March 1995

Fuad Babic
Civil Defense

‘We put up a visual protection between the Vrazova Health Center and the former barracks across the street, from one side of the street to the other, to hide that space. Because we knew that they were shooting there. But then suddenly they started to shoot with those silencers. And they really got us; we didn’t know what to do any more.’


MARCH 1995

• The first of March is proclaimed independence day for BiH, by decision of the RBiH Parliament.
• Sarajevo: from Skenderija to Elektroprivreda, the tram follows a UN APC for protection. Antisniper protection is on standby, reserved for tall buildings with views of the streets and hills.

• The Royal Swedish Theatre introduces heat to the National Theatre.

• Serbia rejects the peace plan proposed by the great powers and required for them to lift sanctions.

• The Bosnian Serbs fire at planes with automatic weapons. UNPROFOR personnel increasingly refuse to fly to Sarajevo.
• British parliament: One MP in the Labour party accuses former UNPROFOR Commander Michael Rose of taking bribes from the Serbs, as well as receiving a photograph from Bosnian Serb Commander Ratko Mladic as a farewell present, in turn providing the Serbs with confidential NATO information on the flight schedules of NATO aircraft.

• Sarajevo trams: Antisnipers teams are arrayed from Elektroprivreda to Marijin Dvor. Nearby are UN ambulances for the injured.
• Antisniper teams cover the critical sections of the tram tracks.

• UN spokesman, Alex Ivanko: “It seems the antisniper agreement from 94 wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.”
• Richard Holbrooke, in Zagreb with Tudjman, Susak and Granic, puts pressure on the Croats to change their minds on the UN withdrawal from Croatia.
• Bihac: a bag of flour costs between 450-500 DM, while chocolate costs between 7-9 DM.

• The UN Command for sector Sarajevo establishes passive and active protection. They form plans to place large containers at the riskiest intersections and screens on the banks of the Miljacka, which would reduce visibility for the snipers. Another idea is to install concrete slabs on the tram to protect against snipers.
• “Alpine Milk” appears in dairy stores..

• The decision on changing clocks for daylight savings time in the future will be made by the minister for refugees and welfare and not the government, as before. Daylight savings time will begin the last week of March and first week of April.
• The establishment of tram traffic is only an illusory success for UNPROFOR. It is a political issue. A commission is formed for the security of tram traffic.

• At an auction in London on March 16th one can find a lock of Napoleon’s hair, as well as one from the Duke of Wellington, who won the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The latter’s lock of hair is 200 pounds. Napoleon lost the Battle of Waterloo; his lock of hair goes for 1,500 pounds.

• Because the road to the airport closes, prices at the market rise. At the market those who are the quickest and have exact change get the cheapest deals.
• Akashi conveys a message from the commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Ratko Mladic: “For each murdered Serb, the Serbian side will close their entrances to Sarajevo, for 30 days,” on the occasion of the murders of children in Grbavica.

• Transport of goods through BiH: a truck plunges into the Neretva with 23 tons of paint. The ongoing conflict causes goods to be uncontrolledly transported through its territory.

• The Serbs fire on the UN at Gorazde. NATO planes circle the area at the time of the attack for 4 hours. The UN does not request directly an air intervention.

• The Bosnian Serbs fire on Igman road. UN report: the Serb machine gun doing the firing is located in the center of Ilidza, so nothing can be done without endangering civilians.
• Flights to Split halted.

• Centralistic conception of the UN collapses, along with unified command for the former Yugoslavia, breaking into several smaller factions more adequate for the situation.
• Belgrade accuses George Soros of being a CIA agent who recruits youth, indoctrinates them and then sends them back to serve foreign interests.
• UNPROFOR suggests that to protect Sarajevans 150-200 containers be set down, three containers high. The City authorities reject the proposal because it would constitute a new Berlin Wall.

• Massacre in the center of Tuzla: 19 killed, dozens more wounded.
• A “Hercules” lands at the Sarajevo airport.

• Renewed shelling of Tuzla.

• UNPROFOR meets with the warring sides and receives assurances that UN planes will not be fired at. It is hoped that this oral agreement will be enough to reassure UN pilots.

• The UN issues an ultimatum for the Serbs to return stolen arms, as well as to destroy a portion of them. UNPROFOR believes that the stolen mortars with traces of mud and snow were used for military training. During the UN visit, the Serbs weld part of the cannon.
• Muhamed Filipovic, leader of one of the opposition parties in BiH, visits Belgrade. He meets with Slobodan Milosevic, who is not ready to recognize BiH.

• Bosnian Serb television station “Srna”: “Radovan Karadzic will announce an immediate end to the war if ARBiH forces withdraw to their positions from December 24th, when he signed the agreement on the ceasefire.”

• Radovan Karadzic proclaims a general mobilization.
• UN mandate in BiH extended till November 30.

• Radovan Karadzic appears in uniform after the defeat of Serb forces in Majevica. He extends an invitation for negotiations, and sends a letter to the U.S., Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Boutros-Ghali in which he demands an immediate end to the ARBiH’s actions to liberate itself. He claims that if there is continued conflict it will grow into a Balkan war.
• Owen, in an interview with the BBC: “The sides have to gather around the negotiating table or it will be a bitter war, to a degree we’ve never seen before,”

• Austria introduces a visa regime for Bosnians; the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in BiH protests


At the beginning of the siege the Yugoslav National Army and the SDS terrorists (the Serbian Democratic Party members were proclaimed terrorists by the Bosnian government) deployed their snipers in tall buildings and in the barracks to shoot at citizens. Even when they were removed from the city the distance between the city streets and the tall buildings on the hills in the occupied territory was sufficient to allow sniping by semi-automatic guns produced by the Yugoslav army. According to the data gathered in 1995 the snipers, shooting from small holes made in the walls of the buildings or from the bushes, had wounded 1030 and killed 225 persons, 60 of whom were children. In some European newspapers one could read reports about the “war tourism” which included sniping the citizens of Sarajevo. The Russian avant-garde writer Limonov was caught on camera indulging in this “enjoyable sport”.


Every area of the city was a dangerous zone. At every moment, from all the places in the mountains surrounding the city the snipers could hit every target in the city. Therefore the most dangerous zones were those directly in the line of fire Bridges, crossroads and streets exposed to the mountains. Those were the places where the possibility of getting shot was somewhat lessened if one was a fast runner. Such places also seemed less terrifying than other parts of town where one was never sure whether one should walk fast or slow. Would the shell land where you are or in front of you? The signs DANGEROUS ZONE or WATCH OUT, SNIPER, as well as the signs showing the direction of traffic were written in oil-based paint on pieces of UNHCR plastic sheets, or on pieces of cardboard, wooden board or simply written with chalk on the wall.