The Hague's Most Wanted -- timeline of events



March 12th -- Ratko Mladic is born in Bozinovici, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


June 19th -- Radovan Karadzic is born in Petnjica, Montenegro.


October 12th -- Ante Gotovina is born on Pasman Island, Croatia.


September 7th -- Goran Hadzic is born in Vinkovci, Croatia.


With the collapse of communism across Eastern Europe, the stage is set for the dissolution of Yugoslavia. As Slobodan Milosevic attempts to assert Serbian power within the federation, nationalist and separatist movements are on the rise in other Yugoslav republics, notably Croatia and Slovenia. On January 20th, 1990, the Croatian and Slovenian delegations withdraw from the Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.


June 25th – Slovenia and Croatia declare independence from Yugoslavia, winning international recognition in January 1992. The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) withdraws from Slovenia after a 10-day war. In Croatia, Yugoslavia responds with force but is held back by the newly established Croatian Army. A large section of Croatian territory, however, falls under the control of local Serbs, who set up an autonomous republic.

July-November -- Vukovar, a multiethnic town in eastern Croatia, undergoes an 87-day siege by the JNA, in collaboration with local Serb paramilitary forces. The town is largely destroyed and its non-Serb population massacred or driven out. Two hundred and fifty civilians at the Vukovar hospital are transported to a nearby field and summarily executed.

October 15th -- Bosnia and Herzegovina's assembly decides to withdraw its representatives from federal institutions until agreement is reached among all the Yugoslav republics. The move is not supported by Bosnian Serbs.

October 24th -- Bosnian Serbs withdraw from the republic's political institutions and set up their own assembly. The Serb Democratic Party, co-founded by Karadzic, establishes "Serb autonomous provinces" within Bosnia and Herzegovina.

November -- As Muslim and Croat assembly members move towards proclaiming independence from Yugoslavia, Bosnian Serbs vote in a referendum to establish their own republic within BiH's borders, with the intention of remaining in Yugoslavia.


January 9th -- The Bosnian Serb assembly proclaims the "Republic of the Serb people of Bosnia and Herzegovina", later known as Republika Srpska. A constitution is adopted the following month.

February 29th-March 1st -- Bosnia and Herzegovina holds a referendum on independence from Yugoslavia. Between 64% and 67% of eligible voters participate, with 99% voting in favor of the split. Many Bosnian Serbs, however, boycott the vote.

April 6th - JNA and Bosnian Serb forces position themselves around Sarajevo starting the blockade of the city, beginning a four-year siege of the city.

May -- Karadzic becomes the leader of the Bosnian Serb political administration, headquartered in Pale.

May 2nd – From their positions in the hills around the city, JNA and Serb forces begin shelling Sarajevo. During the siege, nearly 10,000 persons are killed are go missing, including 1,500 children. An additional 56,000 are wounded. The city is hit by an estimated average of 329 shells daily, with a peak of 3,777 shell impacts on July 22nd, 1993.

May 12th -- Mladic is appointed commander of the newly created Army of Republika Srpska.


July -- Bosnian Serb forces under Mladic's command overrun the UN safe haven at Srebrenica. After taking the city, they execute thousands of Bosnian Muslim males, perpetrating Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

July -- The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) hands down an indictment against Karadzic and Mladic, charging them with crimes against humanity, violations of the laws of war and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention. In November, the indictment is expanded to include the crimes at Srebrenica.

Karadzic indictments: Genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, persecutions, deportation, inhumane acts, unlawfully inflicting terror upon civilians, taking of hostages. Mladic indictments: Genocide, complicity in genocide, persecutions, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts, taking of hostages.

August 4th-6th -- Croatian forces, under Gotovina's command, mount Operation Storm, retaking the territory held by Croatian Serbs. In the process, as many as a quarter million Serbs flee or are expelled.

August 4th -- Karadzic attempts unsuccessfully to remove Mladic as Bosnian Army commander, describing him as a "madman".

September 8th-30th -- Gotovina and the Croatian Army mount Operation Mistral in Bosnia and Herzegovina, joining up with Bosnian Croats to advance within 23km of Banja Luka.

December 14th -- The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (The Dayton Accords) is formally signed in Paris. One of the conditions in the peace accords stipulates that persons indicted for war crimes are prohibited from politics.


July 19th -- Karadzic resigns as president of Republika Srpska and agrees to withdraw from public life. He later goes into hiding as pressure for his arrest and extradition increases.

November 9th -- Karadzic's successor as president, Biljana Plavsic, fires Mladic. He moves to Belgrade and eventually goes into hiding.


July -- The ICTY indicts Gotovina for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war, charging him with personal and command responsibility for violence against Croatian Serbs during Operation Storm. Following the indictment, Gotovina goes into hiding.


May 21st -- Hadzic is charged by The Hague with 14 counts of violations of the laws or customs of war, including one of the first atrocities in the Balkan conflicts -- the Vukovar hospital massacre. In the three days before the indictment is made public on July 16th, Hadzic flees his home in Novi Sad. He remains a fugitive.


July 7th -- NATO troops arrest Karadzic's son, Aleksander, on suspicion of aiding an indicted war crimes suspect. He is released after 10-days.

July 28th -- Karadzic's wife, Liljana Zelen Karadzic, issues a public call for his surrender, saying her family is under pressure because of his fugitive status.

December 7th -- Gotovina is arrested at a resort in Tenerife.


July 21st -- Radovan Karadzic is arrested in Belgrade. He had been living there under the alias "Dr. Dragan Dabic" and posing as a health and spirituality guru.

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