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Essay: Case study – Croatia and Yugoslavia

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  • Published: 18 October 2015*
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This is a case study on the case between Croatia who filled a case against Yugoslavia to the international court of justice for the crimes it committed toward the state between the year 1991 and 1995 for violations of the convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide. There is an article IX of the genocide convention that prohibits mass murder of a group of people whether it’s racial, ethnic or any kind of religious group. Between 1991 and 1995 state of Yugoslavia repeatedly violated this agreement by sending its troops to Croatia in the knin region.
BACKGROUND
In 1918 December the kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was proclaimed by the Serb karagjorgevic dynasty without the consent of the Croats and renamed the kingdom the country of Yugoslavia as defined by the 1974 Yugoslav constitution. In 1943 communist forces under marshal josip Tito proclaimed a new Yugoslavia and set up federal states of six republics. After the Second World War, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia became part of the federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia but after the death of the longtime leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980, growing nationalism among the different republics wanted to split and become independent. On 25 June 1991 based on common vote by the people of Croatia to want independence and be a democracy from a communist rule led by dr franjo Tudjman and in 1992 the European community and the United States of America recognized Croatia as an independent state and it was even granted membership in the United Nations.
This threatened Serb hegemony under President Slobodan Milosevic and they wanted to overthrow Croatia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Belgrade government used tools such as propaganda, demonstrations by their armed forces who were slowly stocking up arms. On March 1991 Serbs who were supported by the so called Yugoslav people’s army (JNA) and Mr. Slobodan Milosevic started ambushing Croatian policemen.
EFFECTS OF THE WAR
1. Death tolls got to 20000, almost 55,000 wounded other people couldn’t be accounted for.
2. Around 800,000 people were displaced from their homes because of the war which was more than 15% of the Croatian population.
3. Many people were taken as prisoners of war taken to Serbia and other areas of the federal republic of Yugoslavia
4. Towns and villages were burnt down to the ground destroying historical artifacts in the process. Around 590 towns and villages were burnt down to the ground.
5. 25 per cent of Croatia’s total economic capacity, including such large facilities as the Adriatic Pipeline, was damaged or destroyed during 1991 – 1992. Approximately 10 per cent of Croatia’s tourist facilities were damaged or destroyed by the FRY-backed forces and agents.
6. 22 journalists were killed, many of whom were trying to reveal the truth about the aggression against Croatia.
7. Estimates indicate that upwards of 3 million various explosive devices were planted within Croatia, mostly anti-personnel and anti-tank devices. These mines are, for the most part, uncharted, and block about 300,000 hectares of arable land.
INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION
In January 1992, in Sarajevo, Croatia and the JNA signed a cease-fire brokered by Mr. Cyrus Vance, former Secretary of State of the United States of America and a special envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali. In February 1992, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution announcing the deployment of a protective, peace keeping mission (UNPROFOR) in Croatia. Pursuant to the plan, UNPROFOR was stationed in four different sectors, designated as United Nations Protected Areas. But Croatian territory was still occupied by the Serbs illegally despite UN warning them from supplying rebel groups with arms and logistics.
The republic of Croatia since 1991 tried to negotiate peaceful resolutions with Serbia but was unsuccessful. So in 1995 Croatian government launched operation flash liberating the Serb occupied region restoring law and order in the region. In August 1995, upon the recommendation of the international community, the Croatian Government and the Serbs from the occupied areas met in
Geneva to try to reach a settlement on the third stage of the peaceful reintegration of the occupied but Serbian delegation turned down all the proposals. So operation storm was launched and within 84 hours Croatian army took back most of the land back. These successful actions against the Serbs set the stage for the Bosnian peace accord initialed in Dayton, on 21 November 1995, and formally signed in Paris on 14 December 1995.
The Court has jurisdiction in this case pursuant to Article 36 (1) of its Statute, which provides that the Court’s jurisdiction “comprises. All matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in treaties and conventions in force”. Both the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are successor States of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In this regard, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia signed the Genocide Convention on 11 December 1948, and deposited its instrument of ratification on 29 August 1950. Under the general principles of international law, successor States continue to be bound by the treaty obligations of the Predecessor State.

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