The Bosnian War followed the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, when four republics - Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina - made declarations of independence. The Bosnian declaration was made by the Muslim majority, and Orthodox Serbians living in Bosnia & Herzegovina rebelled against it. Fighting broke out and, supported by Serbian troops, the Bosnian Serbs took control of a number of areas, subjecting them to a programme of ethnic cleansing.
In July 1995, more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in Srebrenica by the Bosnian Serb Army. The town was meant to be a "safe area" under UN protection, but the 400 Dutch peacekeepers stationed there were unable to prevent the massacre.