War-related Deaths in the 1992–1995 Armed Conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Critique of Previous Estimates and Recent Results



In this article, we provide a critique of previous estimates of war-related deaths from Bosnia and Herzegovina and propose an analytical framework and a new estimate of such deaths. Our assessment is concentrated on civilian victims, whose death (or disappearance) can in a straightforward manner be linked with war operation. The estimate is based on carefully selected sources analysed jointly at the level of individual records, allowing for identity verification of victims, elimination of duplicates within the sources and exclusion of records overlapping between the sources. Although we can argue that our estimate is much better founded than any other estimate ever obtained, it is still incomplete and should be seen as work in progress.

Key words

Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992–1995 estimates war related deaths 

List of Abbreviations


Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.e. armed forces of the BH government, pro-Muslim orientation


Autonomous Region of Krajina; i.e. a West-Northern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina that Bosnian Serb leaders declared as one of the first Serbian autonomous regions in Bosnia in 1991


Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.e. since April 1992 an independent country, before this date one of six constituent republics of Yugoslavia


Demographic Unit (at OTP – ICTY)


(Muslim-Croat) Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina


Federal Institute of Statistics; i.e. Statistical Office of the (Muslim-Croat) Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina


Humanitarian Issues Working Group of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees


Household Survey Sarajevo – 1994


Army of the Croatian Defence Counsel; i.e. armed forces of the Bosnian Croats affiliated with the Bosnian branch of the Croatian Democratic Union party (HDZ)


International Classification of Diseases and Conditions Leading to Death, 10th edition


International Commission for Missing Persons


International Committee of Red Cross


International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia


Internally displaced person; i.e. a person who involuntarily moved inside their own country; this movement may be due to a variety of reasons, including human made disasters, armed conflict, or a situation of generalized violence (Inter-Parliamentary Union and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2001); a related term is a refugee (see below)


Inter-Parliamentary Union


Institute for Public Health in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


International Union for the Scientific Study of Population


Yugoslav National Army


Book of Missing from Prijedor; Prijedor as a municipality located in the ARK region in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Muslims Against Genocide


Office of the Prosecutor (at ICTY)


Physicians for Human Rights


A person who has a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion nationality, membership in social groups, or political opinions; is outside his/her own country; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself to protection of that country, or to return there, for the fear of persecution (Inter-Parliamentary Union and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2001)


Republika Srpska


Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


Bosnia and Herzegovina news directory; available from the BosNet news bulletin complied by the Balkan Institute; accessible through the Hellenic Resources Institute from Cambridge: http://www.hri.org/news/balkans/bosnet/


United Nations


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees


Army of the Republika Srpska


Cet article présente une analyse critique des estimations existantes sur les décès dus à la guerre en Bosnie-Hérzégovine et propose un cadre d’analyse et une nouvelle estimation de ces décès. Cette estimation porte sur les victimes civiles, dont la mort (ou la disparition) peut être reliée d’une façon directe aux opérations de guerre. Elle repose sur une sélection rigoureuse de sources, traitées conjointement au niveau des données individuelles, ce qui permet la vérification de l’identité des victimes, l’élimination des doublons au sein de chaque source et l’identification des cas présents dans plusieurs sources. Même si cette estimation est sans aucun doute meilleure que toutes celles déjà publiées, elle reste incomplète et doit être considérée comme une étape provisoire dans un travail encore en cours.

Mots clés

Bosnie-Herzégovine 1992–1995 décès dus à la guerre estimation 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Demographic Unit, Office of the Prosecutor (OTP)International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)JW The HagueThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Central European Forum for Migration ResearchWarsawPoland

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