3666th Meeting of Security Council: Situation in Croatia

Preview Language:   English
22-May-1996 00:06:46
Security Council calls on Croatian Government and local Serbs to comply with 1995 Agreement on Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium at the 3666th meeting.

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Demilitarization Begins on 21 May; Presidential Statement Calls for Cooperation with UNTAES.

The Security Council this afternoon called upon the Croatian Government and the local Serbs to comply strictly with their obligations under the Basic Agreement of 12 November 1995 on the region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium. It stressed that the parties must refrain from any unilateral action which could hinder the Agreement's implementation including the process of demilitarization.

Demilitarization began yesterday, 21 May, following the Secretary- General's letter of 20 May (document S/1996/363) informing the Council that the military component of the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) had been deployed and was ready to undertake its mission of demilitarization of the region.

In a statement read out on the Council's behalf by its President Qin Huasun (China), the Council called upon the parties to cooperate with UNTAES in adopting confidence-building measures.

The Council further called upon the Government of Croatia to grant amnesty to all persons who served in the civil administration, military or police force of the local Serb authorities in the former United Nations Protected Areas with the exception of those who committed war crimes. Noting that the recently passed Croatian amnesty law was a positive step, the Council also called on the Government to make the amnesty as comprehensive as possible in order to help maintain public confidence and stability during the demilitarization and demobilization process.

A letter dated 20 May from the Permanent Representative of Croatia (document S/1996/357) informed the Council that Croatia had adopted a law granting amnesty to all persons who committed crimes between 17 August 1990 and 1 June 1996 in the territory currently under the temporary administration of UNTAES. The act excludes those persons suspected of violations of international humanitarian law.

On 15 January, the Council, by its resolution 1037 (1996), acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, established UNTAES, to help with the demilitarization and eventual peaceful reintegration of the region into Croatia's legal and constitutional system. Under the terms of the Basic Agreement of 12 November 1995 between the Croatian Government and the local Serbs, the Council was asked to establish a Transitional Administration for the region for an initial period of 12 months. Subsequently, the Secretary- General appointed Jacques Paul Klein as Transitional Administrator with authority over the mission.

The region's demilitarization, as provided in the Agreement, was to be completed 30 days from the date that the Secretary-General informed the Council that UNTAES' military component had been deployed and was ready for its task. The Council also decided that, no later than 14 days after the date on which demilitarization was completed, it would review whether the parties had shown a willingness to implement the Basic Agreement. The UNTAES mandate would be reconsidered if the Secretary-General reported at any time that the parties failed to comply with their obligations under the Agreement.

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