signed in Washington, DC a preliminary agreement creating the Federation of B&H, which will allow the Confederation with Croatia. The preliminary agreement was signed by the Croat Foreign Minister Dr. Mate Granic, B&H Prime Minister H. Silajdzic, and President of Presidency of Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna, Kresimir Zubak. As a result, the new, transitional government body on the highest level is to be created with the urgent task to regulate the birth of Federation and Confederation. The transitional government body starts with its work on March 4th 1994 in Vienna, Austria.

March 18th, 1994

The President of Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman and President of B&H Presidency Alija Izetbegovic signed in Washington, DC preliminary agreement about the confederate ties between the Republic of Croatia and the future Federation of B&H. The Prime Minister of B&H, H. Silajdzic, and President of Presidency of Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna, Kresimir Zubak signed the proposed text of the Constitution of Croat-Muslim Federation in B&H.

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