The war was principally a territorial conflict, initially between the Serb forces mostly organized in the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) on the one side, and the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) which was largely composed of Bosniaks, and the Croat forces in the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) on the other side. The Croats also aimed at securing parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Croatian. The Serb and Croat political leadership agreed on a partition of Bosnia with the Kara?or?evo and Graz agreements, resulting in the Croat forces turning against the ARBiH and the Croat-Bosniak war. The war was characterized by bitter fighting, indiscriminate shelling of cities and towns, ethnic cleansing and systematic mass rape, mostly led by Serb and, to a lesser extent, Croat forces. Events such as the Siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre would become iconic of the conflict.
The war was brought to an end after the signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Paris on 14 December 1995. Peace negotiations were held in Dayton, Ohio, and were finalized on 21 December 1995. The accords are now known as the Dayton Agreement. A 1995 report by the Central Intelligence Agency found that Bosnian Serb forces were responsible for 90% of the war crimes committed during the conflict. As of early 2008, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had convicted 45 Serbs, 12 Croats and 4 Bosniaks of war crimes in connection with the war in Bosnia. The most recent figures suggest that around 100,000 people were killed during the war. In addition, an estimated total of 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped, and over 2.2 million people were displaced, making it the most devastating conflict in Europe since the end of World War II.
- Battles 1901-Now