Despite preventive and diagnostic instruments and mechanisms put in place by the international community, genocide - systematic destruction of social groups - persists as a major regional and global problem. Genocidal processes are multifaceted and involve multiple factors at all levels of analysis interacting to produce genocide. This study examines the most significant socio-historical factors in producing the genocidal war in Bosnia that started in the spring of 1992, carried out generally uninterrupted until late 1995, with some forms of violence continuing years after the official end of the war. The main goals of the research were to contextualize the genocide and explain why it occurred and continued for so long despite the United Nations' involvement in the conflict. To collect relevant evidence necessary to answer the research questions, I systematically generated, analyzed, and synthesized knowledge from scholarly publications as a source of data. I found that a protracted economic crisis, state-building processes following a regime change, and restructuring have created an opportunity to consolidate power and territory at the hand of extreme nationalist elites in Serbia and Croatia and those within Bosnia who shared their nationalist aspirations. Espousal of ethnic nationalism as legitimating ideology and the political agenda of atrocity as means of achieving the elite and public's goal realized through military consolidation, and mobilization and arming of the masses. The handling of the conflict by the global bystander elite, spearheaded by the United Nations, was crucial for the realization of the Serbian major nationalist project. The UN's failure primarily lies in its unwillingness to distinguish between the perpetrators and their targets and in the organization's inability to effectively enact appropriate policies in the face of extreme human suffering and rampant violations of international laws.


Afroza Anwary

Committee Member

Paul Prew

Committee Member

Pat Nelson

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)

Program of Study

Sociology: College Teaching Emphasis


Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright