|Army of Republika Srpska|
Војска Републике Српске (ВРС)Participant in the Bosnian War and the Croatian War
Vojska Republike Srpske (VRS)
|Motive(s)||Independence of Republika Srpska (until 1995)|
|Military leader||Ratko Mladić (until 1995)|
|Political leader||Radovan Karadžić (until 1995)|
|Headquarters||Pale, Bijeljina, Banja Luka|
|Size||80,000 at peak, 4,000 in 2005|
|Colours||Red, Blue, White (Serb ethnic colors)|
|Split from||Yugoslav People's Army|
|Merged into||Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Allies||Armed Forces of Yugoslavia|
|Opponent(s)|| Bosnian Army (until 1995)|
HVO (until 1995)
United Nations (until 1995)
The Army of Republika Srpska (Serbian: Војска Републике Српске/Vojska Republike Srpske; ВРС/VRS), commonly referred to in English as the Bosnian Serb Army, was the military of Republika Srpska (RS), the self-proclaimed Serb secessionist republic, a territory within the newly independent Bosnia and Herzegovina (formerly part of Yugoslavia), which it defied. Active during the Bosnian War (1992–95), it continued to exist as the armed forces of RS, one of two entities making up Bosnia and Herzegovina, until 2006 when it was integrated into the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Forces of the VRS perpetrated the Srebrenica massacre in 1995.
The Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) was founded on 12 May 1992 from the remnants of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from which Bosnia and Herzegovina had seceded the same year. When the Bosnian War erupted, the JNA formally discharged 80,000 Bosnian Serb troops. These troops, who were allowed to keep their heavy weapons, formed the backbone of the newly formed Army of the Republika Srpska. Aside from being made up almost entirely of ethnic Serb officers and recruits from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the VRS also included ca. 4,000 foreign Orthodox Christian volunteers. 1,000-1,500 of these came from Russia, and Bulgaria, with 700 volunteers originating from Russia specifically. 100 Greeks also volunteered to fight on the side of the Bosnian Serbs, forming the Greek Volunteer Guard which allegedly participated in the Srebrenica massacre.
After the war, the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina had two armies, that of the VRS and the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AFBiH). AFBiH was itself composed out of two elements, the ARBiH and HVO. The two armies functioned without a common command, on the principle of "non-intervention in the affairs of the other". Bisera Turković noted that it was 'therefore questionable whether in say a foreign attack on Sarajevo [...the VRS] would defend this capital city'. The existence of the two separate armies was one of the factors impeding civil-military relations development. The VRS conducted demining.
In 2003 the army began to integrate into the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2005 a fully integrated unit of Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats was deployed to augment the US-led coalition forces in Iraq. On 6 June 2006, it was fully integrated into the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina controlled by the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The supreme commander of the VRS was General Ratko Mladić, now indicted at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for genocide, as are other high-ranking Serb officers. Mladić was arrested in Serbia on 26 May 2011.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia stated that: "In July 1995, the Armed Forces of the Republika Srpska were under the command and control of the Commander-in-Chief, Radovan Karadzic. His headquarters was in Pale.
Within the framework of the VRS, immediately subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief, was the Main Staff of the VRS, headquartered in Han Pijesak and commanded by General Ratko Mladic. It was the responsibility of the Commander of the Main Staff to issue regulations, orders and instructions regarding the implementation of orders by the Commander-in-Chief, and to discharge the command duties delegated to him by the Commander-in-Chief. The Main Staff of the VRS consisted of staff officers and staff support personnel, as well as some specialised military units such as: the 65th Protection Regiment, designed to provide protection and combat services for the Main Staff; and the 10th Sabotage Detachment, a unit trained for operations behind enemy lines and other special combat assignments.
The vast majority of the fighting force of the VRS itself was divided into six geographically-based Corps, all subordinate to, and under the command of, General Mladic and, in turn, the Commander-in-Chief, Radovan Karadzic. In July 1995, the six Corps were the Drina Corps, the 1st Krajina Corps, the 2nd Krajina Corps, the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, the Hercegovina Corps and the East Bosnia Corps."
Formerly known as Ratno Vazduhoplovstva i Protiv Vazdušna Odbrana Vojske Republike Srpske or RV i PVO RS. Beginning on 1 June 2004, the Republika Srpska Air Force was officially called, Prvi Puk Vazduhoplovstva i Protiv Vazdušna Odbrana Vojske Republike Srpske, also known as 1st Aviation Regiment and Air Defence Force of the Republic of Srpska's Army.
On 12 May 1992, Ratko MLADIC was appointed Commander of the Main Staff of the VRS, a position he held until at least 22 December 1996. On 24 June 1994, Ratko MLADIC was promoted to the rank of General Colonel.