Page last updated at 18:13 GMT, Thursday, 12 January 2012

Bosnia-Hercegovina timeline

A chronology of key events:

1908 - Bosnia-Hercegovina annexed to Austria-Hungary.

Sarajevo, National Library building, 2005
Much of Sarajevo has been restored after the 1992-95 war

1914 - A Bosnian Serb student, Gavrilo Princip, assassinates the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. This precipitates World War I.

1918 - Austria-Hungary collapses at the end of the war. Bosnia-Hercegovina becomes part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

1941 - Bosnia-Hercegovina annexed by pro-Hitler Croatian puppet state. Thousands of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies are sent to the death camps.

1945 - Bosnia-Hercegovina liberated following campaign by partisans under Tito. It becomes a republic within the Yugoslav Socialist Federation.

1991 - Following collapse of communism, nationalists win first multi-party elections and form coalition government despite having conflicting goals: Muslim nationalists want centralised independent Bosnia, Serb nationalists want to stay in Belgrade-dominated rump Yugoslavia, Croats want to join independent Croatian state.

War on many fronts

1992 - Croat and Muslim nationalists form tactical alliance and outvote Serbs at independence referendum. Serb nationalists are incensed as constitution stipulates that all major decisions must be reached through consensus.

Former Bosnian leader Izetbegovic
President Izetbegovic led a Muslim-dominated government

War breaks out and Serbs quickly assume control of over half the republic. Ethnic cleansing is rampant in the newly proclaimed Serb Republic but also widespread in Muslim and Croat-controlled areas.

The Bosnian Serbs, under Radovan Karadzic, lay siege to Sarajevo. The city is controlled by Muslims but they are unable to break out through lines set up to defend surrounding Serb villages. There is bitter fighting as well as many atrocities.

1993 - As tensions rise, conflict breaks out between Muslims and Croats, culminating in the destruction of much of Mostar, including its Old Bridge. The bridge had graced the city since it was built by the Ottomans in the 16th century and was a symbol of Bosnia's cultural diversity.

The conflict is extremely complex. Muslims and Serbs form an alliance against Croats in Hercegovina, rival Muslim forces fight each other in north-west Bosnia, Croats and Serbs fight against Muslims in central Bosnia.

UN safe havens for Bosnian Muslim civilians are created, to include Sarajevo, Gorazde and Srebrenica.

Srebrenica refugees
Fleeing Srebrenica, scene of the worst massacre of the war

1995 - Safe haven of Srebrenica is overrun by Bosnian Serb forces under General Ratko Mladic. Thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys are separated from their families and massacred, despite the presence of Dutch UN troops. Nato air strikes against Serb positions help Muslim and Croat forces make big territorial gains, expelling thousands of Serb civilians on the way.

Dayton peace accord signed in Paris. It creates two entities of roughly equal size, one for Bosnian Muslims and Croats, the other for Serbs. An international peacekeeping force is deployed.

After Dayton

1996 - The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia begins work in the Hague. Drazen Erdemovic, a Croat who fought for the Serbs and took part in the Srebrenica massacres, is the first person to be convicted. He is sentenced to five years in prison.

1997 - International conference in Bonn extends powers of High Representative.

1998 - Elections see nationalist politicians do well. The first Bosnian Muslims and Croats are convicted of war crimes in the Hague.

2000 - Moderate parties do well in elections in the Muslim-Croat entity but nationalists gain the upper hand in the Serb entity. Results force main Serb nationalist party to form a coalition headed by moderate Prime Minister Mladen Ivanic.

2001 March - The Croat representative in the collective presidency, Ante Jelavic, is dismissed as his party threatens to declare independent Croat republic.

2001 May - Bosnian Serbs in Banja Luka and Trebinje use force to break up ceremonies marking the reconstruction of mosques destroyed during the Bosnian war. Several Muslim refugees are injured, cars are set on fire and international delegates are forced to shelter in local buildings.

Krstic sentenced

2001 August - Hague war crimes tribunal finds Bosnian Serb Gen Radislav Krstic guilty of genocide for his role in the massacre of thousands of men and boys in Srebrenica. Krstic sentenced to 46 years.

Three senior Muslim generals indicted to face war crimes charges.

2001 December - Amid growing international pressure, the main Bosnian Serb nationalist party, the SDS, votes to expel all war crimes suspects, including wartime leader Radovan Karadzic.

2002 May - UK politician Paddy Ashdown becomes UN High Representative.

The rebuilt Mostar bridge
Mostar's 16th century bridge reopened in 2004

2002 October - Nationalists win back power in federation presidential, parliamentary and local elections.

Former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic changes her plea at the UN tribunal in The Hague to one of guilty of crimes against humanity. The remaining seven charges are dropped. She is subsequently sentenced to 11 years in prison.

2003 January - Three months after elections, parliament approves new government led by Adnan Terzic.

EU officially embarks on its first foreign security operation by taking over policing duties from UN.

2003 April - Mirko Sarovic, Serb member of presidency, resigns following report by Western intelligence services on affair involving illegal military exports to Iraq and allegations of spying on international officials.

High Representative Paddy Ashdown abolishes Supreme Defence Council of Bosnian Serb republic. He also alters constitutions of Bosnian Muslim/Croat federation and Bosnian Serb republic removing all reference to statehood from both.

Borislav Paravac of Serb Democratic Party replaces Sarovic as Serb member of presidency.

2004 July - Celebrations mark the reopening of the rebuilt 16th century bridge at Mostar.

EU peacekeepers take over

2004 December - Nato hands over peacekeeping duties to a European Union-led force, Eufor.

2005 March - High Representative Paddy Ashdown sacks Croat member of presidency Dragan Covic, who faces corruption charges.

UN High Representative 2002-2006
Paddy Ashdown had sweeping powers as High Representative

2005 May - Ivo Miro Jovic appointed Croat member of presidency.

2005 June - Bosnian unit with members from all three main ethnic groups heads for Iraq to support forces of US-led coalition.

2005 October - Entity and central parliaments back establishment of unified police force.

2005 November - EU foreign ministers give go-ahead for Stabilisation and Association Agreement talks.

2006 January - Christian Schwarz-Schilling takes over from Paddy Ashdown as UN High Representative.

2006 February - International Court of Justice in The Hague begins hearings in genocide case brought by Bosnia-Hercegovina against Serbia and Montenegro.

Srebrenica trial

2006 July - Largest war crimes trial to date over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre opens at the UN tribunal in The Hague.

2006 October - General elections reflect ethnic divisions, with Serb entity voting to maintain split from Muslim-Croat entity. In run-up to vote, Bosnian Serb leadership threatens to seek complete secession in event of moves to end autonomy of Serb entity.

2006 December - Bosnia joins Nato's Partnership for Peace pre-membership programme after the organisation overturns a decision to exclude it because of its failure to catch Radovan Karadzic.

2007 January - Nikola Spiric, a Bosnian Serb, is asked to form a government after party leaders agree on a coalition.

2007 February - The International Court of Justice rules that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre constituted genocide, but clears Serbia of direct responsibility.

Radovan Karadjic
War crimes suspect spent 13 years on the run after Bosnian conflict ended

2007 May - Zdravko Tolimir, one of the top fugitives sought by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague for his alleged role in the Srebrenica massacre, is arrested.

2007 July - Miroslav Lajcak, a Slovak diplomat, takes over as High Representative.

2007 November - Nikola Spiric resigns as prime minister in protest at EU-backed reforms the High Representative wanted to introduce.

Parliament adopts new rules to stop deliberate absenteeism to block parliamentary decisions.

2008 June - Former Bosnian Serb police chief Stojan Zupljanin is arrested near Belgrade and transferred to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes.

Karadzic captured

2008 July - Celebrations on the streets of Sarajevo at news that former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, wanted on war crimes charges, has been arrested in Belgrade after nearly 13 years on the run.

2008 October - Nationalist parties do well among all three ethnic groups in local elections, leaving Bosnian politics divided firmly along ethnic lines.

2009 March - Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko takes over as High Representative.

2009 May - US Vice-President Joe Biden visits Bosnia and tells local leaders to work together ahead of the expected closure of the Office of the High Representative.

2009 July - Report by High Representative Inzko on progress towards full sovereignty says Bosnian leaders are undermining state institutions despite international condemnation.

Constitutional stalemate

2009 October - EU- and US-brokered talks aimed at breaking deadlock on constitutional reform end in failure.

Trial of former Bosnia Serb leader Radovan Karadzic begins at UN tribunal in The Hague. He faces 11 counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities.

2010 February - Bosnian Serb Republic passes law making it easier to hold referendums on national issues, in a move seen as a challenge to the international High Representative's authority and potentially paving the way for a referendum on independence.

2010 March - Bosnian wartime leader Ejup Ganic is arrested in London at the request of Serbia, which accuses him of war crimes. A court later blocks a bid to extradite him.

2010 October - Serb nationalist party led by Bosnian Serb Republic premier Milorad Dodik and multi-ethnic party led by Zlatko Lagumdzija emerge as main winners in general election.

2011 May - Serbian authorities arrest former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, one of the world's most wanted war crimes suspects.

2011 December - Bosnia's Muslim, Croat and Serb political leaders reach agreement on formation of new central government, bringing to an end 14 months of deadlock since 2010 general election.

2012 January - Parliament elects Croat Vjekoslav Bevanda as prime minister under the December agreement.

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