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Bosnia and Herzegovina marks 30th anniversary of independence

Bosnia held a referendum on independence on 1 March 1992.
Bosnia held a referendum on independence on 1 March 1992. Copyright ELVIS BARUKCIC / AFP
By Euronews
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The ceremonies in the capital Sarajevo are not observed by Bosnian Serb officials.


Bosnia and Herzegovina has marked the 30th anniversary of its declaration of independence amid ongoing divisions in the Balkan country.

Ceremonies were held in the capital Sarajevo on Monday, attended by two of the three members of the Bosnian presidency -- a body consisting of representatives of the country's main ethnic groups: the Bosniaks, the Serbs and the Croats.

On 1 March 1992, the country held a referendum on independence from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with an overwhelming majority of 99.7% voted in favour, with a voter turnout of 63.4%.

The European Economic Community did not recognise Bosnia as an independent state until 7 April, with the UN recognising its independence on 22 May.

The result was condemned by Bosnian Serbs and months later began a war that lasted until 1995 and killed more than 100,000 people.

In 1995, the US-sponsored Dayton Peace Accords created two main administrative units in Bosnia — the Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska, or RS, and the Bosniak-Croat majority Federation of BiH.

The two entities were given some autonomy, with an umbrella state-level government with its three-way presidency — with each member representing one of the three main ethnic groups — and a council of ministers overseeing the country's main institutions, including the army, the top judiciary, and tax administration.

The Bosnian Serb member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik had labelled the celebration of independence "illegitimate" and ignored the anniversary as expected.

The celebration was also overshadowed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared to attacks on Sarajevo and the country during the Bosnian war.

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