Historian: 1992 independence referendum was not the reason for the war in Bosnia


The war in Bosnia was not the consequence of the 1992 referendum that resulted in the country's independence, but an expression of what Bosnian Serb leadership spent a lot of time preparing for, historian Husnija Kamberovic told N1 on Monday, BiH's Independence Day.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina was not destroying Yugoslavia, and the political elite of BiH at the time was not doing that,” he said. “They chose the path of independence at the moment when it became completely clear that Yugoslavia, as a state, was impossible.”


The war that then took place was not because of that referendum, he said.

“We historians know this. There is so much information that shows the extent to which the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) and (Radovan) Karadzic were ready for war in order to prevent Bosnia’s path towards independence. The war was not a consequence of the referendum. The war was an expression of what Karadzic and people around him have practically been preparing for,” he said.

The idea of Bosnia and Herzegovina when it declared independence was to have a normal, sovereign country where all citizens have equal rights, but today we see it is not like that, he said.

“Today BiH is a weak country, one that hardly functions, we have very strong separatist tendencies in the top of the government, we have political circles which don’t accept this state although they are formally the leaders of the state,” he said.

Although he noted that BiH has preserved its internationally recognized borders, Kambrovic asked how much sovereignty Bosnia truly has today.

He commented on the increasing emigration of the youth from Bosnia, arguing that in order for people to feel love for a state, it must ensure they are protected and have good lives.

“The moment people feel they have no protection, the state begins to lose legitimacy. One thing is what happened in the war, genocide, expulsions, etc., and another thing is what happened after 1996.,” he said, arguing that “a lot of people don’t feel good here” because “they cannot find a job, find justice, see no future and lose confidence in the state.”

“The state must be able to restore the trust of its citizens,” he stressed.