47. Croatia/Serbians (1991-present)

 

Conflict Phase (June 25, 1991-January 3, 1992): Ethnic Serbs in Croatia began a secessionist movement following Croatia’s declaration of independence from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991. The Yugoslav National Army (JNA) militarily intervened in support of ethnic Serbs on June 26, 1991.  The European Community (EC) imposed military sanctions (arms embargo) against the Croatian government and ethnic Serbs on July 5, 1991.  The EC mediated a ceasefire agreement on September 10, 1991.  JNA naval units attacked Croatian towns on the Adriatic coast beginning on October 1, 1991. The UN secretary-general appointed Cyrus Vance of the US as personal envoy in Croatia in October 1991.  The EC mediated a ceasefire agreement on October 18, 1991.  Government troops and Croatian Serb rebels resumed military hostilities in December 1991. Government and Croatian Serb representatives agreed to a ceasefire mediated by the UN that went into effect on January 3, 1992.  Some 2,500 Croats were killed, and some 220,000 Croats were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (January 4, 1992-January 21, 1993): The International Rescue Committee (IRC) established a mission consisting of six individuals to provide humanitarian assistance to Croatians in February 1992.  On February 21, 1992, the United Nations (UN) Security Council established the United Nations Protection Force in Croatia (UNPROFOR – Croatia) to monitor the ceasefire agreement and to monitor the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula.  UNPROFOR-Croatia, which consisted of 14,825 peacekeeping troops and support personnel, 256 military observers, and 731 civilian police personnel from some 25 countries commanded by Lt. General Satish Nambiar of India, was deployed on March 8, 1992.

Conflict Phase (January 22, 1993-March 29, 1994): Government troops and Croatian Serb rebels resumed military hostilities on January 22, 1993, and the UN Security Council demanded an immediate ceasefire on January 25, 1993. The UN secretary-general appointed Thorvald Stoltenberg of Norway as UN special representative to Croatia in May 1993. Government troops and Croatian Serb rebels engaged in military hostilities beginning on August 2, 1993, but the parties agreed to a ceasefire mediated by the UN special representative on September 15, 1993. Government and Croatian Serb representatives signed a temporary ceasefire agreement mediated by the UN special representative on December 17, 1993, and the parties signed a permanent ceasefire agreement facilitated by the US and Russia in Zagreb on March 29, 1994.  Some 5,000 individuals were killed during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (March 30, 1994-April 29, 1995):  The World Bank (WB) provided reconstruction assistance to the government between June 21, 1994 and December 31, 2000.  The UN secretary-general appointed Yasushi Akaski of Japan as special representative in January 1995.  The European Community Monitoring Mission (ECMM) and UNPROFOR were disbanded on March 31, 1995.  Some 50 UNPROFOR-Croatia peacekeeping troops were killed during the mission.  On March 31, 1995, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation (UNCRO) to assist in controlling, by monitoring and reporting, the crossing of military personnel, equipment, supplies and weapons, over the international borders between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) at the border crossings; to facilitate the delivery of international humanitarian assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina through the territory of Croatia; and to monitor the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula.  UNCRO, which consisted of a maximum of 14,663 peacekeeping troops, 328 military observers, and 531 civilian police observers commanded by Major-General Eid Kamal Rodan of Jordan, was deployed in western Slavonia, the Krajina region, and eastern Slavonia.

Conflict Phase (April 30, 1995-November 12, 1995):  Government troops launched a military offensive against Croatian Serb rebels in western Slavonia on April 30, 1995, and government troops captured Okucani and Pakrac on May 2, 1995. Croatian Serb rebels bombed Zagreb on May 2-3, 1995, resulting in the deaths of six individuals.  The UN Security Council appealed for a ceasefire on May 1, 1995, but the appeal was rejected by the Croatian government.  UN Special Representative Yasushi Akashi mediated a ceasefire agreement on May 3, 1995.  Some 500 individuals were killed, and some 100,000 individuals were displaced.  The European Union (EU) appealed for a ceasefire on May 4, 1995.  The UN Security Council demanded that both parties withdrawn their troops from the “zone of separation” on May 17, 1995, but violations of the ceasefire agreement continued to occur. Government troops launched a military offensive (“Operation Storm”) against Croatian Serbs in the Krajina region on August 4-5, 1995, resulting in the deaths of 526 Serbs and three UN peacekeepers.  Some 200,000 Serbs fled as refugees from the Krajina region.  The UN Security Council and the EU demanded a ceasefire on August 4, 1995.  Britain, France, and Russia condemned the military offensive by the Croatian government.  On September 25, 1995, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) established a fact-finding mission headed by Andre Erdos of Hungary to investigate the human rights situation in Croatia, and the OSCE mission was in Croatia from October 6-10, 1995.  On November 12, 1995, representatives of the government and Croatian-Serbs signed the UN-mediated Basic Agreement on the Region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium on November 12, 1995, providing for the peaceful integration of these regions into Croatia under UN transitional administration.  Some 5,000 individuals were killed, and some 300,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (November 13, 1995-January 15, 1998):  UNCRO was terminated on January 15, 1996.  Sixteen UNCRO personnel were killed during the mission.  On January 15, 1996, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) to “supervise and facilitate the demilitarization of the region; monitor the voluntary and safe return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes of origin in cooperation with UNHCR; and contribute to the maintenance of peace and security in the region.”  In addition, UNTAES was responsible for civil administration, training civilian police, facilitating the return of refugees, and organizing elections.  The military component of UNTAES consisted of a maximum of 4,849 peacekeeping troops and 99 military observers commanded by Major-General Jozef Schoups of Belgium.  The civilian police component of UNTAES consisted of a maximum of 401 civilian police personnel.  On January 17, 1996, the UN Security approved Jacques Paul Klein of the US as Transitional Administrator of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium.  On February 1, 1996, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) to monitor the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula.  UNMOP consisted of a maximum of 28 military observers from 22 countries commanded by Colonel Goran Gunnarsson of Sweden.  On April 18, 1996, the OSCE Permanent Council established the OSCE Mission to Croatia to monitor human rights and refugee conditions in the country.  The OSCE mission, which consisted of 130 personnel, monitored human rights and refugee conditions in Croatia beginning on July 4, 1996.  The Council of Europe (CoE) established a human right monitoring mission in Croatia in November 1996.  Local elections were held in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium on April 13, 1997, and presidential elections were held throughout Croatia on June 15, 1997.  UNTAES-electoral unit sent observers to monitor the local and presidential elections in the region from October 1, 1996 to June 30, 1997.  On November 6, 1997, Croatia’s foreign minister requested the presence of UN civilian police monitors after the termination of UNTAES. UNTAES was disbanded on January 15, 1998.

Post-Crisis Phase (January 16, 1998-present):  On January 16, 1998, the UN Security Council deployed the United Nations Civilian Police Support Group (UNCPSG), which consisted of 180 civilian police observers from 18 countries headed by Police Commissioner Halvor Hartz of Norway and 53 international staff personnel headed by Souren Seraydarian of Syria, to monitor the performance of the Croatian police in the Danube region. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) established a mission to provide repatriation assistance to Croatian refugees beginning on January 30, 1998.  On June 25, 1998, the OSCE Permanent Council established the OSCE Police Monitoring Group to replace the UN civilian police mission.  UNCPSG was terminated on October 15, 1998. The OSCE mission, which consisted of some 120 police monitors and 60 international staff personnel, monitored civilian police in the Danube region of Croatia beginning on October 16, 1998. The EU Council and Western European Union (WEU) Permanent Council established a joint de-mining assistance mission (WEUDAM) on April 22, 1999. WEUDAM, which was headed by Sweden, consisted of nine personnel from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden. The CoE terminated its human rights monitoring mission on September 26, 2000. The OSCE terminated the OSCE Civilian Police Mission in Croatia in the Danube region on October 31, 2000.  The EU lifted military sanctions (arms embargo) against the government and ethnic Serbs on November 20, 2000.  WEUDAM was disbanded on November 30, 2001.  On January 1, 2002, Ambassador Peter Semneby of Sweden took over as Head of the OSCE Mission to Croatia.  UNMOP was disbanded on December 15, 2002.  On May 9, 2005, Ambassador Jorge Fuentes Monzonis-Vilallonga of Spain replaced Ambassador Peter Semneby of Sweden as Head of the OSCE Mission to Croatia.

[Sources: Associated Press (AP), October 15, 1998; Banks and Muller, 1998, 232-237; Beigbeder, 1994, 251; Council of Europe (COE) press release, September 26, 2000; European Union (EU) press release, May 4, 1995, August 4, 1995; International Organization for Migration (IOM) press release, January 30, 1998; Keesing’s Record of World Events, May 1995, August 1995; Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) newsletter, September 1995, October 1995, June 1997, June 1998; OSCE press release, September 21, 2000; Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly (PA)/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) press release, November 23, 1999; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), April 11, 1997, April 15, 1997, June 16, 1997, August 7, 1997; UN Chronicle, 1998 (no.1); United Nations Security Council (UNSC) press release, December 19, 1997; Western European Union (WEU) press release, April 20, 1999, May 10, 1999.]