The battle of Sarajevo and the law of armed conflict

United Nations - Security Council

S/1994/674/Add.2 (Vol. I)
28 December 1994

Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts
established pursuant to
security council resolution 780 (1992)

Annex VI.B
The battle of Sarajevo and the law of armed conflict

Prepared by:
William J. Fenrick
Member and Rapporteur on On-Site Investigations,
Commission of Experts Established Pursuant to
Security Council Resolution 780 (1992)
Major A.J. van Veen, Canadian Armed Forces;
Member of Canada's Contributed Personnel
to the Commission of Experts

Annex VI.B
The battle of Sarajevo and the law of armed conflict

  1. Methodology
  2. Considerations
  3. Background
  4. The battle
    1. Organization, command, control, and equipment
    2. Tactics used during the battle
    3. Casualties
  5. Applicable law
  6. Command responsibility
  7. The military objective
  8. Siege warfare
  9. Violations of the law of armed conflict
    1. Starvation as a method of warfare
    2. Attacks on civilian persons and objects
  10. Accountability
    Anecdotal account of the battle

I. Methodology

       This study was conducted by the Rapporteur for On-Site Investigations and Major A.J. van Veen. They were part of an investigative group consisting of the Rapporteur, a representative of the Secretariat, and the Canadian War Crimes Investigation Team (WCIT), which was comprised of three military lawyers and four military police investigators. The group was deployed to the territory of the former Yugoslavia for the period of 20 June to 10 July 1993 and was in Sarajevo from 24 June to 8 July 1993. The WCIT, as a whole, consisted of military personnel from the Canadian Office of the Judge Advocate General, as well as military investigators who were seconded from Canada to the Commission of Experts for specific missions. The teams were referred to within the Commission and for the purposes of its reports, as the Canadian War Crimes Investigation Team.

       The writers, both of whom have a background in military operations and in the law of armed conflict, visited Sarajevo from 24 June 1993 to 6 July 1993. During that period of time they visited a number of incident sites in Sarajevo, including Dobrinja, where civilians at a soccer game were killed by mortar fire on 1 June 1993; the National Library, which had been gutted by Bosnian Serb Army (BSA) artillery fire; the Brewery, where people standing in line for water were killed by mortar fire; and the Kosevo Medical Centre and the Bakery, both of which had been hit several times. As the normal mode of transport for team members was armoured personnel carriers, and as the team was discouraged from travelling to certain areas and from moving about in open areas, it rapidly became apparent that attempting an in-depth look at property damage was not practicable.

       The team met with several officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), including City officials; General Delic, the commander of the BiH Army; General Hajrulahovic, the commander of BiH forces in Sarajevo; members of the BiH State War Crimes Commission; and Professor Smajkic of the BiH Committee for Health and Social Security. The team discussed casualty figures at some length with Dr. Smajkic and obtained a nearly complete set of The Bulletin, which is produced in Bosnian and English. The team also obtained a certain amount of background information, most of it written in Bosnian from the State Commission and from city officials. The State Commission was preparing a chronology of the battle, but it was not available at the time of the writers' departure. The team was unable to visit the BSA side during the investigation.

       The team, in particular Major van Veen, met with several UN Military Observers (UNMOs) and with a wide range of officers in the UN Protection Forces (UNPROFOR), both in Sarajevo and in Kiseljak. All were most helpful and forthcoming in their comments, but it is inappropriate to mention these officers by name either here or in the text. They received a substantial amount of information from UNPROFOR, including maps, oral briefings, and a complete set of the HQ BiH Command Weekly INFOSUMS from numbers 1 to 36, and editions 3 and 5 of Bosnia- Herzegovina Warring Factions (apparently editions 1, 2, and 4 are very difficult to locate). These materials, together with a preliminary version of the Draft Study of Sarajevo Battle and Siege, prepared by the Chairman and his staff at the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University (IHRLI), provided the basis for the first draft of the military history and analysis portion of this report prepared by Major van Veen. Although both team members were involved in the writing of this report, Major van Veen was primarily responsible for those sections concerned with the battle organization and tactics, while Commander Fenrick was primarily responsible for the sections concerned with legal issues. The assistance of Lieutenant Commander Phillips of the Office of the Judge Advocate General in analysing the casualty statistics is gratefully acknowledged.

       This study is a non-exhaustive survey of armed conflict issues arising during the siege of Sarajevo. As the investigators did not have an opportunity to visit BSA forces during the investigation, they were not exposed to allegations of BiH misconduct during the siege unless the allegations came from UN sources. The study focuses on combat-related offences, unlawful targeting, and the use of unlawful means and methods of warfare.

       The objective of the study was to prepare an analytical survey of the entire battle of Sarajevo, focusing on the major violations of the law of war which have occurred and attempting to impute command responsibility.

       A consolidated chronology of the battle has been prepared, including a chronology of civilian casualties and a chronology for military units and commanders. These chronologies rely heavily on work which has been done by other entities.

       It is understood that the Chairman's staff at IHRLI has completed an analysis of the battle relying on documentation in the database. However, this analysis was not available for use during the study.

II. Considerations

       An analytical study of the battle as a whole, conducted in the same period of time as a study of a selected incident, is bound to be more impressionistic and superficial than the latter study. It is much less likely to result in the development of specific prosecutable cases. The survey approach may, however, result in the development of numerous insights and suggestions worth following up at a later time by teams which are focusing on the development of specific cases.

III. Background

       Sarajevo is the capital city and the economic, political and cultural centre of BiH. The 1991 census indicated that the municipality of Sarajevo, which included the city and some surrounding areas, had a population of 525,980 and occupied 2,049 sqare kilometres The population was 49.3 per cent Muslim, 29.9 per cent Serb, 6.6 per cent Croat, 10.7 per cent Yugoslav, and 3.5 per cent «others». Presumably, many members of the group referred to as «Yugoslav» would also have been entitled to classify themselves as «Muslim», «Serb» or «Croat», if they so wished. The population of Sarajevo constituted 11 per cent of the population of BiH.

       Sarajevo occupies a long, narrow valley on the banks of the Miljacka river. It is in a valley dominated by the steep mountain slopes and ridges of Trebevic, Jahorina, Igman, and Bjelasnica, all of which abut directly on the city. The city consists of a dense core, surrounded by a number of quarters which reach up the various slopes and several municipalities located in open ground at its western end. The existence of Sarajevo was first recorded after the Roman conquest of the area in the first century A.D.. The Slavs later colonized the area and erected a castle which can still be seen in the south-east of the city. In 1428 the Turks captured the castle and named the area Seraglio, from which the city takes its name (Sarajevo means «Palace in the fields»). In reality, the native Slavs who had been converted to Islam ruled the city. Sarajevo became renowned for being a prosperous and luxurious city during the Ottoman period. In 1878, the city was assigned to Austria by the Treaty of Berlin. Hatred of the Austrians increased, fed by South Slav (Yugoslav) nationalist fervour. In 1991, a Bosnian Serb student assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, setting in motion World War I. The old part of the city dates from the Turkish and Ottoman Empires. The new part of the city was planned in the Grbavica area, which developed a main electronics and metal industry to supply parts to other areas of the former Yugoslavia.

       In November and December 1990, multi-party parliamentary elections were held in BiH, which was then one of the constituent republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). The Muslim-based Party for Democratic Action (Stranka Democratske Akcije or SDA) won the majority of seats with 86 seats in Parliament, followed by the Serbian Democratic Party (Srpska Demokratska Stranka or SDS) with 72, and the Croatian Democratic Party (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica), which received 44. The remaining parties received 33 seats. The seven-member Presidency, elected by the parliament, included representatives of all three major parties. Alija Izetbegovic, the SDA leader, became President of the BiH Presidency. Problems in achieving consensus between national groups in BiH intensified, as the first declarations of independence were made by Croatia and Slovenia in June 1991. Soon after, in October, Muslims and Croats discussed the eventual secession of BiH from the SFRY, which Serb politicians totally opposed.

       In December 1991, the Muslims and Croats applied for diplomatic recognition by the European Community (EC). On 9 January 1992, Bosnian Serbs declared that they would form their own state, the «Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina» (SRBiH), if BiH was recognized as independent. They claimed territory in six regions of BiH where they were the dominant ethnic group. A referendum on independence was held throughout BiH on 1 March 1992, in order to satisfy a condition imposed by the EC for recognition. The results indicated that 63 per cent of eligible voters participated in the vote and 96 per cent of the voters opted for independence. However, local SDS administrations refused to cooperate, a number of polling stations were not opened, and many Serbs boycotted the poll and declared it invalid. After the results of the referendum were announced, President Izetbegovic declared the republic independent and called for international recognition.

       Ethnic tensions gradually increased soon after the declaration of independence by Croatia and Slovenia in June 1991. Many factors contributed to the escalation of violence, among them, the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and Serbian irregular forces stationed in BiH that launched attacks on Croatia, and the arrival of JNA troops withdrawing from Croatia, adding to the presence of Serbian paramilitary groups already in BiH. Clashes involving armed civilians, police, and paramilitaries of all nationalities occurred throughout 1991 and early 1992. Armed conflicts intensified and became widespread during and after the March referendum on independence. Consequently, the President of BiH, on 6 April 1992, declared a state of emergency and mobilized territorial defence units. Violence eventually escalated to a full-scale war in early April, almost immediately after the international community recognized the independence of BiH. On 6 April 1992, the EC voted to recognize the independence of BiH. The United States and Croatia followed suit on 7 April, Canada on 8 April, and so did members of the international community, including the Arab World, all in early April.

       On 7 April 1992 in Banja Luka, Bosnian Serbs declared the independence of the SRBiH and claimed two thirds of the new state's territory. Serbian irregular forces from BiH, and JNA units stationed in BiH, paramilitary groups from Serbia and Serbian-controlled territory in Croatia launched, or participated in, attacks throughout BiH, in the hope of preventing all or part of the republic from seceding. Muslim forces of the BiH Government, Bosnian Croats, and Croatian Army units sent from neighbouring Croatia responded to these atacks. By mid-April, the self-proclaimed SRBiH controlled approximately 70 per cent of BiH territory.

IV. The battle

       A detailed history of the Battle of Sarajevo remains to be written. The battle began in April 1992, at a time when the JNA still had troops stationed in barracks in Sarajevo. On 27 April 1992, the Serbian and Montenegrin members of the SFRY parliament voted to adopt a new constitution for the Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) consisting of Serbia and Montenegro. FRY promptly declared it had no territorial claims on neighbouring republics. On 4 May 1992, the FRY Presidency announced that all members of the JNA who were nationals of the newly proclaimed FRY were to leave BiH within fifteen days. The fighting in Sarajevo for the first significant period of time involved both JNA forces, more or less penned up in their barracks, and Serb forces surrounding the city. JNA forces do not appear to have completed their withdrawal from Sarajevo until 6 June 1992, when JNA troops and their dependents confined in the Marsal Tito Barracks were permitted to evacuate in an 80-vehicle convoy. Since the completion of the withdrawal of JNA troops from the city, the battle had been a siege, with BSA forces occupying the hills surrounding the city and some of the suburbs and BiH forces in the city with the bulk of civilian population. Attachment VI.A.1 is an anecdotal account based on weekly reports prepared by the UN following the establishment of the BiH Command (BiH Comd) by UNPROFOR on 23 October 1992. It gives an impressionistic picture of the battle from one perspective and is no substitute for a comprehensive history.

A. Organization, command, control, and equipment

       The SFRY relied on a strategic doctrine titled «peoples defence». This doctrine accepted that either a forward defence, or border perimeter defence, of Yugoslavia was strategically futile. Accordingly, based on its World War II experience, and consistent with the extremely rugged terrain, Yugoslav defence was oriented to a concept of operations based on partisan warfare. During World War II, Marsal Tito, by mounting remarkably effective guerilla warfare on a nationwide scale, kept some twenty divisions tied down. This guerilla campaign centred on territorial local forces whose intimate knowledge of the local terrain, coupled with a basic self-sufficiency in most weaponry, amplified their effectiveness to a degree which made the occupation of Yugoslavia prohibitively expensive in military terms. In the modern doctrine of «peoples defence», this success was built upon.

       Apart from the regular JNA, local territorial forces were equipped and organized to function on a stand alone basis in their own localities. In accordance with doctrine, stores of weapons, munitions, and materiel were dispersed throughout the country, a factor that played directly into the hands of the regional interests that arose as Yugoslavia dissolved. These territorial forces were doctrinally, tactically, operationally, and emotionally wedded to operating in their local areas. This factor has been illustrated fully in that the factions in BiH have been unable to mass sufficient troops to achieve a concentration of forces.

       At the beginning of the siege, BiH forces in the Sarajevo area composed 1st Corps Sarajevo. From the beginning of the siege to the date of writing, the commander of this corps has been Mustafa Hajrulahovic, with his headquarters located in Sarajevo. With the exception of his Deputy Chief of Staff, Ismet Alija, who was replaced by Esad Pelko in the spring of 1993, Hajrulahovic's senior staff has remained unchanged, with Vahid Karavelic as Deputy Commander and Asim Dzambasovic as Chief of Staff.

       BiH I (Sarajevo Corps) was originally organized as three Operational Groups: Visoko, Sarajevo City, and Mount Igman. This 40,000 strong force was further divided into one mechanized infantry brigade, three motorized infantry brigades, seven mountain brigades, an artillery brigade, an air defence regiment, one territorial defence force brigade, and a special forces unit of undetermined composition. BiH I (Sarajevo Corps) has been recently reorganized and the Visoko Operational Group has been placed under command of BiH 3 Corps. The purpose of the reorganization has been to enhance command and control, increase political and military reliability, and streamline the command structure. In furtherance of this goal, a large number of inexperienced or untrained personnel at command level were replaced at brigade and battalion level with ex-JNA. Currently, BiH I (Sarajevo Corps) is divided into 10 infantry brigades plus a logistic brigade, air defence regiment, military police battalion, an artillery brigade, an anti-sabotage unit, and a special forces group under direct command of the Minister of Internal Affairs Bakir Alispahic. The HVO brigade, formerly commanded by the civilian head of HVO in Sarajevo, Slavko Zelic, is now commanded by Ivan Vulic with Franjo Taljanic, who has been Chief of Staff since the beginning of the siege. There is a second HVO special action unit of indeterminate size which reports directly to the HVO members of Sarajevo city council. The reorganization has reduced BiH I (Sarajevo Corps) to a more manageable strength of approximately 25,000 to 30,000. Of these, some 8,000 to 9,000 are normally on the front line.

       A number of sources indicate that the BiH forces in Sarajevo are facing a severe shortage of munitions, particularly for their heavy weapons. BiH has indicated that it has a significant manufacture capability in the city, but this seems to be limited to the provision of small arms and light mortar ammunition. Nevertheless, sources estimate BiH I (Sarajevo) Corps' heavy inventory as follows:

  1. seven to 10 T55 tanks with 100 millimetre guns and no infra-red capability;
  2. 10 to 15 APCs of various types including BTR 50 and BTR 152 equipped, with either 12.7 or 14.5 millimetre heavy machine- guns;
  3. 15 to 20 artillery weapons, a mixture of 85 millimetre recoilless rifles, 122 millimetre D30 howitzer and 155 millimetre howitzers of indeterminate origin; and
  4. 40 to 50 mortars, of either 82 or 120 millimetre with some mounted on vehicles for enhanced mobility.
In short, the BiH forces are overwhelmingly infantry heavy, with limited sustainability and insufficient assets for combined operations on any significant scale.

       Control of BiH forces seems to be difficult at best. BiH forces in the city are relying on telephone and easily monitored «Motorola» hand-held transmitters. Further, there appears to be friction between the Army and the Presidency and the opposition regarding the line of authority. On a series of occasions, outside sources have observed the erection of checkpoints and the repositioning of heavy weapons in support of what appears to be domestic brinkmanship.

       A final potential difficulty in the BiH command and control relationship in the city is the position of HVO troops. These troops, reporting directly to HVO political authority, constitute a wild card in the BiH hand. As open war breaks out between BiH and HVO forces in the rest of BiH, the loyalty and effectiveness of these troops in support of BiH operations and objectives is an open issue.

       The July 1993 BiH order of battle at Sarajevo appears to be as follows:

  1. 101 Brigade--Novi Grad: Commander--Nedzad Ajnadzic; Chief of Staff--Vahid Cebo;
  2. 102 Brigade--Stup: Commander--Esad Paldum; Deputy Commander--Mustafa Dzebo; Chief of Staff--Amir Corbo;
  3. 1st Mountain Brigade--Stari Grad: Commander-- Mustafa Zulic; Chief of Staff--Zijad Borezenovic;
  4. 2nd Mountain Brigade--Vratnik, Vasin Han: Commander-- Sahin Puskar; Deputy Commander--Atif Adzic; Chief of Staff--Safet Dzaferovic;
  5. 1st Mechanical Brigade--Vogosca--Zuc: Commander--Enver Sehovic; Chief of Staff--Ibrahim Dervisevic;
  6. 2nd Motorized Brigade--Rajlovac: Commander--Safet Zajko; Deputy Commander--Safet Isovic; Chief of Staff--Enin Suljagic;
  7. 5th Brigade--Dobrinja: Commander--Ismet Hadzic; Chief of Staff--Halil Bicaj;
  8. 9th Motorized Brigade - Kosevo, Grdanj;
  9. 10th Motorized Brigade - Skenderija; and
  10. HVO Brigade (Kralj Tvrtko)--Grbavica: Commander--Iva Tulic; Chief of Staff--Franjo Taljanic.

       A final factor having a potential bearing on the BiH command and control structure is the ethnic mix of BiH 1 (Sarajevo Corps). Currently the Corps is thought to have the following ethnic mix: 15 to 20 per cent Serb; 5 to 10 per cent Croat; 10 to 15 per cent Yugoslav; and 55 to 70 per cent Muslim.

       The BSA forces around Sarajevo from the onset of the siege in April 1992 are troops of the Sarajevo Romanija Corps commanded by Major General Tomislav Sipcic and are now commanded by Major General Stanislav Galic, both ex-JNA regular officers. This Corps consists of eight brigades. The troops, consistent with the former Yugoslavia «peoples defence» doctrine, are mainly from either the local area or from Sarajevo itself. A number of factors have made it possible for the BSA to develop a more sophisticated command and control structure than BiH:

  1. the besiegers' organization and positions have, by and large, remained static throughout the siege;
  2. the force does not have the difficulties with ethnic mix as does BiH 1 (Sarajevo) Corps, which is virtually all Serbian;
  3. the vast majority of commanders at battalion, brigade, and corps level are ex-JNA regulars, as is a cadre of NCOs and company grade officers;
  4. the Sarajevo Romanija Corps has enjoyed, for the most part, command continuity over the entire period of the siege;
  5. permanent, secure land line communications have been established, thereby permitting well-coordinated artillery fire planning;
  6. local commanders have been granted the freedom for fire of opportunity with their heavy weapons and the initiative to use those weapons in local reprisals for BiH sallies; and
  7. the BSA concept of operations, being primarily militarily defensive and psychologically offensive, is straight forward.

       Galic's Corps Headquarters is located at Lukavica on the high ground, with an excellent view of the entire western half of the city. Based on the pattern of heavy artillery fires, it appears that Galic has excellent control of his artillery assets. On a series of occasions, this fire has been simultaneously directed from a number of directions with coordinated time on target (TOT). Further, Galic's logisticians have shown themselves to be adept at replenishing the vast amount of munitions fired quickly across the tortuous highland road and trail system. Galic is thought to have approximately 600 pieces of artillery at his disposal and has demonstrated a high skill at its tactical use.

       The besiegers, numbering some 13,000 troops, are formed into nine brigades based on their original territorial units. Of these, eight brigades actually occupy the siege line. These brigades each have an area of operations with which they both: a) have a territorial affinity, and b) have occupied on a semi permanent basis.

       These brigades are as follows:

  1. Sarajevo 1st Brigade--Lukavica: Commander--Lieutenant Colonel Stojanovic;
  2. Rajlovac Brigade: Commander--Lieutenant Colonel Miroslav Bandzur; Chief of Staff--Miroslav Radic;
  3. Kosevo Brigade--Radava: Commander--Miroslav Krajisnik;
  4. Ilidza Brigade Ilidza: Commander--Colonel Radojcic;
  5. Vogosca Brigade Vogosca: Commander--Milos Delic; Chief of Staff--Robert Evanovski;
  6. Romanija Brigade--Grbavica: Commander--M. Petkovic;
  7. Nedzarici Brigade--Idejkovici: Commander--Mijovic Dragan;
  8. Trebevic Brigade and at Igman mountain outside the perimeter; and
  9. Blazuj Brigade Blazuj: Commander--M. Cojic.

       In addition to the brigade commanders, Colonel Zdravko Zgonjanin, as Chief of Police for Boundaries, with his deputy Goran Zubac have been responsible for the interdiction of Bosnian personnel and refugees across the international zone at Sarajevo Airport.

       Like the BiH forces, the BSA use essentially ex-JNA equipment:

  1. Tanks--T55 and M84;
  2. Howitzers--155, 152, 130, 120 and 105 millimetre;
  3. MLRs--truck mounted 122 millimetre;
  4. anti-tank--fired direct fire artillery 100 meters T100;
  5. Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA)--57 millimetre, 40 millimetre, 3 by 20 millimetre Oerlikon, dual 14.5 millimetre, 14.5 millimetre and 12.7 millimetre; and
  6. mortars--82 millimetre and 120 millimetre.

B. Tactics used during the battle

       As of early July 1993, the strategic situation at the siege of Sarajevo is one where the Serb forces continue to dominate much of the perimeter of the city more for the political significance it holds than for any intention of gaining possession of the city at this time. BiH forces do not appear to be able to amass adequate fighting power to effectively break the state of siege. From a tactical perspective, it is essential to note that, at this stage of the conflict, the siege, while of tremendous political and military significance, is not the main focus of BiH, BSA, or HVO activity. The BiH forces are conducting a major offensive in central BiH, and fighting at various levels of intensity is occurring in the periphery. As a consequence, the operations at Sarajevo have developed into a classic siege, with neither side being in possession of either the will or the military ability to force a conclusion. Nevertheless, both sides have maintained a high tempo of violence.

       Tactics in Sarajevo and its environs are influenced by a correlation of several factors:

  1. The unique combination and proximity of both prominent high ground and developed urban terrain;
  2. the actual force structure of the warring factions;
  3. the limited ability of both parties to consolidate and reconstitute those forces for subsequent combat operations;
  4. the extremes in weather, which have been particularly telling for troops exposed on the surrounding hill features;
  5. the state of the various intermittent political negotiations; and
  6. the presence of influential external elements, in particular the various arms of the United Nations and, of at least equal importance, the world media.

       Serb forces have a preponderance of heavy weapons and large stocks of munitions of all calibres. It is apparent that the BSA was able to obtain large stocks of ex-JNA inventory. However, the Serbs suffer from a distinct manpower shortage, with estimates at about 13,000 persons. As the BSA has been hard pressed at Gorazde, central and northern BiH, the Bihac area, and the Posavina corridor, there has been no influx of new troops and no rotation of besieging units. Specialist gunners for the heaviest ordinance are moved around the perimeter, as there are more gun positions and 155 millimetre weapons than crews to man them. However, local commanders have the full freedom to use their unit's heavy weapons. As such, the individual unit determines the scale and target of both harassing and interdiction fire.

       The BiH, as an infantry force, has limited capabilities at best. The areas of vital concern are the high ground, along the steep ridges surrounding the city, and the open ground at the west end between the airport and the Butmir/Igman mountain positions. BiH activity has focused on four basic objectives:

  1. the seizure of the high ground to interrupt Serbian direct line of sight/line of fire into the city;
  2. the seizure of key mountain roads to isolate Serbian positions on the various high features;
  3. the opening of a land corridor through the west end of the city, through the municipality of Ilidza, to break the siege and link up with the BiH main body; and
  4. focusing as much international attention as possible on the situation in Sarajevo as a means to obtaining international assistance and sympathy.

       The BiH army has dispersed its forces throughout the city, as any concentration of forces or permanent deployment of assets would bring down an unsustainable weight of fire from the commanding hills. To that end, those defenders not actually manning the perimeters or engaged on duty are quartered at their homes. The weapons shortage is so acute that, on shift change, reports have been received that the new replacements are «handed off» the small arms of the previous shift. None the less, the BiH has conducted an aggressive mobile defence. Heavy weapons are not dug-in in fixed emplacements. Rather, they are hidden throughout the built-up areas and shifted to preclude counter- battery fire. As use of these weapons always provokes a disproportionate Serb response, the BiH army has given its weapons, most notably its mortars, significant mobility by mounting them on the backs of trucks.

       The BiH army also employs the classic infantry tactics but is limited to smaller unit actions by three factors: lack of supporting firepower, a lack of logistics sustainability, and the Serb ability to detect and target the staging of any forces of above-company strength. Consequently, BiH has primarily employed small-unit tactics. The BiH army, like the Serbs, has employed a high level of sniping. This tactic has stimulated direct reprisal by BSA artillery fire, as specifically indicated by them during the week of 14-20 March 1993. Included in this sniping is the use of AAA in the direct fire anti-personnel mode, particularly in support of the snipers. The BiH forces have also indulged in sporadic indirect and small-arms fire, most notably with their mobile 82 millimetre and 120 millimetre mortars.

       The majority of BiH attacks are of platoon-plus size, with a minimum of preparatory artillery fire, although supporting fire has been received from main-body positions on and around Igman mountain. With the advantage of interior lines of communication and the ability to achieve local tactical initiative, BiH forces have conducted a series of deliberate pre-dawn attacks aimed at high features, Serbian strong points, and vulnerable supply routes. BSA counter-attacks have usually involved severe artillery fire. The common scenario appears to be an initial BiH success followed by an inability to consolidate due to a lack of sustainability of logistics and supporting fire under the weight of Serbian counter-fire from heavy weapons. BiH casualties are high due to the following factors:

  1. most attacks involve frontal assaults against fixed emplacements and bunkers equipped with crew-served automatic weapons;
  2. BSA positions have superb positions of observation and fire with pre-registered killing zones;
  3. the BSA has confirmed night vision capability;
  4. the BSA has pre-registered defensive fire plans, including final defensive fire (FDF), on their own positions; and
  5. the presence of significant armour resources permits the deployment of high-flexibility, high-intensity reaction forces, where the terrain permits.

       None the less, BiH tenacity has been such that the perimeter integrity has, by and large, been maintained.

       BiH has also mounted large numbers of platoon-size trench raids. These raids have limited tactical objectives, such as the reduction of a particularly bothersome strong point, the elimination or capture of Serb heavy weapons, the capture of BSA personnel, or the diversion of attention from surreptitious crossings at Sarajevo airport or other movements. These operations are of limited size and duration and conclude with a withdrawal to the main perimeter. Due to the factors listed above, coupled with an apparent deficiency in coordination, BiH is unable to exploit tactical opportunities created by these raids. This problem with coordination inhibits larger scale operations. One example of this was an abortive three brigade attack south of Sarajevo from Mount Igman towards the Butmir area on 25 January 1993. Coordination collapsed as regards timing, fire support, and manoeuvre, to the point where the operation rapidly degenerated to a confused series of local platoon attacks and counter-attacks. More successful has been the BiH tactic of long range infiltration into BSA lines. This infiltration has the objective of sabotaging or capturing BSA equipment. This equipment most notably includes tanks, gun emplacements and logistics stores. While BiH has exaggerated the success of these raids to include the accidental destruction of a large BSA ammunition dump, the raids have had sufficient effect to divert BSA overtaxed reserves of manpower for enhanced «rear area» security.

       In the static defence mode, BiH tactics have followed the conventional techniques for the defence in Fight in Built-Up Areas (FIBUA) operations. The use of mutually supporting strong points, communication trenches and tunnels, jury rigged barricades to block fire, movement and observation are all common. Due to the constant sniper fire, key crossroads, particularly on the north/south streets, have been shielded to facilitate pedestrian and vehicular movement. There are unsubstantiated reports that the BiH has expanded the sewer system and built underground factories, command posts, and hospitals. What has been substantiated was the existence of a steel reinforced tunnel approximately 1.4 metres under the airport from Muslim held Butmir to the Dobrinja quarter in the southwest of the city. That tunnel was detected and flooded.

       BSA objectives in the siege are much less complex than those of BiH. The Serb concept of operations appears to be the extension of the siege as a focus of political negotiations, activity, and propaganda intended for political leverage rather than military advantage. Notwithstanding, the tempo of BSA operations can be intensive for protracted periods. Their overriding tactical concern is their shortage of manpower. The current manpower situation is such that a definitive BSA military solution is unattainable until forces can be shifted from other areas of operation. The eight BSA brigades are inordinately well equipped with dedicated artillery and mortar assets. Estimates range from between 600 and 1,100 artillery and mortar weapons and do not include the large inventory of heavy calibre AAA weapons and tanks. Based on its concept of operations, BSA tactics are primarily defensive and reactive in nature.

       From their entrenched and rivetted positions on the high ground around the city, BSA gunners can strike at any part of the city with relative impunity. The following factors reinforce the predominance of the BSA reliance on artillery:

  1. the high ground offers an unimpeded view of the city with direct lines of sight and, frequently, lines of fire;
  2. for the weapons systems employed, ranges are virtually point blank;
  3. ample munitions for the weapons are in situ;
  4. many of the gunners are locals and as such are familiar with the layout of the city; and
  5. the duration of the siege has permitted the detailed registration of the guns.

       The BSA has employed its artillery in two ways. The first is for traditional purposes, such as close support for assaults, counter-attacks by fire, defensive fires against BiH forays, the harassment and interdiction of BiH supply lines and staging areas, area denial, the reduction of BiH strong points and entrenchments, and counter-battery fire. The second is for the express purpose of terrorizing the besieged populace. In the conventional role, the BSA use of artillery has been highly effective. On 8 December 1992, for example, when BiH forces attacked various access routes in the northern boundary of the perimeter, the BSA responded with heavy shelling and a quick counter-attack on the high feature at Zuc. The position was isolated on three sides by a curtain of shells, the position was taken, and the BiH counter-penetration attack was broken up by a massive barrage employing the full range of fuses including air burst, delay, and point detonating.

       It is the second tactic, that of using heavy artillery as a weapon of terror by the BSA, that is most controversial. Some of the shelling into the populated quarters of the city may well have a bona fide military objective, such as counter-battery fire on the elusive BiH tubes. However, the sheer weight of fire precludes any discussion of proportionality. The BSA has indicated, both by its conduct and by direct comment, that shelling of the built-up areas is conducted for the express purpose of reprisal for BiH sniper fire, raids, barrages, and attacks along the perimeter. Further, this shelling has followed a pattern consistent with life under siege. Shelling routinely occurs at dawn and at dusk and is random in both source and target. There are allegations that civilians are being targeted at schools, parks, sports fields, water and food distribution points, hospitals, and cemeteries. As a variation on this theme, BSA gunners have used AAA in the form of 20 millimetre and 14.7 millimetre auto cannon in the direct fire, anti-personnel mode, directly targeting individual civilians as they move through the city. There are numerous recorded instances where this fire has been directed at UN and relief personnel and activities. As regards the destruction of cultural properties, there has been some evidence to suggest that BiH forces have stationed or positioned weapons either directly in, or in close proximity to, these structures. However, as stated earlier this alone would not account for the sheer volume of fire directed at them. Further, UN sources indicate evidence that city utilities are being directly targeted with predictable effects on the populace.

       The entire city is under constant BSA small-arms fire. Some of this fire is sporadic or originates from the area of the confrontation line. It should be noted, though, that the majority of this fire is from specifically dedicated snipers, with medium and heavy machine-guns. This fire is directly targeted at any person or vehicle in the perimeter and is completely random. One observed technique is to bring down a victim, wait, and then engage rescuers, including marked ambulances and UN vehicles. Persons on the BSA side have observed numbers of snipers equipped with specialized weapons for their operations. The overwhelming number of casualties from this continuous sniping and sporadic shelling are civilians. The sniping and shelling incidents escalate directly in relation to the lack of tangible results in negotiations. It should be noted that: a) local commanders have the full freedom to use their heavy weapons; and, b) the collapse of negotiations reduces the control over local leaders. It should be stressed, however, with shelling that varies from 20 to 2,400 impacts per day, with an average of 200 impacts recorded per day, the required logistics impute constructive knowledge of this targeting to the higher echelon commanders.

       As regards offensive tactics, the BSA is not keen to participate in FIBUA operations for a number of reasons:

  1. its concept of operations does not, as yet, require the taking of further ground in the Sarajevo perimeter;
  2. its current selected aims are satisfied by the existing tactical situation;
  3. FIBUA operations are too infantry intensive; and
  4. as indicated during an attack of the city in the Otes district on 21 December 1992, the BSA has experienced disproportionate casualties in both personnel and equipment, especially tanks, with respect to the advantage gained.

       In the open areas to the west of the city, the BSA has fared better in combined arms operations. The BSA employs armour in company strength plus (10-20 tanks) supported by APC's and artillery. The combination of the rugged hill features and urban terrain, together with the BiH's effective use of its anti-armour weapons and obstacle plan, have relegated the armour to two secondary roles: mobile artillery and rapid reaction for counter- attack or counter-penetration.

       The BSA is capable of terrorizing Sarajevo in its geographic entirety with its heavy weapons but cannot force the fall of the city from a strictly military view. In contrast, the BiH can, at the present time, deny the urban terrain to the BSA but cannot break the siege. The key elements, as both realize, are the civilian population and, through them, international pressure.

C. Casualties

       It is extremely difficult to determine precise civilian casualty figures during an armed conflict. The Committee for Health and Social Security of Citizens of the Ministry of Health of BiH, headed by Professor Dr. Arif Smajkic, has been publishing a weekly publication, The Bulletin, which has attempted to capture total casualty figures for Sarajevo alone and for BiH as a whole. A meeting with Dr. Smajkic convinced the writers of this report that he is making a good faith effort, under enormous difficulties, to compile accurate figures. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, although all practicable efforts have been made to compile total casualty figures resulting from military activity, relatively little effort has been devoted to distinguishing between civilian and military casualties.

       In compiling the tables which follow, all copies of The Bulletin from 3 June 1992 (Number 8) to 28 June 1993 (Number 63) have been reviewed. The totals in the 28 June 1993 issue might be noted. By that time, it was estimated that 8,934 persons had been killed in Sarajevo due to military activity (including 1,418 children) and 52,518 persons had been heavily wounded (including 13,738 children). The vast majority of these casualties were non- combatants and not legitimate objects of attack. If there are eventually to be prosecutions for attacks on the civilian population in the Sarajevo area, it will be necessary to review the casualty figures held by the Committee to precisely identify combatants and non-combatants, because the combatants are, of course, lawful targets. It must also be noted that the casualty figures in The Bulletin, because of the inevitable problems of gathering such statistics in wartime, have certain gaps and discontinuities. Two inexplicable discontinuities are the enormous increase in the estimate of the cumulative number of persons killed, from 2,349 to 7,468 between 27 September 1992, and 9 November 1992, and the simultaneous decline in the estimate of the cumulative number of persons seriously wounded, from 13,605 to 12,000.

       Certain issues of The Bulletin contain varying estimates of the percentage of total casualties which are non-combatant casualties:

  1. 2 August and 10 August 1992--70 per cent of total casualties were civilians;
  2. 19 August 1992--75 per cent of total casualties were civilians; and
  3. 27 September 1992--80 per cent of those killed and 75 per cent of those wounded were civilians.
These estimates refer to casualties in all of BiH, not Sarajevo alone. Dr. Smajkic estimates that about 85 per cent of the casualties in Sarajevo itself were non-combatants.

       The following Table presents some basic statistics from the 1992 and 1993 Sarajevo casualty figures, which are presented in toto in Tables #2 and #3 which follow on the next pages:

                      Table #1
  Year      Statistic        Deaths          Wounded
  1992      Average/wk        79.7            506.2
  1992      Maximum/wk       172            1,324
  1992      Minimum/wk        17              113
  1993      Average/wk        33.6            219.0
  1993      Maximum/wk        77              421
  1993      Minimum/wk         9               58
One can quickly see that the figures for 1993 are approximately 44 per cent of 1992 figures.
                           Table #2
                 1992 Weekly Sarajevo Casualties
  1992    Bulletin               Deaths                          Wounded
Bulletin             Reported  Reported/  Calculated/  Reported  Reported/  Calculated/    Heavily
    #                  Total     Week        Week        Total      Week       Week        Wounded
    8       6/3/92                                                                        
    9      6/10/92                                                                        
   10      6/18/92                                                                        
   11      6/26/92    1,320                              6,448                            
   12       7/3/92    1,359                    39        6,716                   268      
   13      7/11/92    1,420                    61        8,040                 1,324      
   14      7/19/92    1,467                    47        8,355                   315      
   15      7/26/92    1,511                    44        8,662                   307      
   16       8/2/92    1,569                    58        9,333                   671      
   17      8/10/92    1,682                   113        9,446                   113      
   18      8/16/92    1,713                    31        9,677                   231      
   19      8/23/92    1,829       1991        116       10,887      540        1,210      
   20      8/30/92    1,954                   125       11,649                   762      
   21       9/6/92    2,037                    83       12,293                   644      
   22      9/13/92    2,123                    86       12,789                   496      
   23      9/20/92    2,252       129         129       13,059      796          270       
   24      9/27/92    2,349       111          97       13,605      617          546       
   25      10/5/92                                                                  
   26     10/11/92                                                                  
   27     10/18/92                                                                  
   28     10/25/92                                                                  
   29      11/2/92                                                                  
   30      11/9/92    7,468        61                   12,000      314             
   31     11/15/92    7,509        24          41       12,142      171          142
   32     11/23/92                 17                               161                   
   33     11/30/92    7,579                             12,283                            
   34      12/7/92    7,694                   115       13,086                   803       
   35     12/14/92                                                                        
   36     12/21/92    7,845                                                               
   37     12/28/92    8,017                   172       13,886
                               Table #3
                 1993 Weekly Sarajevo Casualties
  1993    Bulletin               Deaths                          Wounded
Bulletin             Reported  Reported/  Calculated/  Reported  Reported/  Calculated/    Heavily
    #                  Total     Week        Week        Total      Week       Week        Wounded
   38       1/4/93                 27                               184                   
   39      1/11/93                 14                               135                   
   40      1/18/93    8,155        43                   47,573      272                    14,285
   41      1/25/93                 15                               139                   
   42       2/1/93                 77                   48,105      393                    14,592
   43       2/8/93    8,281        34                   48,315      210         210        14,748
   44      2/15/93    8,327        46          46       48,557      242         242        14,894
   45      2/22/93    8,373        46          46       48,930      373         373        15,080
   46       3/1/93    8,414        31          41       49,068      138         138        15,149
   47       3/8/93    8,454        40          40       49,260      192         192        15,290
   48      3/15/93    8,484        30          30       49,489      229         229        15,443
   49      3/22/93    8,535        51          51       49,860      371         371        15,591
   50      3/29/93    8,565        30          30       50,106      246         246        15,759
   51       4/5/93                 14                                72                   
   52      4/12/93                 25                                                     
   53      4/19/93    8,617                             50,458                             15,965
   54      4/26/93    8,657        40          40       50,663      205         205        16,075
   55       5/3/93                 31                               203                   
   56      5/10/93    8,713        25                   51,002      136                   
   57      5/17/93    8,722         9           9       51,060       58          58        16,301
   58      5/24/93    8,748        26          26       67,616      190                   
   59      5/31/93    8,789        41          41       51,471      221                    16,466
   60       6/7/93    8,840        51          51       51,892      421         421        16,608
   61      6/14/93    8,871        31          31       52,086      194         194        16,660
   62      6/21/93    8,913        42          42       52,307      221         221        16,786
   63      6/28/93    8,934        21          21       52,518      211         211

V. Applicable law

       For the purposes of this report, it is presumed that the law applicable in international armed conflicts applies to the battle of Sarajevo for the reasons indicated in paragraph 45 of the Commission's first interim report (S/25274 of 10 February 1993):

«45. The Commission is of the opinion, however, that the character and complexity of the armed conflicts concerned, combined with the web of agreements on humanitarian issues the parties have concluded among themselves, justify an approach whereby it applies the law applicable in international armed conflicts to the entirety of the armed conflicts in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.»

       It is presumed that the law applicable in international armed conflicts includes the provisions of Additional Protocol I of 1977 and of the Hague Cultural Property Convention of 1954, as well as the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the rules of customary law.

       It is noted that the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal refers to grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (article 2), violations of the laws of customs of war (article 3), genocide (article 4), and crimes against humanity (article 5). The Statute, for whatever reason, does not refer explicitly to Additional Protocol I of 1977. The standards set forth in Additional Protocol I will be referred to repeatedly in the discussion and analysis that follows because the various parties to the conflict have agreed to apply Protocol I, and because it is assumed that many of the provisions in Protocol I can be considered statements of customary law. It is noted that article 85 (5) of Protocol I refers to grave breaches as war crimes. It is hoped that article 3 of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal can be interpreted in such a way as to include grave breaches of Protocol I.

VI. Command responsibility

       A commander giving an order to commit a war crime is equally guilty of the offence as the person actually committing it. He is also liable to punishment if he knew or had information which should have enabled him to conclude, in the circumstances at the time, that a subordinate was committing or going to commit a breach of the law, and failed to take all feasible steps to prevent or repress that breach. The mental element necessary when the commander has not given the offending order is a) actual knowledge; b) such serious personal dereliction on the part of the commander as to constitute wilful and wanton disregard of the possible consequences; or c) an imputation of constructive knowledge. That is, despite pleas to the contrary, the commander, under the facts and circumstances of the particular case, must have known of the offences charged and acquiesced therein. (W. Hays Parks, «Command Responsibility for War Crimes», 62 Military Law Review 1, 101-104).

       Articles 86 (2) and 87 of Additional Protocol I essentially codify the customary law concerning command responsibility. These state:

«Article 86 - Failure to act
2. The fact that a breach of the Conventions or of this Protocol was committed by a subordinate does not absolve his superior from penal or disciplinary responsibility, as the case may be, if they knew, or had information which should have enabled them to conclude in the circumstances at the time, that he was committing or was going to commit such a breach and if they did not take all feasible measures within their power to prevent or repress the breach.»
«Article 87 - Duty of commander
1. The High Contracting Parties and the Parties to the conflict shall require military commanders, with respect to members of the armed forces under their command and other persons under their control, to prevent and, where necessary, to suppress and to report to competent authorities breaches of the Conventions and of this Protocol.

2. In order to prevent and suppress breaches, High Contracting Parties and Parties to the conflict shall require that, commensurate with their level of responsibility, commanders ensure that members of the armed forces under their command are aware of their obligations under the Conventions and this Protocol.

3. The High Contracting Parties and Parties to the conflict shall require any commander who is aware that subordinates or other persons under his control are going to commit or have committed a breach of the Convention or of this Protocol, to initiate such steps as are necessary to prevent such violations of the Convention or this Protocol, and, where appropriate, to initiate disciplinary or penal action against violators thereof.»

       The military commander is not absolutely responsible for all offences committed by his subordinates. Isolated offences may be committed of which he has no knowledge whatsoever. A commander does, however, as a fundamental aspect of command, have a duty to control his troops and to take all practicable measures to ensure that they comply with the law. The arguments that a commander has a weak personality or that the troops assigned to him are uncontrollable are simply unacceptable. One writer, (W.D. Burnett, «Command Responsibility and a Case Study of the Criminal Responsibility of Israeli Military Commanders for the Program at Shatila and Sabra», 107 Military Law Review 71, 189 (1985)) concluded his study of the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps as follows:

«Finally, to avoid the misfeasance of past commanders, including Eitan, Drori, and Yaron, any military commander, Israeli or otherwise, assigned command and control over armed combatant groups similar to the Phalangists which has engaged in widespread war crimes in the past should refrain from employing that group in combat situations until they have demonstrated clearly and unequivocally their commitment to the fundamental humanitarian protection of the law of war.»
If, for whatever reasons, the argument is made that military forces fighting in the Sarajevo area are not capable of complying with the law, that is no defence to a war crimes charge against a commander.

VII. The military objective

       A fundamental aspect of the law of armed conflict is the principle of distinction: military commanders are required to direct their operations against military objectives exclusively and, to the extent practicable, to avoid causing casualties or damage to civilian persons or objects. Military objectives include enemy combatants and certain objects. The definition of military objective in Additional Protocol I is now generally accepted. It states:

«2. Attacks shall be limited strictly to military objectives. Insofar as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.»
One of the leading commentaries on the Protocols discusses the definition in the following terms:
«Military objectives are those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use:

a. make an effective contribution to military action, and

b. whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage . . . .

2.4.2 The objects classified as military objectives under this definition include much more than strictly military objects such as military vehicles, weapons, munitions, stores of fuel and fortifications. Provided the object meet the two-pronged test, under the circumstances ruling at the time (not at some hypothetical future time), military objectives include activities providing administrative and logistical support to military operations such as transportation and communications systems, railroads, airfields and port facilities and industries of fundamental importance for the conduct of the armed conflict....

2.4.3 Military objectives must make an `effective contribution to military action'. This does not require a direct connection with combat option. . . . Thus a civilian object may become a military objective and thereby lose its immunity from deliberate attack through use which is only indirectly related to combat action, but which nevertheless provides an effective contribution to the military phase of a Party's overall war effort . . . .»

(M. Bothe, K. Partsch and W. Solf, New Rules for Victims of Armed Conflict 323-324 (1982)).

       In the municipality of Sarajevo, BiH and HVO forces, their equipment and facilities, including barracks and factories producing weapons or other equipment for the forces, would be legitimate military objectives. The civilian population, civilian housing, medical facilities, schools, religious facilities, and facilities producing food or other objects primarily for the use of the civilian population would not be legitimate military objectives. BiH and HVO forces are not, however, entitled to conceal themselves among the civilian population or in civilian objects and claim immunity from attack. As indicated in article 51(7) of Protocol I, the party being attacked is not to use its own civilian population to shield military objectives from attack. Compliance with the law of armed conflict is particularly difficult during a siege as in Sarajevo because of the almost inevitable intermingling of military forces and the civilian population. The besieged forces continue to have an obligation, to the extent practicable, to distinguish themselves from the civilian population. The besieging forces continue to have an obligation to comply with the rule of proportionality and to avoid causing excessive collateral losses to the civilian population. It is inevitable, however, that there will be a proliferation of dual-use facilities such as communications systems, power networks, transportation systems and supply facilities, which are used by both the civilian population and military forces. Generally speaking, these dual-use facilities would become legitimate military objectives.

VIII. Siege warfare

       Siege is a traditional method of warfare whereby one party to a conflict attempts to compel another party to surrender an area occupied by the other party's forces. It is accomplished by surrounding the area, cutting off all access to the outside, and bombarding or starving the area into submission. Under the law, as set forth in the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Geneva Conventions of 1949, belligerents were forbidden to attack or bombard undefended cities (Sarajevo is defended by BiH and HVO forces), and must notify the authorities in the city of a bombardment, except in the case of an assault. In addition, belligerents must take all necessary steps to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.

       In the words of Sir Hersh Lauterpacht, (Oppenheim's International Law, volume II, at 419 (7th ed. 1952)):

«With regard to the mode of carrying out siege without bombardment, no special rules of International Law exist, and here too only the general rules respecting offence and defence apply. Therefore, an armed force besieging a town may, for instance, cut off the river which supplies drinking water to the besieged, but must not poison the river. Moreover, no rule of law exists which obliges a besieging force to allow all non-combatants, or even women, children, the aged, the sick and wounded, or subjects of neutral Powers, to leave the besieged locality unmolested. Further, should the commander of a besieged place expel the non- combatants, in order to lessen the number of those who consume his store of provisions, the besieging force need not allow them to pass through its lines, but may drive them back.»

       Subject to article 17 of the Geneva Civilians Convention, which encourages the conclusion of local agreements for removal of some persons from besieged areas, and article 23 of the Civilians Convention, which provides for the free passage of medical and religious supplies for all persons and of essential food for children under fifteen, expectant mothers, and maternity cases, the commander of the investing force has the right to forbid all communications and access between the besieged place and the outside.

       Simply put, under the law as it existed prior to Protocol I, the investing force was, generally speaking, entitled to starve, freeze, or dehydrate the inhabitants of a besieged area into submission.

       Assuming that Additional Protocol I is also applicable to the siege of Sarajevo, the legal situation becomes somewhat different:

  1. starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited (article 54);
  2. the provisions concerning relief actions are somewhat stronger (article 70); and
  3. directing fire on non-combatants entering or leaving a besieged area is now unlawful (article 51).

IX. Violations of the law of armed conflict

       Any recent visitor to Sarajevo quickly becomes aware of the fact that many violations of the law of armed conflict are being committed during the battle. The focus of this particular investigation is on offences committed during the fighting, in particular, the use of impermissible methods or means of warfare, and attacks on illegitimate targets. Although the question of whether certain acts were lawful reprisals might be raised in defence at a trial, the reprisals issue will be ignored in this study.

       In the words of the editors of the Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals (volume 15, at 109), «Those rules of international law which relate to the actual conduct of hostilities have only infrequently been made the basis of war crime trial proceedings». The editors, writing in the aftermath of World War II, go on to indicate that the then applicable law for the conduct of hostilities on land consisted essentially of articles 22-28 of the 1907 Hague Regulations. They point out (at 110) that «no records of trials in which allegations were made of the illegal conduct of air warfare have been brought to the notice of the United Nations War Crimes Commission». The types of offences which they discuss in their analysis include: wearing enemy uniforms while engaging in combat, inciting troops to deny quarter, continuing to fire on a vessel after it has surrendered, killing the survivors of sunken ships, and participating in hostilities as an unlawful combatant.

       Article 6(b) of the Statute of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg listed «wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity» as war crimes. It appears, however, that to date no one has been tried on a charge related to wanton destruction and that those persons tried on charges related to devastation, such as General Rendulic, who was acquitted on a charge of this type in the «Hostage Trial» (8 Law Reports if Trials of War Criminals 34, 67- 69), have been tried for offences alleged to have been committed in occupied territory.

       Article 3 of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal states:

«The International Tribunal shall have the power to prosecute persons violating the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to:

a. employment of poisonous weapons or other weapons calculated to cause unnecessary suffering;

b. wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;

c. attack, or bombardment, by whatever means, of undefended towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings;

d. seizure of, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences, historic monuments and works of art and science; and

e. plunder of public or private property.»

       With reference to the Battle of Sarajevo, it must be noted that Sarajevo is not «undefended». The British Manual of Military Law Part III § 290 (1958) contains a concise statement of the applicable law:

«An undefended or `open' town is a town which is so completely undefended from within or without that the enemy may enter and take possession of it without fighting or incurring casualties. It follows that no town behind the immediate front line can be open or undefended for the attacker must fight his way to it. Any town behind the enemy front line is thus a defended town and is open to ground or other bombardment, subject to the limitations imposed on all bombardments, namely, that as far as possible, the latter must be limited to military objectives. This means that hospitals, convalescent homes, churches and monuments duly marked by signs notified beforehand must not be deliberately attacked if they are not used for military purposes. Thus, the question of whether a town is or is not an open town is distinct from whether it does not contain military objectives. A town in the front line with no means of defence, not defended from outside and into which the enemy may enter and of which he may take possession at any time without fighting or incurring casualties, e.g., from crossing unmarked minefields, is undefended even if it contains munitions factories. On the other hand, all defended towns whether situated in the front line or not may be subjected to bombardment provided that it is not directed solely against non-military objectives duly marked as mentioned above.»

       The writers did not see any evidence of the use of poisonous or other unlawful weapons during their time in Sarajevo. As indicated in the anecdotal account of the battle (16 to 22 November 1992, and 7 and 14 December 1992), there have been reports of the BSA using vehicles which were painted white with UN markings. Such acts constitute perfidious conduct, are prohibited by article 37(1) of Protocol I, and can constitute a grave breach under article 85(3)(f) if persons caused death or serious injury while using such vehicles. Also, as indicated in the anecdotal account (21 to 28 December 1992), it appears that BiH forces have, on occasion, directly attacked UN forces. In this context, UN forces are non-combatants and illegitimate targets.

A. Starvation as a method of warfare

       The tribunal in the «High Command Trial» (12 Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals 84, 84) approved the following opinion:

«A belligerent commander may lawfully lay siege to a place controlled by the enemy and endeavour by a process of isolation to cause its surrender. The propriety of attempting to reduce it by starvation is not questioned. Hence the cutting off of every source of sustenance from without is deemed legitimate. It is said that if the commander of a besieged place expels the non-combatants, in order to lessen the number of those who consume his stock of provisions, it is lawful, though an extreme measure, to drive them back, so as to hasten the surrender.»
This opinion clearly supports the use of starvation as a method of warfare in the case of a siege. Article 54 of Protocol I prohibits starvation as a method of warfare in general terms. It states:
«1. Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited.

2. It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, as such as foodstuff, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.

3. The prohibitions in paragraph 2 shall not apply to such of the object covered by it as are used by an adverse Party:

       One might pose two fundamental questions concerning article 54. First, does it apply to the siege of Sarajevo either because Protocol I applies as a treaty obligation or because its starvation provisions are now part of customary law? Second, if article 54 does apply, does it override the traditional law concerning siege or is the traditional law a form of lex specialis? Both the ICRC Commentary on the Protocols and the Commentary by Bothe, Partsch, and Solf, hail article 54 as a substantial new principle of international law applicable in armed conflicts. It is considered that article 54 applies to the siege as a treaty obligation, not as part of customary law. It is also considered that the law for siege warfare is not a lex specialis and that, as a result, where there is an inconsistency between article 54 and the traditional law, article 54 governs.

       Although Sarajevo has been under siege from the beginning of the conflict, and food, water, heat, and electricity have been extremely limited for much of that time, The Bulletin, which reports casualty figures in Sarajevo, has not indicated that anyone has died in the city from starvation, dehydration, or freezing. Repeated references are made in the anecdotal history to electricity, food, and water shortages. It is noted in the Observations Concerning the Battle History as of July 1993 subsection that both sides have used the city's logistics as an instrument of war against the populace to influence each other and affect the media.

       One of the fundamental problems of legal analysis during a siege is that combatants and non-combatants are collocated, frequently using the same resources and facilities. For example, with reference to article 54, food supplies, drinking water, and electricity may be used by both the civilian population and military forces in Sarajevo. If there is a shortage in any of these supplies, the shortfall may be levied against the military forces, the civilian population, or both groups. As a practical matter, it is extremely unlikely that the shortfall would be levied against the military forces alone. One is faced with the unpalatable fact that, unless there is a neutral arbiter, the only way to starve-out a besieged military force, a legitimate act of war, is to starve the civilian population.

       As no one appears to have died of starvation, cold, or dehydration in Sarajevo, it is unlikely anyone could be held liable for using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare during the siege.

B. Attacks on civilian persons and objects

       Under the law as essentially codified in Protocol I:

  1. attacks must be directed against military objectives;
  2. attacks directed against civilian persons or objects are prohibited;
  3. indiscriminate attacks are prohibited; and
  4. indiscriminate attacks include:
    1. area attacks, and
    2. attacks causing disproportionate incidental civilian casualties.
Incidental or collateral loss of civilian life and damage to civilian property is a tragic but inevitable byproduct of armed conflict.

       The battle to recapture Manila from the Japanese in 1945 is a particularly painful example of an attempt to minimize civilian casualties which went wrong for reasons beyond the control of the attacking force. Once American forces were committed to recapture the Philippines, it was necessary for them to retake Manila. General Yamashita, the Japanese commander in the Philippines ordered his troops to evacuate the city on the approach of American forces because he did not have sufficient forces to defend it and did not have enough food to feed the civilian population of one million. A subordinate Japanese commander disregarded Yamashita's orders and directed his troops to fight to the death to defend the city. In the course of the battle, American forces surrounded the city and closed in towards its centre. The Japanese would not surrender. Initially, American commanders imposed severe restrictions on the use of artillery, but, as American casualties mounted, many restrictions were lifted. The American official history described the situation:

«The losses had manifestly been too heavy for the gains achieved. If the city were to be secured without the destruction of the 37th and the 1st Cavalry Divisions, no further effort could be made to save the buildings; everything holding up progress would be pounded, although artillery fire would not be directed against structures such as churches and hospitals that were known to contain civilians. Even this last restriction would not always be effective for often it could not be learned until too late that a specific building held civilians. The lifting of the restrictions on support fires would result in turning much of southern Manila into a shambles; but there was no help for that if the city were to be secured in a reasonable length of time and with reasonable losses.»
(R. Smith, Triumph in the Phillipines, 264 (1963)). An estimated 16,000 Japanese soldiers died in the battle and American forces casualties were 1,000 killed and 5,000 wounded. Manila was devastated, and the bodies of 100,000 Filipino civilians were found in the rubble, most of them killed in the exchange of fire between American and Japanese forces.

       Substantial civilian casualties are particularly likely to be caused during sieges, fighting in built up areas, and on other occasions when attacks are directed against cities. As Sarajevo is under siege, a certain number of civilian casualties can be expected even if the combatants made a conscientious effort to comply with the law of armed conflict. Several thousand persons have been killed or wounded in Sarajevo during the siege. The Bulletin estimate of 28 June 1993 was that 8,934 persons had been killed and 52,518 persons had been wounded as a result of military activity. The precise totals, the identity of the killed and wounded and their classification as combatants or non- combatants are not yet known. It is, however, reasonable to conclude that the vast majority of the casualties, probably over 75 per cent, are civilians and not legitimate objects of attack.

       The writers did not attempt to conduct their own survey of property damage during the siege of Sarajevo. It is, however, apparent to any visitor to the city that most buildings, including many which are clearly civilian objects, such as churches and mosques, have suffered serious battle damage. The Holiday Inn, where the writers stayed during their visit, is an 11-story structure, but occupancy is now confined to the first five floors, because of damage to one side and because the other side is exposed to sniper fire. It must be conceded, however, that the Holiday Inn was initially the headquarters of the Serbian Democratic Party and some damage was caused when it was seized by Muslim militiamen on 6 April 1992. The writers visited the National Library, however, and it was apparent that this civilian structure had been deliberately destroyed by Serb artillery from the nearby hills. The interior of the library was gutted, yet several surrounding buildings were completely untouched. It will eventually be possible to make a global survey of property damage in Sarajevo, but it will probably be very difficult to establish a precise chronology and indication of causality in most cases. It will also be necessary to apply a discount factor because of the BiH tendency to move its limited artillery resources among various civilian areas. On the morning of 3 July 1993, the writers observed from their windows in the Holiday Inn a BiH mortar being fired repeatedly from an area where civilian housing was located. They also a observed a substantial amount of Serb counter-battery fire hitting the houses.

       The weapons systems being used by BSA forces in the siege of Sarajevo, predominantly direct-fire weapons, and artillery at point blank, frequently direct-fire, range, are systems which can be used with a high degree of accuracy. A sniper rifle is normally aimed at a particular person in view of the sniper. Mortars and guns used at short range normally fire projectiles which land quite close to where they are aimed. These are not inherently indiscriminate weapons, particularly in the case of sniper fire. If non-combatants are being killed or wounded, this occurs because the sniper intends to kill or wound them.

       There are legitimate military objectives in Sarajevo such as the BiH forces wherever they are located and modest weapons and ammunition manufacturing facilities. It does not appear, however, that conscientious efforts are made to ensure that attacks are directed exclusively against these military objectives. There is every indication that civilians have been deliberately targeted by snipers and by BSA artillery. As indicated in the discussion of BSA tactics, small arms and artillery have frequently been used as weapons of terror directed against the civilian population. There are cases in which BSA artillery has been directed against military objectives and, nevertheless civilian casualties have been caused. In these cases, it is appropriate to attempt to measure military advantage gained against suffering caused to the civilian population in a crude proportionality equation. Quite frequently, however, application of the rule of proportionality will be irrelevant for the simple reason that causing civilian casualties is the objective of BSA action, not an incidental effect.

X. Accountability

       This report is a non-exhaustive survey of law of armed conflict issues arising during the siege of Sarajevo. As the writers did not have an opportunity to visit BSA forces during the investigation, they were not exposed to allegations of BiH misconduct during the siege unless the allegations came from UN sources. The report focuses on combat-related offences, unlawful targeting, and the use of unlawful means and methods of warfare.

       It is unlikely that weapons which are illegal per se have been used during the siege. If it can be established that named individuals in the BSA used or authorized the use of vehicles which carried UN markings, this could be viewed as perfidious conduct and, if persons were killed or wounded as a result of this action, a grave breach of Protocol I could be established. The «Hagendorf» case (13 Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals 146, 146-148), in which a German soldier was convicted for abusing the Red Cross emblem by firing at American soldiers from an ambulance, might constitute a useful precedent. In that case, however, the accused was captured at the time of the incident. Somewhat similarly, if it can be established that named individuals attacked or authorized attacks on UN forces, these persons could be charged with violating the laws or customs of war, contrary to article 3 of the International Criminal Tribunal Statute, by committing a grave breach of article 85(3)(a) of Protocol I and making the civilian population or individual civilians the object of attack. In the Sarajevo context, UN peacekeepers are non-combatants and entitled to be treated as civilians. As indicated in the discussion of starvation as a method of warfare, the tendency of both sides to control food, water, and electricity for publicity purposes, the collocation of military forces and the civilian population, and the fact that no one appears to have died during the siege from starvation, dehydration, or freezing, combine to make difficult the establishment of a solid case that starvation is being used as a method of warfare. The conduct on this matter has been deplorable but its criminality is debatable.

       Most of the war crimes committed in Sarajevo have involved attacks on civilian persons and objects. As indicated in the preceding section, it will be difficult but not impossible to compile a reasonably accurate list of persons killed or seriously injured during the siege of Sarajevo, to determine if they were combatants or non-combatants and to determine when, where, and how they were killed or injured. Once this information is available, it will be possible to determine relative percentages of military and civilian casualties over time. It may also be possible to determine, in a general manner where the projectiles causing casualties came from, in such a way that X number of casualties were caused by a particular unit. Whether or not it is possible to determine which individuals or which units caused civilian casualties, it will certainly be possible to establish that a large number of casualties have been caused by the BSA forces surrounding Sarajevo during a specific period of time. It will probably also be possible to determine roughly how many of the civilian casualties have been caused by some form of sniper fire. Whether or not one might consider applying the rule of proportionality in other cases where civilian casualties are incurred, it is reasonable to presume that civilian casualties caused by sniper fire are the result of deliberate attacks on civilians, not the result of indiscriminate attacks.

       The compilation of a chronological and quantitative survey of damage to civilian objects in Sarajevo will be more difficult to do and has not yet been attempted. It is possible to determine what damage has been caused to certain religious, cultural, and medical buildings and, in most cases, it would be possible to determine whether these buildings were located near legitimate fixed military objectives. It would also be possible to focus on whether certain types of objects were deliberately targeted. For example, a detailed study of the shelling of the Kosevo medical facility or of the National Library would probably indicate that these objects had been deliberately targeted. It may also be possible to establish that religious facilities were deliberately targeted. The tendency of BiH forces to conceal their resources among civilian objects would probably result in some of the damage to civilian objects caused by BSA projectiles, thereby constituting legitimate collateral damage. There is enough apparent damage to civilian objects in Sarajevo to justify an in-depth study. Such a study might well conclude that either civilian objects have been deliberately targeted or that they have been indiscriminately attacked. This study, which would require unimpeded movement for extended periods throughout Sarajevo, is not practicable at present.

       There have been incidents in the past where substantial civilian casualties have been caused, but substantial military advantage has also been gained by a particular military action. The battle of Manila, referred to earlier, is an example, as are many of the bombing raids of the Second World War. In these cases, one might attempt to quantify both military advantage and civilian losses and apply the somewhat subjective rule of proportionality. As a general statement, however, the rule of proportionality is not relevant to the sniping activities of the BSA forces and it is of questionable relevance to many of the artillery bombardments. BSA forces are deliberately targeting the civilian population of Sarajevo either as a measure of retaliation or to weaken their political resolve. Attacking the civilian population is a war crime.

       It will probably be very difficult to link specific individuals or units to specific incidents in which civilians or civilian objects have been deliberately attacked or subjected to indiscriminate attacks. It may be possible to localize incidents in such a way that it is clear that a certain unit under a particular commander was the cause of a number of incidents. Whether or not it is possible to develop a firm case against individual soldiers or unit commanding officers, it should be quite practicable to develop a prima facie case against the officer or officers responsible for the BSA Sarajevo Romanija Corps which has been the unit surrounding Sarajevo from the beginning of the siege. It is understood that the Sarajevo Romanija Corps is now commanded by Major General Stanislav Galic and that it was formerly commanded by Major General Tomislav Sipcic. Further research may indicate the identity of other officers responsible at the Corps level.

       Command has burdens and responsibilities, as well as privileges. The commander of the Sarajevo Romanija Corps is responsible for the attacks on the civilian population and the indiscriminate attacks launched by his troops if he ordered these attacks. He is also responsible to a degree, even if he did not give the orders if he knew or should have known that his subordinates were committing or going to commit such attacks and he failed to take all practicable steps to prevent or punish them. To determine whether or not the Corps commander must have known about the acts of his subordinates, one might consider a number of indices, including: the number of illegal acts; the type of illegal acts; the scope of illegal acts; the number and type of troops involved; the logistics involved, if any; the geographical location of the acts; the widespread occurrence of the acts; the tactical tempo of operations; the modus operandi of similar illegal acts; the officers and staff involved; and the location of the commander at the time. On the basis of these indices, a Corp commander headquartered on high ground at Lukavica with a good view of the city, good communications, and a reasonably low tempo of operations at almost all times, would have some difficulty arguing that he was unaware of small arms and artillery fire being directed against civilians and civilian objects.

Anecdotal account of the battle
(Derived from UN Reports)

25 October-1 November 1992
BiH positions continued to receive sporadic shelling throughout this week. In the north central sector of the perimeter, the defence line between Uraca and Kosevo was heavily shelled with a number of shells hitting the Kosevo Medical Centre and the heavily populated area adjacent to the Residency (UNPROFOR BiH Command Forward). Bosnian Serb Army (BSA) gunners continued to interdict BiH movement of personnel and equipment through the airport corridor. UNPROFOR engineers noted problems with shortages of electricity, potable water, and flour in the city.
1-8 November 1992
BiH positions around the airport and the centre of the city continued to be shelled. However, apart from the sporadic shelling and sniping that are the hallmarks of the siege, activity was relatively calm. UNPROFOR speculated that this was probably due to the high profile given to the UNICEF week for children with the attendant media exposure.
8-15 November 1992
This week saw an increase in the tempo of violence due to continued BiH efforts to move personnel and materiel across the airfield corridor. A confrontation between HVO (Bosnian Croat) special forces and BiH regulars flared into a series of fire fights that were finally terminated by a BiH threat with repositioned AAA auto cannon. The week concluded with the locking on of AAA targeting radars on UNHCR aircraft and the consequent closing of the airport. The radars were sourced as coming from Serb positions. Finally, on 15 November 1992, a convoy of 400 refugees escorted by UNPROFOR was heavily sniped while crossing the lines on the route to Kiseljak by suspected BSA troops.
16-22 November 1992
Sarajevo sector remained quiet until the morning of 18 November, when BiH troops simultaneously attacked BSA positions at Zuc and Ilidza unsuccessfully. The BSA responded with increased shelling into the city centre and with sporadic mortar and tank fire. On 20 November observers reported that the BSA, using white trucks with hand-painted UN letters, moved between Sarajevo and Pale.
23-29 November 1992
Since a cease-fire had been declared BSA shelling in Sarajevo shifted from civilian targets to mostly harassment and interdiction on BiH forces positions at the west end of the city in the suburbs of Dobrinja, Butmir, Ilidza, Mojmilo, and Bistrik. Sporadic sniping throughout the city continued.
30 November-6 December 1992
Shelling in the southwest escalated to high levels in response to BiH attacks in the Otes area. The BSA counter- attacked Otes with infantry and tanks and shelled the western suburbs with artillery shells fused with air burst, point detonating, and delay.
7-14 December 1992
Muslim refugees abandoned the Otes-Ilidza area and retreated into the city, leaving Otes and Azici. As the week progressed, fighting intensified with a series of attacks and counter- attacks. BSA artillery reprisals were heavy, and large areas were destroyed. Reported sightings of white Serbian vehicles with UN markings resulted in the BiH engagement of some UN vehicles. The fighting caused further restriction of electricity and water by destroying recent repairs to the infrastructure of the city.
13-20 December 1992
As a result of the previous week's operations, only light shelling and sniping continued. It was established that the BSA had suffered heavy casualties in personnel and tanks and had depleted their munitions reserve by taking and holding Otes.
21-28 December 1992
It appeared during this period that BiH forces were deliberately engaging UN forces. The UN shuttle from the Sector Sarajevo headquarters building (PTT) was sniped at, and the forced evacuation of the Residency was made necessary by point blank artillery fire from BiH positions. The 23rd consecutive day for Sarajevo without electricity or water was marked on 27 December 1992.
28 December 1992-4 January 1993
The tempo of small arms and artillery was reduced, and UN sources ascribed the lull to the Geneva talks. Significant troop movement was evident in the Mount Igman area and the BiH Army aggressively launched a series of platoon-sized raids all around the perimeter. Persons crossing the runway continued to cause difficulties for the French battalion at the airport (FRBAT-2). On 1 January 1993, the UN APC shuttle was engaged twice in the Stup area from the BiH area.
4-11 January 1993
On 8 January, an UNPROFOR APC carrying Muslim Deputy Prime Minister Turajlic from Sarajevo Airport to the city was blocked at a Serb checkpoint. During negotiations, a BSA soldier, thought to be operating independently, assassinated the Deputy Prime Minister. The city entered its fifth week without electricity or water. BiH forces were able to consolidate some gains in the Grbavica area in house to house fighting.
11-18 January 1993
Five FRBAT-2 soldiers were injured by shelling that originated from BiH held Hrasnica. In response to increased Muslim efforts to cross the airport, the BSA retaliated on 13 January with a barrage of some 1,300 impacts into the central districts of the city.
18-25 January 1993
The level of shelling decreased but the areas hit by concentrated fire increased to the entire western side of the city. On 16 January, BiH positions at Hrasnica again shelled the airport, wounding three FRBAT-2 soldiers. On 19 January, a UNMO was shot and wounded by sniper fire from BSA positions in the Smiljevici area. During this period, several repair teams working on the city's electrical system came under fire while working from mortars in the Serb positions on the northern perimeter. Although fired upon on five occasions, repair teams were able to alleviate the electrical and water situation. On 21 January, Serbs halted UN humanitarian aid convoys from Kiseljak to Sarajevo.
25-31 January 1993
The level of shelling and military activity remained low, probably due to a Serb national holiday. However, Serbs continued to harass and snipe at UN vehicles and convoys.
1-7 February 1993
Shelling concentrated on the airport area and on the eastern old town. Serious infantry fighting took place at Nedzarici, Dobrinja, and the Rajlovac rail yards. BiH elements unsuccessfully struck at the road between Lukavica and Pale in the Batanija area. The BSA shelled the Grdonj and Kosevo hospitals periodically. Serb check points demanded parts of the loads from UNHCR vehicles. On 6 February, the Serbs unilaterally asked for a cease-fire to begin the next day, followed by negotiations.
8-14 February 1993
Activity at Sarajevo increased dramatically on 11 February when both sides exchanged heavy artillery fire. BSA forces struck at Ilidza from Stup in the city and from Butmir, attempting to link up unsuccessfully. The UN found itself increasingly under fire:
  1. on 11 February, 4 FRBAT-2 soldiers were injured in a deliberate mortar attack--one fatally;
  2. the UN airport checkpoint was shelled and sniped;
  3. an UNMO observation position was shelled;
  4. the BiH command shuttle was shelled; and
  5. BiH mortars were positioned adjacent to the PTT building and the building was subsequently shelled and sniped.
Throughout this period BSA artillery indiscriminately shelled the entire city.
14-20 February 1993
Heavy fighting raged all week as the Serbs and Muslims battled for the suburb of Ilidza. The BiH had two objectives: 1) break the siege and open the road to Visoko; and 2) cut Serbian supply routes in the siege. These battles saw an extensive use of artillery by both sides and a strong use of armour by the BSA in containing the BiH assaults. In retaliation, the BSA heavily shelled the western end of the city. UN troops were targeted by both warring factions. The fighting petered out with President Izetbegovic calling for a cease-fire on 20 February.
21-28 February 1993
The tempo of operations was low during this period. Both sides showed indications of having significantly depleted their munitions stocks. While the cease-fire did not hold there was a marked decrease in shelling, mortaring, and sniping. The previous week's intense fighting accomplished minimal shifting in the confrontation line.
1-7 March 1993
There was a lull in the combat activity in the Sarajevo sector. UN sources speculated that the lull was due to either the very bad weather, the consolidation of positions and resupply, or the latest cease-fire attempt in New York. Generally, however, the level of shelling increased to some 570 impacts per day, concentrated mainly at Stup, Dobrinja, Butmir, the Kosevo Medical Centre area, and the city centre. In particular, very accurate tank fire was received, while sniper activity against the besieged increased throughout the city.
8-15 March 1993
The main area of concentration of artillery and mortar fire was in Kosevo but generally, shelling activity was low. BiH continued to restructure 1 (Sarajevo) Corps in the city and it was expected that this activity, which commenced with the execution of two BiH battalion commanders on 25 February, would be completed by 10 March. The low level of fighting coincided with the BiH reorganization and new talks in New York. Both sides used the lull to reinforce and resupply.
15-21 March 1993
Sarajevo experienced one of the most turbulent weeks of the siege. Sniper fire was very high on both sides and the BSA threatened its usual artillery reprisal. Fierce fighting erupted in the west end, with very heavy shelling over the entire city. UN forces reported a number of incidents of shelling and sniping and a British aircraft reported being fired upon. The BSA was able to make significant gains in the Rajlovac, Stup, and Nedzarici suburbs, setting the stage for fierce BiH counter- attacks. On Sunday, 21 March, the most heavy shelling of the siege was recorded with 2,398 impacts.
22-28 March 1993
Intense fighting continued as strong BSA attacks with heavy shelling continued on Stup, Otes, Vratnik, and Hrasno-Grbavica. The Serb objective, the Stup bridge overpass, appeared to be within their grasp. The capture of this feature would allow the Serbs to control the main highway into the city and effectively dominate two thirds of the city by direct line of sight/line of fire. Further, with the Stup position, the BSA would be in a position to isolate the Dobrinja pocket and would allow the Serbs to take the rest of the city piecemeal, by way of smaller operations. However, the attacks at Stup exhausted the limited BSA infantry capability and took a particularly heavy toll on both infantry and armoured assets. This, coupled with dramatically deteriorating weather conditions, ground the BSA offensive to a halt. The BiH shifted AAA weapons into the sector for direct fire support, and the fighting petered out into the usual sporadic shelling, small-arms fire, and sniping.
29 March-4 April 1993
The city remained relatively quiet as both sides recovered from the intensity of the battle in the west end and the street fighting in Grbavica. During this period only a total of 54 impacts, about one fourth of an average day's shelling, were recorded in the city. The cold weather and heavy snow continued but the snipers continued to be particularly active, killing four and wounding 14 civilians.
4-10 April 1993
Sarajevo remained relatively quiet with the exception of snipers from both sides. On 8 April, a UN truck being inspected at the BSA checkpoint at Ilidza was found to have ammunition concealed under a removable pallet. The Serbian media leapt on the incident, further restricting UN freedom of movement.
11-17 April 1993
Sniper activity continued as Muslims continued to infiltrate across the airport at night. On 12 and 15 April, the Serb gunners intensified their fire into the centre of the city near the hospital and the Presidency. Observers detected large concentrations of BSA troops at Azici and Lukavica and anticipated further offensives against Stup and Dobrinja.
18-25 April 1993
The anticipated shifting of BSA reserves to the city from Srebrenica did not occur. The airport area was subject to particularly heavy sniping and machine-gun fire, and the BSA blocked a number of convoys. The city was shelled some fifty times a day on average.
26 April-2 May 1993
The situation in the city remained stable with the average daily shelling calculated at 1991 impacts per day. Troop movement and resupply by the BSA was noted, including the shifting of Serb heavy weapons.
3-9 May 1993
BSA aggressive behaviour against UN operations became highly aggressive, although the lull generally persisted. A number of new Serb checkpoints in the Vogosca area were opened, further restricting the movement of aid convoys.
9-15 May 1993
As a result of the referendums on the Vance/Owen Peace Plan (VOPP), the Sarajevo tactical picture became extremely calm. Despite small-arms and sniper activity, shelling activity dropped significantly. UN sources noted many civilians in the streets and the opening of some shops.
16-22 May 1993
The tempo of activity slowly rose through the week although, in Sarajevo terms, the cease-fire accompanying the VOPP continued to be respected. A total of 73 BSA cease-fire violations (CFV) and 26 BiH CFV were observed. Snipers killed one civilian and wounded eight, while UN convoys continued to be blocked and delayed at BSA check points.
23-29 May 1993
Shelling increased during the week with 174 impacts on 26 May, 190 on 28 May, and 210 on 29 May.
30 May-5 June 1993
Although the number of impacts diminished as the week progressed, the city remained tense as the level of indiscriminate sniping rose.
6-12 June 1993
No change to the general situation, however the shelling in Konjic destroyed the power lines between the Jablanica power plant and Sarajevo. This caused a further degradation of the central BiH power grid with significant effects on the city's utilities. In Sarajevo the provision of water was directly reliant on electric pumps, and the limitation of power had a negative impact on the water distribution system.
13-19 June 1993
Heavy Serb shelling in response to a BiH attack at the Dvor bridge was followed by a BSA counter-attack in an apparent effort to keep the main supply route open. A cease-fire was almost respected on 19 June.
Observations Concerning Battle History as of July 1993
The main BSA objective at this time no longer appears to be the capture of the city. This is apparent from the low Serbian manning levels. The Serb military objectives seem to have been:
  1. continued isolation of the city;
  2. the capture of the Stup bridge; and
  3. cutting the city in half from a North-South axis through Centre Sarajevo.
The reasoning behind these objectives:
  1. Isolation severely limits the power of the Presidency Government to the degree where its collapse and the surrender of the city could undermine Muslim military activity throughout BiH;
  2. the capture of the Stup bridge, as noted earlier, would effectively put the BSA in control of the city and give it a secure covered main supply route into the city; and
  3. the dissection of the city on the north-south axis would either cause the city to fall by shattering BiH tactical integrity or would allow the BSA to take the city piecemeal at their relative leisure.
On the BiH side their strategic objectives appear to be as follows:
  1. to break the siege by attacking from Visoko to the north to link up with troops breaking out from the Vogosca area and with troops breaking out from Stup and Butmir through Ilidza. This would have the effect of cutting BSA supply and movement around the city, pinning down BSA forces to where they can be defeated in detail; and
  2. to keep the support of world opinion by manipulating the media to present the BSA forces and the Serbs as the aggressors.
The levels of fighting in and around Sarajevo reflect the changing postures of the warring factions and are often an indicator of not only their military but also their political intentions. As an example, during the December 1992 negotiations, the BSA lowered its shelling rate to below that of the BiH forces. BiH responded by increasing its fire and carrying out a series of attacks in the hope of prompting a BSA overreaction which could be presented as unwarranted Serbian aggression. On the other hand, the Serbs would use their predominance in artillery to punish the BiH through the civilian populace of the city for any perceived indiscretion, either political or military. This targeting of civilian areas by massive shell fire, coupled with the terrorizing of the populace by the well-equipped and ever present snipers, has been the BSA methodology for using the civilians as leverage against the Presidency.

Both sides have used the city's logistics as an instrument of war against the populace to influence each other and affect the media. The Serbs control the power grid, and power lines and transformers have been damaged by deliberate or accidental destruction or by maintenance failures. UN escorted repair teams have been prevented by a variety of means, including being fired upon, from effecting repairs. The control of UNHCR and NGO- provided supplies is also used as a weapon by both sides. This tactic must be delicately executed because of the food aid's high media profile. Another serious infra-structural difficulty was the city's dry sewage system. The system has been used for communications, movement, storage and, in some cases, shelters. Although the gravity design permits limited function, UNPROFOR engineers have stated that major maintenance is required to preclude the very real chance of disease in the summer heat.