Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone


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Bobetko reorganized the HVO command structure. On 13 June the Serb forces destroyed two bridges across the Neretva, leaving only the Stari Most bridge, which was, however, damaged. The ARBiH supported the eastward push from the city only in a secondary role.

Mostar unbridged ahead of last UN Bosnian war verdict

HVO was at the time composed of both Croats and Bosniaks. Although the frontline was still close to Mostar, the high ground directly overlooking Mostar on the eastern bank of the Neretva was secured by the HV and HVO forces. Mostar was heavily damaged by JNA shelling during the siege. Amongst the destroyed or severely damaged buildings were the Catholic Cathedral of Mary, Mother of the Church , the Franciscan Church and Monastery, the Bishop's Palace with a library collection of over 50, books , 12 out of 14 mosques, the historical museum, archives, and number of other cultural institutions.

All of the city's bridges were destroyed, leaving only the Stari Most bridge as the remaining river crossing. They were followed by many Bosniak refugees from other Bosnian towns which had been overrun by the VRS.

Although originally on friendly terms, relations between the two allies had begun to deteriorate by the latter half of In June and July, Boban increased pressure "by blocking delivery of arms that the Sarajevo government, working around a United Nations UN embargo on all shipments to the former Yugoslavia, has secretly bought. It only allowed a Croat flag to be used, the only currency allowed was the Croatian kuna , its official language was Croatian, and a Croat school curriculum was enacted. Mostar, where Bosniaks constituted a slight majority, was set as the capital. ARBiH however was very under-equipped and even by the end of could only supply 44, troops with firearms.

By mid-April , it had become a divided city with the western part dominated by HVO forces and the eastern part where the ARBiH was largely concentrated. A truce was agreed by the two sides that didn't last long.

Fighting started in the early hours of 9 May Both the east and west side of Mostar came under artillery fire. However, the evidence remains very divided with respect to how the attack of 9 May started. HVO soldiers conducted mass arrests of Muslims in West Mostar and separated the men from the women, children and elderly persons. The men belonging to the ABiH were detained in the Ministry of the Interior building and at the 'Tobacco Institute' where they were savagely beaten.

Other men - some belonging to the ABiH and others not - were detained and beaten at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Ten ABiH soldiers died as a result of the violence exerted upon them. The women, children and elderly persons of West Mostar were sent to the Heliodrom where they were held for several days before being able to return home. The building was heavily shelled on 9 May and HVO seized it the next day.

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However, battles in the city continued. The situation calmed down on 21 May and the two sides remained deployed on the frontlines.

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Thus they secured the entire eastern part of the city. Two days later fierce fighting took place across the frontlines for control over northern and southern approaches to Mostar. The HVO launched a counterattack and recaptured Buna. In the western part of the city HVO remained in control.

They then expelled the Bosniak population from western Mostar, while thousands of men were taken to improvised camps, most of them at a former heliport near the village of Dretelj , south of Mostar. The ICTY found that "during this period, East Mostar and the neighbourhood of Donja Mahala in the west were subjected to a prolonged military assault by the HVO, including intense and uninterrupted gunfire and shelling. This firing and shelling caused many casualties, including the deaths of many civilians and representatives of international organisations.

Ten mosques were badly damaged or destroyed. The HVO impeded and at times even completely cut off the passage of humanitarian aid. The Muslim population was thus forced to live in extremely harsh conditions, deprived of food, water, electricity and adequate care. Many women, including one year-old girl, were raped by HVO soldiers before being forced across the front line to East Mostar. During the Croat-Bosniak conflict, the Serbs, who were still the strongest force, cooperated with both Bosniaks and Croats, pursuing a local balancing policy and allying with the weaker side.

In the broader Mostar area the Serbs provided military support for the Bosniak side. Coordinated attacks were launched on HVO positions in the area. The ARBiH made some limited gains by attacking outward from the city in three directions. The HVO responded with artillery shelling of the eastern part of the city on 23 September and an ineffective counterattack on 24 September.

After several days of negotiations, a cease-fire was agreed on 3 October. Dozens of Croat civilians were killed in villages north of Mostar during the operation. The ARBiH held positions in the immediate vicinity of the bridge and it was used by the ARBiH between May and November for combat activities on the front line and also by the inhabitants of the right and left banks of the Neretva as a means of communication and supply.


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In September an attempt at reconciliation of the Croat and Bosniak sides was sunk by continued fighting in central Bosnia and Mostar and by the fact that the Bosniaks were at the time not interested in peace. The Serb side was only willing to accept 24 percent and the plan didn't go through.

By February , the Secretary-General of the UN reported that between 3, and 5, Croatian regular troops were in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the UN Security Council condemned Croatia, warning that if it didn't end "all forms of interference" there would be "serious measures" taken. On 26 February talks began in Washington, D. Under the agreement, the combined territory held by the Croat and Bosnian government forces was divided into ten autonomous cantons. Though the HVO had an armaments advantage, the battle of Mostar ended indecisively and the city was divided into two parts based on ethnic lines.

Both agreements were protested in west Mostar by Croat leaders. The Bishop of Mostar argued it was a Croat majority town that was a part of Catholic Herzeg-Bosnia and that EU administration was not the will of the people.

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Several months after the Washington Agreement the Croatian government continued to pursue irredentism. The siege resulted in the deaths of about 2, individuals. That number doesn't include deaths that had an unknown place of death, but occurred during the siege. Of the deaths, Before the war, the Mostar municipality had a population of 43, Croats, 43, Bosniaks, 23, Serbs and 12, Yugoslavs. According to data, the municipalities that in had a Croat relative majority became all Croat and municipalities that had a Bosniak majority became all Bosniak.

In west Mostar there were about 17, displaced people coming from central Bosnia, Sarajevo, Jablanica, and Konjic. In western Mostar there appears to have been an intentional Croatian government project to resettle Croats there to establish demographic and political control. The International Crisis Group observed that "the narrow Bosniak plurality of has become a substantial Croat majority". Mostar was "the most heavily destroyed city in Bosnia and Herzegovina". The most affected area was in Bosniak populated east Mostar and the Bosniak part of west Mostar where around 60 and 75 percent of buildings were destroyed or very badly damaged.

In Croat populated west Mostar around 20 percent of buildings had been severely damaged or destroyed, mostly in the western side of the Boulevar hostility line. It's estimated that 6, of the city's 17, housing units were affected. After the end of the war, plans were raised to reconstruct the bridge. It was decided to build a bridge as similar as possible to the original, using the same technology and materials. Reconstruction commenced on 7 June The reconstructed bridge was inaugurated on 23 July In the verdict, the Chamber found that during the HVO's presence in Mostar, thousands of Bosnian Muslims and other non-Croats were expelled from the western part of the city and forced into the eastern part.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Bosnian War. Main article: Croat—Bosniak War. Main article: Washington Agreement. CIS , p. Retrieved 18 February Retrieved 25 January Archived from the original on 17 July Retrieved 17 July Museum International. Bethlehem, Daniel L. The 'Yugoslav' Crisis in International Law.

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Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone
Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone
Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone
Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone
Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone

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