Follow TV Tropes


Useful Notes / The Yugoslav Wars

Go To
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand." - Matthew 25 Legend 

"If you saw what I see for the future of Yugoslavia, it would scare you."

A series of six wars encompassing the former Yugoslavia from 1991-2001:

To summarize: without somebody to keep it together, Yugoslavia fell apart spectacularly in the first big war in Europe since World War II. While opinions and theories diverge on the primary cause of Yugoslavia's collapse and ensuing wars, the contributing factors can be grouped into eight categories, some more significant than others: economic crisis, ethnic intolerance, nationalism, culture, international changes, machinations of the powerful, Yugoslavian anachronism and structural disruptions.


The war is often thought of as religious, but is more rooted in manipulations of holy writ for politicians' cynical ends; thus the battle lines were drawn to suit this masquerade. Croats, who were traditionally Catholic, got help from the Western countries; Bosniaks, who'd converted to Islam under the Ottoman Empire, got help from the West and fellow Islamic nations; and Serbs, who were either Orthodox Christian or Muslim, got help from the Orthodox Russians or southern Islamic countries. Economics also played a big role; the two northern republics were the most industrialized, and their inhabitants often accused the government of subsidizing the Serb plurality at their expense, making them the first to bail. And while cultural change in general had little to do with the war, it severely weakened the Communist ideology that helped hold the country together.

Especially the wars in Croatia and Bosnia saw the term "ethnic cleansing" invented and put to practice, with the United Nations generally standing around, powerless to help as the big powers dithered in New York as the entire region just went to shit. It initially started off as a small conflict in Slovenia and eventually grew to a much larger war in Croatia.

The true horrors, however, were showcased in the Bosnian War, which overlapped the Croatian War of Independence, and where the fighting quickly morphed into Bosnian Serbs versus Bosnian Croats versus Bosnian Muslims loyal to Izetbegović versus Bosnian Muslims loyal to Abdić versus any militia given even a degree of autonomy. While the world was aware of the bloody conflicts going on, the media had a tendency to avoid mentioning why the war even started in the first place. As a result, the Western world, unaccustomed to the rivalries in the Balkans, sat around and twiddled their thumbs, basically unable to help or understand these conflicted people. (Yet supplying and selling weapons and supplies to this certain sides in an attempt to tip the balance and bring the war to an early end.) This, combined with the "us versus them" mentality of the people at war, made for a deadly combination.

Eventually, that war ended via Western intervention, but things got trickier as Albanians in Kosovo decided that it was time to break ties with Serbia. This sparked the third big conflict, the Kosovo War. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia engaged in a ruthless crackdown which the United States used as an excuse to intervene. The war only came to an end after Viktor Chernomyrdin, the special representative of the Russia Federation in Yugoslavia, persuaded Slobodan Milošević to agree to an armistice and to place Kosovo under UN control. In 2008, Albanians in Kosovo claimed independence which is partially recognized by the international community.

The broader impact of the war has proved to be severe and debilitating to the development and prosperity of the newly-formed countries. Whilst some like Slovenia and Macedonia got off lightly, others like Croatia, Serbia and especially Bosnia and Herzegovina would go on to suffer from the post war fallout in the coming decades. The areas that endured the most fighting saw their populations either significantly altered as people were driven off and new "colonists" came in, or largely depopulated, a problem that hasn't been solved up until the present. Many successful industries and companies suffered as the war has irrevocably disrupted their operations and manufacturing (not to mention the plethora of shady privatizations which were common during that time). Lastly, the war left the belligerent nations with lingering sentiments of distrust and intolerance and in more dangerous and disturbing cases, a desire for a revanche/revenge. Time will tell if the Balkans will somehow manage to put the past behind it, or it will repeat the mistakes of yore.

     The Cast 
Due to the convoluted nature of the war and the people that were involved here is a little summary of some names to know.


  • Ante Marković - Last prime minister of Yugoslavia.

The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA)

  • Veljko Kadijević - Minister of Defence in the Yugoslav government from 1988 to 1992.
  • Blagoje Adžić - General and Chief of the General Staff of the JNA from 1989 to 1992.
  • Života Panić - General and was the last acting minister of defense and army chief of staff in the Yugoslav government. Commander of JNA forces in the battle of Vukovar.
  • Veselin Šljivančanin - Major at participated in the Battle of Vukovar who recently wrote a detailed book about the detention life in the ICTY custody.

Republika Srpska

  • Radovan Karadžić - President of Republika Srpska (RS) from 1992 to 1996. He was also the founder and first leader of the Bosnian branch of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS).
  • Biljana Plavšić - Vice-president of Republika Srpska from 1992 to 1996. Following the war she succeeded Radovan Karadžić as president of RS in 1996.
  • Momčilo Krajišnik - Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska.
  • Mićo Stanišić; - Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republika Srpska.
  • Ratko Mladić - Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS).
  • Manojlo Milovanović - Colonel General of the VRS and second man after Mladić.
  • Ljubiša Beara -Colonel and Chief of Security of the VRS Main Staff
  • Vujadin Popović - Lieutenant Colonel and the Chief of Security of the Drina Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska
  • Zdravko Tolimir - Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Security of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) Main Staff.
  • Stanislav Galić - Commander of the VRS in and around Sarajevo from 1992 to 1994.
  • Dragomir Milošević - Commander of the VRS in and around Sarajevo from 1994 to 1995.
  • Dragan Obrenović - Senior officer and commander in the JNA and later the VRS.
  • Milan Lukić - Commander in the paramilitary group "White Eagles" and was a prominent figure in the 1992 takeover and subsequent ethnic cleansing of eastern Bosnia.
  • Radoslav Brdjanin - President of the ARK (Autonomous Region of Krajina) Crisis Staff.
  • Milomir Stakić - President of the Serb controlled Prijedor Municipality Crisis Staff and Head of the Municipal Council for National Defence in Prijedor.

Republika Srpska Krajina

  • Milan Martić - Military and political leader of Republika Srpska Krajina. Martić held various leadership positions, including President, Minister of Defence and Minister of Internal Affairs.
  • Milan Babić - First President of RSK.
  • Mile Mrkšić - Former JNA general and later the Commander in Chief of the Military of Serbian Krajina (SVK).
  • Goran Hadžić - Leader of the Serbs in eastern Slavonia and later briefly president of RSK.
  • Dragan Vasiljković"Captain Dragan" - Commander of Kninjas.


  • Milan Kučan - first President of Slovenia.
  • Janez Janša - Minister of Defense of Slovenia.
  • Igor Bavčar - Minister of Interior of Slovenia.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia / Serbia and Montenegro

  • Slobodan Milošević - President of Serbia from 1989 to 1997. Later became president of FR Yugoslavia from 1997 until his overthrow in 2000.
  • Mirjana Marković - Milošević's wife and leader of the JUL.
  • Borisav Jović - Milošević's right hand man and served as the Serbian member of the collective presidency of Yugoslavia during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
  • Momir Bulatović - President of Montenegro.
  • Milo Đukanović - Prime Minister of Montenegro and in charge since 1989.
  • Jovica Stanišić - Head of the Serbian State Security Service and Double Agent working for the CIA.
  • Franko Simatović "Frenki" - Employ of the State Security Service and Commander of Frenki's men.
  • Vojislav Šešelj - Founder of the nationalist Serb Radical Party (SRS) who led volunteers of the SRS that served in both Bosnia and Croatia.
  • Momčilo Perišić - General and Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army (VJ) who worked for the Americans.
  • Milan Milutinović - President of Serbia during the Kosovo War.
  • Dragoljub Ojdanić - Chief of the General Staff of VJ during the Kosovo War.
  • Nebojša Pavković - Commander of Third Army of VJ during the Kosovo War.
  • Vladimir Lazarević - General and Commander of Priština Corps.
  • Božidar Delić - Former VJ general and current vice president of the Serbian parliament.
  • Vlajko Stojiljković - Minister of Interior Affairs during the Kosovo War. Commited suicide.
  • Sreten Lukić - Head of the Serbian police in Kosovo during the Kosovo War.
  • Željko Ražnatović "Arkan" - Serbian paramilitary leader and commander of the Serb Volunteer Guard (SDG) unit. Undisputed crimeboss in Serbia up until his assassination in 2000.
  • Milorad Ulemek "Legija" - Former French Foreign Legionnaire and commander of the now defunct Special Operations Unit (JSO).


  • Franjo Tuđman - President of Croatia from 1990 until his death in 1999.
  • Martin Špegelj - Second Defense Minister of Croatia and, later, the chief of staff of the newborn Croatian Army (HV) and inspector-general of the army.
  • Gojko Šušak - Croatian Minister of Defense from 1991 to 1998.
  • Stjepan Mesić - General secretary of HDZ, the first prime minister of Croatia in 1990 and the last president of presidency of Yugoslavia. He became speaker of the Croatian parliament in 1992 but stepped down and left HDZ in 1994 because of their policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Anton Tus - HV general and the first Chief of the General Staff of Croatia's armed forces from 1991 to 1992.
  • Janko Bobetko - HV general and Chief of the General Staff from 1992 until his retirement in 1995.
  • Zvonimir Červenko - HV general and the chief of General Staff between 1995 and 1996.
  • Ante Gotovina - Lieutenant General in the HV and commander of Croatian forces during Operation Storm and Operation Mistral.
  • Mile Dedaković - Commander of the 204th Vukovar Brigade and the city of Vukovar's defenses in during the 1991 Battle of Vukovar.
  • Tomislav MerČep - Commander of Special Police Unit called "MerČepovci"(MerČep's men).

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Alija Izetbegović - President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1990 and 1996.
  • Fikret Abdić - Former head of Agrokomerc and president of the short lived Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia that collaborated with the Serbs.
  • Haris Silajdžić - Foreign minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1990 - 1993 and served between 1993 and 1996 as the prime minister.
  • Sefer Halilović - Chief of Staff of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ArBiH) from 1992 to 1993.
  • Rasim Delić - Chief of Staff of the Army of the ArBiH from 1993 to 1995.
  • Jovan Divjak - Commander of ArBiH forces in Sarajevo at the beginning of the war (1992-1993) and later served as deputy commander of the ArBiH Headquarters.
  • Atif Dudaković - Commander of the Bosnian 5th Corps.
  • Mustafa Hajrulahović - Commander of the Bosnian 1st Corps and later intelligence chief in the Bosnian government.
  • Naser Orić - Commander of the ArBiH 28th Division who was in charge the defenses of Srebrenica and former bodyguard of Milošević.
  • Blaž Kraljević - Commander of Croatian Defence Forces (HOS).
  • Mušan Topalović "Caco" - Commander of 10th Mountain Brigade and Gangster in besieged Sarajevo.


  • Mate Boban - President of Herceg-Bosna from 1991 to 1994 following the Washington agreement.
  • Dario Kordić - Political leader of Bosnian Croats in Central Bosnia and a military commander of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO).
  • Jadranko Prlić - Prime minister of Herceg-Bosna.
  • Valentin Ćorić - Interior minister of Herceg-Bosna.
  • Bruno Stojić - Minister of defense of Herceg-Bosna.
  • Milivoj Petković - Commander of the HVO.
  • Slobodan Praljak - Major General in the HVO and commander of the Croatian forces around Mostar.
  • Tihomir Blaškić - Commander of HVO in Central Bosnia.
  • Mladen Naletilić "Tuta" - Commander of Convicts Battalion.

The Albanians

  • Ibrahim Rugova - First President of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo.
  • Adem Jashari - Co founder and Chief commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) until his death in 1998.
  • Agim Çeku - Former HV general and KLA Chief of Staff from May 1999.
  • Ramush Haradinaj - KLA commander in Dukagjini operational zone and currently one of the if not the most powerful and feared crime boss in Kosovo.
  • Hashim Thaçi - Political representative of KLA and head of the Drenica Group.
  • Fatmir Limaj - KLA commander in Lapušnik.
  • Zahir Pajaziti - KLA co-founder and commander.
  • Tahir Zemaj - Chief commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosovo (FARK).


  • Wesley Clark - In charge of NATO, and bought Kosovo's coal mines.
  • Mike Jackson
  • Bill Clinton - President of the United States during the war.

In fiction:

The primary use of the war today is as a source of the stereotyped Balkan Bastard — useful modern-day (European) war criminals (as the Nazi ones are getting too old), and organised criminals. Because of the nature of the mass graves, many a forensic pathologist will have worked there.

    open/close all folders 

     Animation and Comics 
  • Rocksteady in the 2012–2017 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series fought in the wars.
  • Kimagure Orange Road: Mentioned in the Shin Kimagure Orange Road sequel-film, when it is stated that adult Kyosuke is a war reporter went missing in action taking pictures in Bosnia during the wars. The light novels describe in a greater length how they affected Kyosuke's psyche.
  • In Seikon No Qwaser it serves as the backstory of Teresa who grew up in a Serbian-Orthodox monastery in the Krajina.
    • One of the antagonists is called Croa a.k.a. "gas chamber", a fitting name because of both his ability to control chlorine and the genocidal crimes against Serbs (among them, against the women of Teresa's monastery. She herself was present and was damn lucky, that she wasn't raped and murdered like the rest of her friends) he commited.
  • In Jormungand Koko tangles with a Serbian warlord known as "Baldra" (short for "Balkan Dragon"), whose real name is Dragan Nikolaevich. He is pretty obviously based off of Željko Ražnatović. The series takes place in 2012, which led some Serbian fans to joke about how the plot is Two Decades Behind.
  • In Assassination Classroom, 3-E's foreign language teacher, Irina, tells the students about an ethnic war her country went through when she was a child. The details aren't explicitly stated, but given her age (twenty) and Croatian last name (Jelavić), it's implied that this was the war in question that really scarred her for life.
  • Joe Kubert' s "Fax from Sarajevo" details Erwin Rustemajic and his family's struggles when they are unable to leave Sarajevo.
  • The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo is a journalistic comic on the Bosnian War, written by Joe Sacco. It tells the story of a Sarajevan man who, having lost everything else in the war, sells his stories to Western journalists. It was published in 2003. Time listed it as one of the Best Comics of 2003.
    • Safe Area Gorazde, published before The Fixer, Sacco wrote about the less well known Serbian offensive and ensuing siege of the city of Gorazde, which was overshadowed by the siege and battle of Sarajevo. The survivors that Sacco interviewed recount how former friends and neighbors joined Serbian militias and orchestrated brutal massacres and wantonly sniped random Bosnian civilians from the surrounding hilltops.
  • The Punisher: One story has Frank go in the Balkans, helping some overwhelmed NATO troops along the way.
    • The villains of the infamous Slavers arc are from the Balkans, and give Frank the first real challenge he's had in a while, since they think like soldiers, not gang members.
  • One version of the Lizard (the Spider-Man villain) had him lose an arm in Kosovo, his trying to regenerate turned him into a monster.

  • Behind Enemy Lines features an American airman shot down over Bosnia, who must then fight through hostile Serbian troops to get to safety. The villain's dragon in this film served as an inspiration for Niko Bellic of Grand Theft Auto IV.
  • The 1996 New Zealand film Broken English is centred around a family of Croatian war refugees, and the ensuing romantic tensions with a local resident.
  • The 2011 film adaptation of Coriolanus, is set in a "place calling itself Rome" in the modern-day that is clearly meant to evoke the Yugoslav Wars (the film itself was shot in Belgrade).
  • The Croatian film Crnci (The Blacks). Former members of a Croatian black-ops unit are haunted by what they did during the war.
  • Polish film Demons of War is set in the aftermath of the Bosnian War, with IFOR soldiers getting tangled up in a political intrigue involving a Serbian minister's involvement in ethnic cleansing.
  • The Bosnian film Gori vatra (translated as the The Fuse) takes place shortly after the war, in a small Bosnian town of Tešanj, where US President Clinton is due to visit. The welcoming committee must fake everything, so as to appear Bosniaks and Serbs live together and get along (they don't), and to appear donation money was well spent (it was embezzled). Hilarity Ensues.
  • Life Is A Miracle, a film by Emir Kusturica, is a touching love story of a Bosnian Serb railroad worker and a Bosniak woman, whom he first intended to exchange for his captured son. Set during the Bosnian war.
  • In the TV-movie Mac Gyver Lost Treasure Of Atlantis, MacGyver and Prof. Atticus go to the Balkans to find Atlantean artifacts. After finding them, they must escape from hostile military forces.
  • Midwinter Night's Dream follows three Serbians whose lives were destroyed by the wars.
  • In the Serbian film Neprijatelj (The Enemy), Bosnian Serb soldiers are tasked with de-mining some minefields, only days after the war ended. In a deserted factory in the middle of nowhere, they find a man of unknown ethnicity, walled in a room. They soon find out that, long before they came, both Serb and Bosniak soldiers died trying to keep that man inside. Why? He's the Satan.
  • The Serbian film Nebo iznad nas (Sky above us) shows lives of three very different Belgrade citizens during NATO air raids. The movie does a fairly good job of portraying the tense atmosphere of the times.
  • Serbian movie Ničije Dete (No One's Child) is Based on a True Story. It takes place in Yugoslavia in the late '80s, just a few years prior to the conflict. Near Travnik (Bosnia, in central Yugoslavia), hunters find a child Raised by Wolves. Lacking the means to treat him, local authorities send the child to an orphanage in Belgrade (Yugoslavian and Serbian capital city) where, under a careful tutorage, he slowly learns how to socialize. But the war is looming and everything abruptly changes.
  • The Bosnian film No Man's Land, a famous anti-war movie about a Bosnian Muslim who is immobilized on a battlefield. As the Serbs have deliberately laid him on an anti-personnel mine which will explode if he gets up, he can't move at all. His choleric Bosnian friend and a bumbling New Meat Serbian soldier then procede to bicker over him about who really started the war, etc. Later, they grudgingly unite to fight for his and their own survival in the bombarded trenches. They even try to call help to free him from the trap. Rule of Funny as well as Rule of Drama ensues. The film has a major Downer Ending.
  • Once Brothers, part of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary film series, tells the story of how the wars irretrievably broke the friendship between NBA players and former Yugoslavia national teammates Vlade Divac (Serb) and Dražen Petrović (Croat). The Downer Ending was in the middle, namely the death of Petrović in a 1993 auto accident that ended Divac's hopes of mending their relationship.
  • The Serbian film Pretty Village Pretty Flame tells a gritty story of Bosnian Serb soldiers trapped in a tunnel and surrounded by Bosniak troops. Through flashbacks, we find out more about each of the characters and ultimately, the country itself. Considered to be a modern classic of Serbian cinema. Based on a True Story.
  • The Serbian film Profesionalac (The Proffesional) is a dramedy centered around one former officer of the Serbian state security and one former opositionary politician. Unaware to the politician, the officer was in charge of spying on him for many years. Through their personal flashbacks, we see the entire recent Serbian history, from the loss of Serbian Krajina, the NATO airstrikes against Serbia, up to the fall of Milošević. The movie has gained somewhat of a cult following over the years.
  • Quo Vadis, Aida? is 2020 film by Jasmila Žbanić that centers around the events leading up to the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The movie follows a UN translator Aida Selmanagić who tries to save her family after the Army of Republika Srpska took over the city of Srebrenica.
  • The Red Jacket is a short film about a Serbian boy, orphaned in the wars, who is taken in by a German man who lost his own son.
  • Renegades, a 2017 film written by Luc Besson, is about a team of Navy SEALs trying to recover a sunk Nazi gold from a Bosnian lake in the tail end of the Bosnian War
  • Savior features an American soldier turned mercenary who goes to Yugoslavia seeking revenge against muslims because they killed his family. Things become a lot more complicated later on though, as the movie explores themes of redemption, honour, and the effects of war on the civilian population from a very human, "from below" perspective.
  • The Serbian film Sky Hook. Young, disillusioned people spend time playing street basketball in Belgrade during NATO bombing.
  • The Croatian film Svjedoci (Witnesses) is Very Loosely Based on a True Story. Three Croatian soldiers decide to murder and rob a wealthy Serb family living in their town, and a Croatian police officer later tries to solve the case.
  • Michael Winterbottom's Welcome to Sarajevo.
  • The Serbian film Vukovar: jedna priča (Vukovar: A Story, alternate title: Vukovar poste restante) tells story of a young couple, a Serb guy and a Croat girl, whose romance is threatened by the war in Vukovar. Shot on actual location while the war was still ravaging.
  • The Serbian film Underground, also by Emir Kusturica, tells the story of Yugoslavia from the Serbian resistance of World War II to the Yugoslav wars. This dark comedy is ultimately about the tragedy of Yugoslavia's balkanization. It was also released as a 5 1/2 hour miniseries called Once Upon a Time, There was a Country, which is also the film's closing line. Although it was well-received and won a Palm D'Or at the Cannes Festival, some critics accused it of being Serbian nationalistic propaganda and of having an overly idealistic portrayal of communist Yugoslavia.
    • Interresting enough, the Serbian critics pointed out that the film's portrayal of communist Yugoslavia is actually negative. As with any other work of art, this is a subject of interpretation.
  • The documentary-style British movie Warriors chronicles the hopeless struggle of British UN Peacekeepers to prevent crimes commited on the civilian populace in war-torn Bosnia. Despite their honest efforts to save the persecuted refugees that are running from the various guerilla groups, the young soldiers are constantly bullied by their UNPROFOR higher-ups into letting the people they were supposed to protect get killed or be left at the mercy of unscrupolous killers. When the peacekeepers return home, most of them are showing clear signs of PTSD. The title of the movie is semi-ironic, actually referring to the British-built APCs they intended to use for the evacuation of the refugees. The film was released in the US as Peacekeepers.
  • The Croatian film Will Not End Here tels a story of a former Croatian sniper who tracks down a Serbian woman he saw years before, during the war, through his scope. He finds out she's now being forced to make porn films and decides to buy her off and save her. She can't understand why. During the war, he was ordered to kill her husband, a local Serb commander in Krajina. Patiently waiting for the commander to come home, he gradually fell in love with the woman he watched through his scope. And then, one day, her husband arrived...
  • The Croatian film Živi i mrtvi (The living and the Dead). Film follows two separate timelines. One takes places in 1943 in western Bosnia and follows a squad of Croatian soldiers and their fascist superior officers. The other is set in 1993, and follows a group of Bosnian Croat soldiers who venture the same path. In the end, the living will meet the dead.

  • Chinese Sci-Fi writer Cixin Liu's Butterfly of Entropy told the story of a Serbian meteorologist who tries to create heavy clouds above his hometown to spare his family from NATO bombing by starting wind current changes in some calculated points (like a butterfly generating a storm). He failed because, it seemed he already generated too much random currents and heat changes on his way.
  • Zlata's Diary, the diary of a young girl named Zlata Filipovic documenting her experiences before and during the Siege of Sarajevo. Despite contemporary media comparisons to Anne Frank (which she was understandably uncomfortable with), she escaped the war and is now a writer and film maker in Dublin. She also produced more than 40 pieces of sadist literature set in Serbia beside this diary.
  • Svedok iz Sarajeva (Witness from Sarajevo) is a book written by a Sarajevo Serb, under pseudonym Boris Jug. He describes his life as a Serb in a largely Muslim city besieged by Serb forces. His life is in danger, but he gets help from unexpected places and manages to escape the city. A book that rather faithfully describes the dangers of everyday life in a war-torn city.
  • SMRT (Death) is a book by Russian writer and oppositionary politician Eduard Limonov. In it, he decribes his travels from Serbian Autonomous Region of East Slavonia in 1991 to Republika Srpska in 1992, the various people he met and dangers he encountered.
  • Jeb'o sad hiljadu dinara (litteral translation: Who gives a f***k about 1000 dinars now) is a bestselling novel by Croatian writer Boris Dežulović. Croatian soldiers go on an undercover mission disguised as Bosniak soldiers. Bosniak soldiers go on an undercover mission disguised as Croatian soldiers. Two groups meet. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Gvozdeni rov (Iron trench) by Milorad Ulemek. Its story is centered arround trench warfare between Serbian and Bosniak forces. At one point, a new and deadly force joins the Bosniak ranks - the Arab Mujahideen.
  • Jelena 93 by Serbian writer Mile Kordić is a tragic story of a Bosnian Serb woman whose Bosniak husband and son both turn against her as the war begins. The sequel, "Jelena 2001" is set against the backdrop of the Kosovo war.
  • Kad magle stanu (When the mists stop) by Croatian writer Josip Mlakić tells the story of three war veterans, Croat, Serb and Bosniak, who write down their recollections as a form of therapy.
  • The Untochable by British writer Gerald Seymour takes place in post-war Bosnia, but contains numerous flashbacks set during the war.
  • Gerard De Villiers, prolific French writer of spy fiction (over 200 novels!) is famous for his SAS series. Some of the novels are set during the Yugoslav wars:
    • SAS No. 104: Manipulation in Zagreb
    • SAS No. 109: Mission Sarajevo
    • SAS No. 136: Bombs over Belgrade
  • Hotel Grand by Renato Baretić is a novel-within-novel. One timeline follows an anonymous user writing an episodic novel on a Croatian forum/blog, in the present day. The other timeline follows his litterary hero, a young boy who grows up in a family-owned brothel in war-torn Croatia in the '90s. The website visitors are left puzzled is it an autobiography or not, until powerful and dangerous people start posting more and more serious threats on the forum.
  • The Redeemer by Jo Nesbø features a character from Vukovar with the war background. The book belongs to the series about Harry Hole
  • Command Authority by Tom Clancy features a Croatian assassin who received his basic training by the U.S. intelligence agencies during Croatia's war against the Serbs. After fighting in Croatia, he and his men moved to Bosnia to work as mercenaries for the Bosnian government. There, they committed war crimes in local Serbian villages. Because of that, U.S. agencies immediately broke all contact with him. However, the assassin's past is used against them all, when Kremlin draws him into a ploy to kill an important Russian figure and blame it on the U.S.
  • Drugi Kosovski boj (The second battle of Kosovo) by Milovan Drecun is a detailed chronicle of small-unit combat in Kosovo from the Serbian perspective.
  • Kosovo 99 by Alexander Lobantsev is a first-hand account of a former Russian KFOR peacekeeper whose paratrooper unit was among the first to enter Kosovo after the war.
  • Encryption Straffe is set in an Alternate History post-war Balkans ruled by a N.G.O. Superpower.
  • Spiralling Outof Control answers the question many people in the former Yugoslavia have asked, what would have happened, had the Yugoslav People's Army intervened in 1991 against the nationalists, in order to preserve Yugoslavia? The short answer is: things would have gotten much, much worse.

    Live Action TV 
  • Two years before the events of the first season of 24, Jack Bauer leads a squad sent to kill Serbian war criminal Viktor Drazen. They fail to do that, but do kill his wife and daughter. Naturally, Drazen isn't happy.
  • In Season 1, Episode 7 of The Agency, one of the agents tries to uncover the truth about his brother's death. Finding out that his brother was last seen at a Serbian checkpoint in Kosovo, he assumes it was the Serbs who killed the brother. Much to the hero's surprise, he finds out that his brother was actually allowed to pass the checkpoint but was later stopped by the opposing faction: the Kosovo Liberation Army. Since wearing (fake) Serbian documents, his brother was immediately lined up together with the captured Serbian civilians, executed and burried in a mass grave.
  • Serbian sitcom Složna braća (Brothers who get along). In the show's timeline, all three warring factions in Bosnia got their respective political entities, each gaining 33.33% of land. This leaves 0.01% as a UN administered no man's land. The story centeres around a cafe/motel/brothel owned by a Bosnian Muslim, located in this small piece of land. Muslims, Serbs, Croats and UN soldiers alike visit his establishment. The series is known for both straight and averted use of national stereotypes and somewhat dark humor.
  • Waking the Dead has Dr. Tara Fitzgerald having done forensic work in the former Yugoslavia. In one episode, the team investigate a case she worked on and those responsible are identified by three witnesses a decade later.
  • New Tricks A Serbian war criminal went into hiding as a monk in an addiction clinic and killed a man who recognised him.
  • In NCIS, Dr. Donald Mallard worked on war graves in the former Yugoslavia.
  • Many episodes in the early seasons of JAG, including the pilot, takes place in the background of this conflict.
  • The pilot for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has Stabler and Benson investigating the murder of a cab driver... who turned out to be a Serbian war criminal and rapist who was done in by his victims. Benson arranges things so the killers get off light.
  • ER had Dr. Luka Kovac, a Croatian who lost his wife and two children during the conflict. Incidentally, Goran Višnjić had also appeared prior to the series as one of the main characters in the aforementioned Welcome to Sarajevo.
  • The Death of Yugoslavia by BBC is probably by far one of the best documentaries about the war. Not only does it give great insight in every faction and their motivations, but also explains quite well how step by step Yugoslavia became fragmented and collapsed from within.
  • An episode of Extras features Ben Stiller directing a movie set during the Yugoslav Wars and based on the life of a real survivor.
  • An episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia features the gang working as extras on the set of a movie about the Yugoslav Wars. Frank and Dee play corpses during a scene of ethnic cleansing, but they refuse to sit still. Dee mistakes it for a zombie movie and starts crawling around while moaning "braaaaaains" and Frank is preoccupied with eating sausage links hidden in his shirt.
  • In the Community episode "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy", Britta begins dating Lukka, who is from the Balkans. She assumes that he's a war survivor, but later discovers that this isn't quite so:
    Lukka: So much killing. The corpses stacked like firewood, the rivers red with their blood. I miss it so much.
    Britta: Oh, Lukka! [starts kissing him, but then pulls back] Wait, just to clarify, when you say you miss it, it's like you have survivor's guilt; like you wish you were back over there defending the motherland, right?
    Lukka: Yes, I miss cleansing our fields and forests of the unclean people who stole my country. I miss the smell of the villages burning. [laughs wistfully] I miss the way they used to run from our tanks in fear.
  • In the TV series Motive, one episode has a peacekeeper discovering that the Bosnian Serb doctor who refused medical treatment to injured Muslims has escaped to Canada.


     Video Games 

  • The protagonist of Grand Theft Auto IV, Niko Bellic, is a Serbian veteran of the Yugoslav Wars, particularly Bosnia.
  • T-72: Balkans on Fire is set during one of the Yugoslav Wars in which the player is a Russian volunteer fighting on the Serbian side, mostly against the Croats.
  • Several flight combat simulators:
    • Nova Logic 1997 flight simulator F-16 Multirole Fighter featured a campaign in which NATO bombs Serbia. This was made two years before NATO actually bombed Serbia! However, they didn't bother to look up the maps — Serbia is portrayed as an island.
    • Same thing with another 1997 flight simulator iF-22, which set the NATO bombing of Serbia in 2004, but at least got the geography part right.
    • Ultra-realistic flight combat simulator Falcon 4.0 Allied Force pits the NATO forces against Serbia in a (somewhat) historically accurate fashion. However, there is an option to play the same campaign 20 Minutes into the Future, where Serbia is allegedly a regional superpower capable of bombing NATO bases in Italy.
    • Nova Logic helicopter simulation Comanche 4 has a VIP escort mission set in a besieged Balkan town suspiciously similar to Sarajevo.
  • Rainbow Six Rogue Spear has a rescue mission set in Djakovica, Kosovo shortly after the NATO bombing.
  • Soldier of Fortune has a mission in Kosovo, where a fictional Serbian militia threatens to use a captured F-117 and a smuggled nuclear bomb, while NATO bombs them all over again. This rather absurd subplot drew attention of Serbian players who laughed at numerous errors in geography, factography, logic etc. Narm Charm at its finest.
  • Budget title Elite Forces: Navy Seals had a similar plot in one of its mini campaigns. During the Bosnian war, a Russian nuclear warhead was stolen and held somewhere in Sarajevo — this time by unnamed, generic military forces.
  • Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 has a mission set in 1993 Sarajevo. Although the authors claim the level is historically accurate, it partially falls in the realm of Alternate History: Here, Serbian military took control over Sarajevo and nearly destroyed the Croatian air force (which it didn't - instead, it stripped almost all of the munitions and military airpower Croatia, and to a degree Bosnia and Herzegovina, had in stock, thereby forcing them to fight by throwing boilers and sinks filled with scrap out of ex-firefighting planes or worse). Sarajevo is significantly oversized in the game and definitely more urbanized than in real life. The Serbian graffiti are mostly authentic, but completely anachronistic (e.g. "Nikad u EU" - "Never in the EU," which is a post-2000 slogan). The game raised major controversy due to graphic portrayal of mass murders.
  • Spec Ops Ranger Team Bravo was a mission pack for the first Spec Ops game and it contained a mini campaign set in war-torn Bosnia. It caused a minor controversy since one of the mission requires the player to capture a real-life Bosnian Serb leader.
  • Tactics Ogre is very heavily based off the Yugoslav wars. Seriously, just replace the names of Dolgare with Tito and all the ethnic groups with Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian note . They do not shy away from showing the hatred between the three factions either.
  • Markov from Ace Combat: Assault Horizon was a Russian who participated in this conflict, most likely on the side of the Serbians. His Start of Darkness occurs when an American airstrike accidentally kills his wife (most likely a reference to the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by the U.S.)
  • Steel Panthers, specifically WinSPMBT, covers almost all the various factions involved in the wars.
  • This War of Mine draws heavily from the interviews of survivors of the siege of Sarajevo to inform its experience.
  • Splinter Cell: Essentials has a level set in Belgrade during the NATO bombing. Sam Fisher is ordered to infiltrate the Belgrade harbor and destroy a shipment of Russian-made surface to air missiles.
  • Back to Kosovo is a high-quality fan-made mod for Ghost Recon. The player can control Serbian soldiers during the Kosovo war.
  • Kosovo Sunrise is a mod for Blitzkrieg, made by a member of the Panzerkrieg development team. The player can control Serbian troops during the Kosovo war.
  • Balkan War Mod is a mod for ARMA2 that features all three warring factions of the Bosnian war.