Not to be confused with Srebrenik.

Coat of arms

Location of Srebrenica within Bosnia and Herzegovina
Country Bosnia and Herzegovina
Entity Republika Srpska
Boroughs 81
  Mayor Mladen Grujičić
  Total 526.83 km2 (203.41 sq mi)
Population (2013 census)
  Total 15,242
  Density 28.9/km2 (75/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Area code(s) 56

Srebrenica (Cyrillic: Сребреница, pronounced [srêbrenitsa]) is a town in the easternmost Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Srebrenica is a small mountain town, its main industry being salt mining and a nearby spa.

During the Bosnian War, the town was the site of a July 1995 massacre of the town's Bosniak population, determined to have been a crime of genocide.[1]

On 24 March 2007, Srebrenica's municipal assembly adopted a resolution demanding independence from the Republika Srpska entity (although not from Bosnia's sovereignty); the Serb members of the assembly did not vote on the resolution.[2]

Local communities

The municipality (општина or opština) is further subdivided into the following local communities (мјесне заједнице or mjesne zajednice):[3]


Year of census total Bosniaks Serbs Croats Yugoslavs others
2013[4] 13,409 7,248 (54.05%) 6,028 (44.95%) 16 (0.119%) - 117 (0.87%)
1991 36,666 27,572 (75.19%) 8,315 (22.67%) 38 (0.10%) 380 (1.03%) 361 (0.98%)
1981 36,292 24,930 (68.69%) 10,294 (28.36%) 80 (0.22%) 602 (1.65%) 386 (1.06%)
1971 33,357 20,968 (62.85%) 11,918 (35.72%) 109 (0.32%) 121 (0.36%) 241 (0.72%)
1961 29,283 14,565 (49.74%) 12,540 (42.82%) 71 (0.24%) 1,967 (6.71%)
1953 46,647 N/A 23,545 (50.47%) 106 (0.45%) 22,791 (48.86%)
1948 39,954 N/A 20,195 (50.55%) 52 (0.13%) 19,671 (49.23%)
1931 35,210 N/A 17,766 (50.5%) 103 (0.29%) 17,332 (49.2%)

The borders of the municipality in the 1953 and 1961 census were different. In 1953, Muslims by nationality had been yet to emerge as an ethnicity leading Slavic Muslims to identify as Yugoslavs. As Yugoslav was itself not adopted in 1948, they were all classified as other. In 2003, Bosnian Serbs comprised 95% of the population of Srebrenica.[5]

The town

Year of census total Muslims Serbs Croats Yugoslavs others
1991 5,746 3,673 (63.92%) 1,632 (28.40%) 34 (0.59%) 328 (5.70%) 79 (1.37%)


Before 1992, there was a metal factory in the town, and lead, zinc, and gold mines nearby. The town's name (Srebrenica) means "silver mine", the same meaning of its old Latin name Argentaria.

Before the war, Srebrenica also had a big spa and the town prospered from tourism. Nowadays, Srebrenica has some tourism but a lot less developed than before the war. Currently, a pension, motel and a hostel are operating in the town.


Roman era

During the Roman times, there was a settlement of Domavia, known to have been near a mine. Silver ore from there was moved to the mints in Salona in the southwest and Sirmium in the northeast using the Via Argentaria.

Middle Ages

In the 13th and 14th century the region was part of the Banate of Bosnia, and, subsequently, the Bosnian Kingdom. The earliest reference to the name Srebrenica was in 1376, by which time it was already an important centre for trade in the western Balkans, based especially on the silver mines of the region. By that time, a large number of merchants of the Republic of Ragusa were established there, and they controlled the domestic silver trade and the export by sea, almost entirely via the port of Ragusa (Dubrovnik).[6] During the 14th century, many German miners moved into the area.[7] There were often armed conflicts about Srebrenica because of its mines. According to Czech historian Konstantin Josef Jireček, from 1410 to 1460, Srebrenica switched hands several times, being Serbian five times, Bosnian four times, and Ottoman three times. The mines of Bosnian Podrinje and Usora were part of the Serbian Despotate prior to the Ottoman conquest.[8]

Ottoman period

With the town coming under Ottoman rule, becoming less influenced by the Republic of Ragusa, the economic importance of Srebrenica went into decline, as did the proportion of Christians in the population. The Franciscan monastery was converted into a mosque, but the large number of Catholics, Ragusan and Saxon, caused the transformation of the town to Islam to be slower than in most of the other towns in the area.[9]

The area of Osat was liberated for a short time during the First Serbian Uprising (1804–13), under the leadership of Kara-Marko Vasić from Crvica. Upon the breakout of the uprising, Metropolitan Hadži Melentije Stevanović contacted Vasić, who met with the rebel leadership. After participated in battles on the Drina (1804), Vasić asked Karađorđe for an army to liberate Osat; Lazar Mutap was dispatched and the region came under rebel rule. In 1808, the Ottomans cleared out Osat, and by 1813, the rebels left the region.

Second World War

During the Second World War, the Ustaše massacred hundreds of Serbs in villages surrounding Srebrenica.[10] The Muslim population of the region was active in participating in this genocide.

Bosnian War

The town of Srebrenica came to international prominence as a result of events during the Bosnian War (1992–1995). The strategic objectives proclaimed by the secessionist Bosnian Serb presidency included the creation of a border separating the Serb people from Bosnia's other ethnic communities and the abolition of the border along the River Drina separating Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs' Republika Srpska.[11] The Bosnian Muslim/Bosniak majority population of the Drina Valley posed a major obstacle to the achievement of these objectives. In the early days of the campaign of forcible transfer (ethnic cleansing) that followed the outbreak of war in April 1992 the town of Srebrenica was occupied by Serb/Serbian forces. It was subsequently retaken by Bosniak resistance groups. Refugees expelled from towns and villages across the central Drina valley sought shelter in Srebrenica, swelling the town's population.

The town and its surrounding area was surrounded and besieged by Serb forces. On 16 April 1993, the United Nations declared the Bosnian Muslim/Bosniak enclave a UN safe area, to be "free from any armed attack or any other hostile act", and guarded by a small unit operating under the mandate of United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR).

Srebrenica and the other UN safe areas of Žepa and Goražde were isolated pockets of Bosnian government-held territory in eastern Bosnia. In July 1995, despite the town's UN-protected status, it was attacked and captured by the Army of Republika Srpska. Following the town's capture, all men of fighting age who fell into Bosnian Serb hands were massacred in a systematically organised series of summary executions. The women of the town and men below 16 years of age and above 55 were transferred by bus to Tuzla.

The Srebrenica massacre is considered the worst massacre in post-Second World War European history to this day.[12]

In 2001, the Srebrenica massacre was determined by judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to have been a crime of genocide (confirmed on appeal in 2004).[13] This finding was upheld in 2007 by the International Court of Justice. The decision of the ICTY was followed by an admission to and an apology for the massacre by the Republika Srpska government.[14]

Under the 1995 Dayton Agreement which ended the Bosnian War, Srebrenica was included in the territory assigned to Bosnian Serb control as the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although guaranteed under the provisions of the Dayton Agreement, the return of survivors was repeatedly obstructed. In 2007, verbal and physical attacks on returning refugees continued to be reported in the region around Srebrenica.[15]

Fate of Bosnian Muslim villages

In 1992, Bosniak villages around Srebrenica were under constant attacks by Serb forces. The Bosnian Institute in the United Kingdom has published a list of 296 villages destroyed by Serb forces around Srebrenica three years before the genocide and in the first three months of war (April–June 1992):[16]

More than three years before the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, Bosnian Serb nationalists - with the logistical, moral and financial support of Serbia and the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) - destroyed 296 predominantly Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) villages in the region around Srebrenica, forcibly uprooting some 70,000 Bosniaks from their homes and systematically massacring at least 3,166 Bosniaks (documented deaths) including many women, children and the elderly.

According to the Naser Orić trial judgement:[17]

"Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircraft. Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance and destroyed their homes. During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties."


Notable people


  2. "Srebrenica pushes for partition". B92. 25 March 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  3. Archived April 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. Bideleux & Jeffries (2007), p. 388
  6. Konstantin Jireček: Die Handelsstrassen und Bergwerke von Serbien und Bosnien während des Mittelalters: historisch-geographische Studien. Prag: Verl. der Kön. Böhmischen Ges. der Wiss., 1879
  7. Mihailo Dinić: Za istoriju rudarstva u srednjevekovnoj Srbiji i Bosni, S. 46
  8. Salih Kulenović (1995). Etnologija sjeveroistočne Bosne: rasprave, studije, članci. Muzej istočne Bosne. p. 20.
  9. A Short History of Bosnia, S. 53 ff.
  10. Paris 1953, p. 104
  12. "Srebrenica reburies 308 victims of massacre". 11 July 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  13. "Krstic - Judgement". International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 19 April 2004. Archived from the original on 10 July 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  14. "Serbs sorry for Srebrenica deaths". BBC. 10 November 2004. Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  15. "7th Session of the UN Human Rights Council" (PDF). Society for Threatened Peoples. 21 February 2008. p. 2.
  16. Bosnian Institute UK, the 26-page study: "Prelude to the Srebrenica Genocide - mass murder and ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks in the Srebrenica region during the first three months of the Bosnian War (April-June 1992)", 18 November 2010.
  17. Naser Oric Trial Judgement, ICTY


External links

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Coordinates: 44°06′N 19°18′E / 44.100°N 19.300°E / 44.100; 19.300

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