On 2 May Izetbegović was on his way back from the Lisbon talks, together with his daughter Sabina, Dr. Zlatko Lagumdžija (at the time deputy Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Nurudin Imamović, his personal bodyguard, when he was captured by the JNA at Sarajevo airport. After a sleepless night and dramatic negotiations, it was agreed that UNPROFOR would escort them into the besieged city. This was just the beginning of the four-year war with Alija Izetbegović at its very heart. He himself said that there was “widespread fear of the Chetniks” and that the “psychological framework” had been dismantled. And so it was: once battle commenced, the fear evaporated, to be replaced by defiance. As the fighting wore on, its cost in blood kept mounting. Izetbegović often asked himself if the conflict could somehow have been prevented. He answered his own question in one of his diary entries: “Until Slovenia and Croatia seceded, yes, it could; after that, no. Or rather it could have, but only at the cost of capitulation. And slavery is the worst possible solution, worse than war.” He was to repeat, again and again, that freedom was the supreme goal in life.
Despite the open fighting all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was not until 20 June 1992 that the Presidency declared a state of war. This was followed by its Manifesto appealing for “active involvement in the patriotic front of the struggle against aggression.” A war government was appointed, headed by Jure Pelivan, and charged with the existential issues of a country under attack. Dr. Haris Silajdžić was appointed as Foreign Minister, and the other members of the government were Jusuf Pušina, Jerko Doko, Ranko Nikolić, Žarko Primorac, Rusmir Mahmutćehajić, Alija Delimustafić, Radovan Mirković, Hasan Muratović, Tomislav Krstičević, Uglješa Uzelac, Munir Jahić, Mustafa Beganović, Nikola Kovač, Martin Raguž and Miljenko Brkić
The permanent museum exhibition is located in the towers Kapi-kula Ploča and Širokac. In the Ploča tower, the life of Alija Izetbegović as statesman and politician is displayed on chronologically arranged exhibition boards, accompanied by text and photographs. In the Širokac tower, the exhibition is dedicated to Izetbegović's role as the Supreme Commander in the defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Serbian agression.
Established in the recent times, the Museum „Alija Izetbegović“ offers modern answers to questions from the past, but also sets the foundation for the future. Through its objective scientific approach, it encourages young people, intellectuals and researchers to approach modern history with expertise and knowledge.
The Museum educational programs are designed for elementary and secondary school students. They include professional tours of the permanent museum exhibition, interactive school workshops, pedagogical and educational publications, lectures, special programmes observing important historical dates, etc.