Bosnia and Hercegovina declared sovereignty and seceded from the residue of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) in October 1991, following similar action, first by Slovenia, then by Croatia and after a plebiscite, boycotted by many ethnic Serbs, in which a majority of those voting backed independence (Figure 13.1). The following April, Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH) 1 was recognised as a legal entity by the EU and USA. A month later it was admitted to the UN. With secession came internal conflict and external aggression, fomented by nationalists in the Croat and Muslim as well as Serb communities. The war left a quarter of a million people dead, maimed or traumatised, and the economy, infrastructure and physical and social fabric of the country in ruins. It seems fitting to dedicate this chapter to the large numbers of Bosnians (of all nationalities as well as none) who tried their utmost to prevent the war and who continue today to work for a multi-ethnic, democratic and environmentally healthy Bosnia.
Figure 13.1 Salient features of Bosnia and Hercegovina