The Vance-Owen Plan

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Yugoslavia (former)
Europe and Eurasia
Agreement name
The Vance-Owen Plan
Agreement status
Multiparty signed/agreed
Interim arrangement
Agreement/conflict level
Intrastate/intrastate conflict (Balkan Conflicts (1991 - 1995) (1998 - 2001)
Former Yugoslavia

The disintegration of former Yugoslavia post cold war saw conflicts which became mediated and produced peace agreements in Slovenia (where the brief independence conflict was mediated by the EC Troika in 1991), Croatia (between Croatian and Serb populations 1991-1995), in Bosnia (between Croatian, Serb and Bosniak populations 1992-1995), in Macedonia (where mediation played a key pre-emptive role in preventing large scale conflict in 2001), in Kosovo (between Kosovar Albanians and Serbian population and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), but also between FRY and NATO, 1998-1999), and a conflict in the Presevo Valley (between Albanians in South Serbia and FRY, 2000-2001). The continued fall-out of the disintegration of former Yugoslavia also saw mediated agreement and ultimate dissolution of the Union between Serbia and Montenegro.


In 1991, after nationalist parties won the first multi-party elections in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a violent process of disintegration commenced. With its mixed population, Bosnia-Herzegovina became the centre of the following civil war that began in 1992 between the newly formed army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (mostly Muslim Bosniacs), and the parastatal forces of self-declared Bosnian Croat (Herzeg-Bosnia) and Bosnian Serb (Republika Srpska) entities within Bosnia-Herzegovina, supported by Croatia and Serbia, with various, often short-lived, coalitions. The General Framework Agreement (Dayton Peace Agreement), signed in 1995, split the country into two ethno-federal entities, the Bosniak-Croat Federation and the Republika Srpska, and included continued peacekeeping and institutional administration by international actors.


The conflict between Serbs and Kosovar Albanians has a long history and always involved territorial disputes as well as ethno-political, cultural and linguistic factors. The most recent phase of the conflict began in November 1997 when the Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA or UCK) began their campaign for the independence of Kosovo from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY – then Serbia and Montenegro). The subsequent war lasted until the NATO intervention, which undertook bombing campaigns of Belgrade and other places in Serbia during spring 1999. The main agreements solving the conflict were internationally driven and, finally, a UNSC resolution imposed a post-conflict arrangement in the wake of what was essentially a NATO military victory. In February 2008, Kosovo’s parliament declared independence, but independence is still internationally disputed.

Balkan Conflicts (1991 - 1995) (1998 - 2001) )
Framework/substantive - comprehensive (Agreement)
Conflict nature
Peace process
125: Bosnia peace process
Alija Izetbegovic; Radovan Karadzic; Mate Boban
Third parties
C.R. Vance; David Owen
Also known as the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, this agreement sets out the principles for forthcoming negotiations in Geneva. It is comprised of two short, signed agreements, and several annexes: Agreement Relating to Bosnia and Herzegovina; Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Annex I: Cessation of Hostilities; Annex II: Restoration of Infrastructure; Annex III: Opening of Routes; Annex IV: Separation of Forces; Annex V: Demilitarisation of Sarajevo; Annex VI: Monitoring of Borders; Return of Forces to Designated Provinces. An additional annex was created 'Agreement on interim arrangements' which was included as part of the ultimate plan. The agreement was signed by Mate Boban and Alija Izetbegovic on 25/03/1993, but Radovan Karadzic made his agreement suspensive on the support of the Assembly of the Republika Srpska, which ultimately was not forthcoming. This version of the agreement comprises the Vance-Owen Plan of January 1993, with the additional 'agreement/annex' of 25/03/1993, as signed by Karadzic on 02/03/1993.

Agreement document
BA_930502_The Vance-Owen Plan.pdf []

Main category
Page 8, Appendix, Sarajevo "blue route" concept, Outline plan for blue routes, 1. Execution, 1.2 Use of the blue routes, 1.2.2 Access for civilians
All civilians, regardless of sex, age, or ethnic origin, and without weapons or ammunition, will be allowed to use the routes...

Women, girls and gender

No specific mention.
Equality (general)
Page 6, Appendix: Sarajevo "Blue Route" Concept, Article 1.2.2
All civilians, regardless of sex, age, or ethnic origin, and without weapons or ammunition, will be allowed to use the routes.
Particular groups of women
No specific mention.
International law
No specific mention.
New institutions
No specific mention.
Violence against women
No specific mention.
Transitional justice
No specific mention.
Institutional reform
No specific mention.
No specific mention.
No specific mention.
No specific mention.

The University of Edinburgh