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Croatia

Yearbook 1996

Croatia. Croatia was adopted on November 6 as a member of the Council of Europe despite the fact that the government had not fulfilled one of the 21 conditions that President Franjo Tudjman had promised in writing in March. The conditions mainly concerned respect for human rights and the free press and the treatment of the Serbs in the former Serbian enclave Krajina.

1996 Croatia

According to Countryaah.com, around 180,000 Serbs fled when the Croats marched into Krajina in August 1995, and since then the regime has in every way put obstacles in the way of their return. There are only a handful of old people left who are totally dependent on the help that the Swedish and Danish Red Cross provide. The Serbs' homes were systematically plundered after the Croatians took control of the area and people were murdered - the looting and murders continued throughout 1996 without the Croatian police intervening.

Tudjman and his ruling Democratic Union, Hrvatska Democratic Zajednica (HDZ), ruled Croatia increasingly totalitarian, at the same time as the accusations against the regime of corruption and frugal politics grew in strength. Thus, the president refused to accept the opposition's electoral victory in Zagreb in the fall of 1995 and vetoed the proposed mayor. Finally, through a decree, Tudjman appointed the former Communist Marina Dropulić as mayor of Zagreb with the statement that it would be a security threat that the capital was ruled by a mayor from the opposition.

The regime has also fought hard against the free press. Several attempts to silence critical newspapers were made by prosecution of individual journalists, and the press laws were manipulated. In addition, a ban was imposed on criticism by the authorities. In the autumn, the broadcasting license was revoked for the independent radio station R 101, and on 20 November 120,000 people gathered for a unique protest demonstration in central Zagreb. The radio got its license extended to January 15, 1997, but Tudjman fired Interior Minister Ivan Jarnjak because he had not deployed a riot police against the protesters.

The notorious anti-Semitic script "Protocol of Zion's Vision" came out in a new edition in Croatia. At the same time, the Jewish Assembly leader Slavko Goldstein threatened to sue Tudjman for grievance if he takes seriously his plans to move the dust of old Ustašamän to the memorial for victims from the notorious World War II concentration camp in Jasenovac.

Tudjman was subjected to severe international pressure, mainly from the United States, to persuade Bosnian Croats to dissolve their ministry of Herceg-Bosna so that it can be included in the Federation of Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the Dayton Agreement. However, on the weather map of state television, Herceg-Bosna continued to have the same darker shade of color as Croatia, in contrast to the color of the other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At a summit between Tudjman and Serbian President Slobodan Milošević in Greece on August 21, it was decided that both countries would establish diplomatic relations. A formal agreement was then signed in Belgrade by Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinović and his Croatian colleague Mate Granić. However, before the countries can set up embassies in Zagreb and Belgrade, many questions remain to be resolved, including: who has the right to the strategically important Prevlaka Peninsula on the Adriatic on the border with Montenegro.

The UN Security Council decided to extend the mandate of the UN force in Eastern Slavonia, the last Serbian-controlled part that has not come under Croatian rule, to the summer of 1997.

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