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TITLE:  CROATIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


The Republic of Croatia declared its independence from the 
former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991.  The 
Yugoslav National Army (JNA), assisted by paramilitary forces 
from Serbia/Montenegro and from Serb-inhabited areas of 
Croatia, then attacked Croatia, ultimately establishing control 
over a quarter of Croatia's territory.  A cease-fire went into 
effect in January 1992.  The February 1992 peace plan, 
negotiated by former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and 
approved by the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) as Resolution 743, 
aimed at normalizing life in the Serb-occupied areas through a 
multistage process including demilitarization, the return of 
displaced persons, reconstitution of police forces based on 
prewar ethnic proportions, and negotiations leading to 
reintegration of the areas into Croatia.  The United Nations 
Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was deployed in March to serve as 
peacekeepers and implement the Vance Plan.  The areas of 
Croatia seized during the war were designated U.N. Protected 
Areas (UNPA's) and identified as Sectors North, South, East, 
and West.  Adjacent to some UNPA's are "Pink Zones," 
Croatian-controlled territory in which UNPROFOR has a limited 
peacekeeping role.  

The UNSC extended UNPROFOR's mandate six times in 1993, 
including Resolution 801, which for the first time identified 
the UNPA's as "integral" parts of the Republic of Croatia.  The 
most recent UNPROFOR mandate extension, UNSC Resolution 871, 
expires on March 31, 1994.  Little progress was made in 
implementing the Vance Plan in 1993.  The 15,000-troop UNPROFOR 
mission was not able to prevent the outbreak of armed conflict 
between Croats and Serbs in January and September, as well as 
the almost daily shelling of Zadar and other areas along the 
Dalmatian coast from the Serb-controlled areas of the UNPA's.  
Apart from the above exceptions, UNPROFOR's presence 
significantly abated the fighting in the UNPA's.  UNPROFOR, 
however, was unable to demilitarize the UNPA's or begin 
repatriating persons displaced from their homes in the UNPA's.

Although JNA forces left Croatia by the end of 1992, the UNPA's 
(except for part of Sector West) were under the control of 
heavily armed, aggressive Serbian elements, defying UNPROFOR 
and continuing the "ethnic cleansing" of non-Serbs.  

Two major outbreaks of fighting occurred in 1993.  The Croatian 
army in January launched an offensive to reestablish road 
connections between northern and southern Dalmatia by seizing a 
key area around Maslenica.  In September Croatian forces 
launched a second offensive to capture several Serb-held 
villages near Medak, allegedly in retaliation for Serbian 
mortar fire against the town of Gospic.  They destroyed 11 
Serbian villages and killed at least 67 Serbs, including 
civilians.  In October the Government suspended several 
officers pending an investigation.  Serbian forces responded 
with rocket and artillery attacks against Karlovac, several 
Zagreb suburbs, and the Sisak oil refinery, killing many 
civilians.  (See also Section 1.g.)

The Constitution provides for a parliamentary system headed by 
a president invested with considerable powers.  Dr. Franjo 
Tudjman, elected President in August 1992, is in the second 
year of a 5-year term.  He serves as the Chief of State, chairs 
the influential National Defense and Security Council, and 
appoints a Prime Minister who leads the Government.  Dr. 
Tudjman's party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), holds a 
majority of seats in both houses of Parliament.

The Ministry of Defense oversees the armed forces, which 
include an army, a small air force, a small navy, and a 
national guard reserve.  The President is armed forces 
commander in chief.  The Ministry of Interior manages the 
police.  The once formidable Office for the Defense of the 
Constitution was disbanded in 1993.  Some of the office's 
functions were incorporated into the Interior Ministry, and 
some were subsumed by a new National Intelligence Service.  The 
armed forces were guilty of violations of humanitarian law 
during the year.  Law enforcement agencies were criticized for 
severe human rights abuses.

In the occupied UNPA's, "authorities" of the self-proclaimed 
and internationally unrecognized "Republic of Serbian Krajina 
(RSK)" controlled all military and police functions.  The 
Krajina Serb forces, numbering some 15,000-18,000 men, were 
organized into an army and various "police" forces, with large 
amounts of weaponry at their disposal.  These forces were 
heavily augmented from time to time by "volunteers" provided by 
the Government of Serbia/Montenegro and by Serbian criminal 
warlords from other parts of the former Yugoslavia.  In the 
immediate aftermath of both the Maslenica and Medak pocket 
incidents, the authorities in Serbia were reliably reported to 
have dispatched substantial numbers of "volunteers" to Sectors 
North and South to fight against the Croats.  The firing of the 
FROG rockets on Croatian cities in September is almost certain 
to have been carried out with at least the implied consent of 
Serbian authorities.  More fundamentally, Sectors North and 
South, as well as the southern portion of Sector West, are 
economically cut off from trade or supply with or from any 
source except Serbia--via the northern corridor--or, for 
certain items, the Bosnian Serbs.  All these forces were 
directly involved in a continuing pattern of serious human 
rights abuses against non-Serbian populations as well as other 

According to statistics compiled by the United Nations High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of October 1993, there 
was a total of 247,000 Croatian and other non-Serbian displaced 
persons coming from areas under the control of the "RSK" and 
254,000 Serbian displaced persons and refugees from the rest of 
Croatia, an estimated 87,000 of whom were inhabitants of the 

The aftereffects of the 1991 war, the massive refugee burden, 
the spillover from the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the absence 
of significant international financial assistance, the loss of 
export markets in the former Yugoslavia, and other factors 
continued to stymie Croatian economic recovery.  The Government 
made little progress toward privatization and a free market 
economy.  Inflation ran at 25 to 30 percent per month until a 
stabilization program was introduced in October, and the 
average standard of living stood at less than 50 percent of its 
pre-1991 level.

There were continued serious human rights abuses in areas of 
Croatia under government control in 1993, although physical 
violence against Serbs declined.  Abuses occurring near 
frontline areas were aimed at citizens of Serbian nationality 
and included killings, disappearances, physical abuse, illegal 
detention, harassment, destruction of property including house 
bombings, loss of employment, and summary eviction from 
dwelling units.  Other human rights problems included 
limitations on freedom of the press, arbitrary detention, and 
discrimination against minorities, especially Serbs.

In the Serb-controlled portions of the UNPA's, there was no 
evident commitment to ending human rights abuses against 
Croats, Hungarians, Slovaks, and other non-Serbs.  Some of the 
Krajina Serb "authorities" continued to be among the most 
egregious perpetrators of human rights abuses against the 
residual non-Serb population, as well as Serbs not in agreement 
with nationalistic policy.  Human rights violations included 
killings, disappearances, beatings, harassment, forced 
resettlement, or exile--all part of the systematic campaign of 
"ethnic cleansing" designed to ensure Serbian dominance of the 

Following the UNSC's establishment of a War Crimes Commission 
in 1992 to investigate possible war crimes, the UNSC in 
February 1993 passed a resolution to create a War Crimes 
Tribunal.  By year's end, all the judges had been sworn in, and 
a chief prosecutor had been appointed.  The Tribunal is to 
assess the culpability of alleged perpetrators of atrocities 
and to issue a comprehensive report on violations of human 
rights and humanitarian law.  From September 1992 through June 
1993, the United States Government submitted to the United 
Nations eight separate reports summarizing thousands of 
instances of killings, torture, rape, impeding deliveries of 
food and medical supplies to civilian populations, mass 
forcible deportations of civilians, and other violations of 
humanitarian law.  In addition, the U.S. Government provided 
the United Nations with 400 refugee reports totaling over 1,000 
pages.  Illustrative examples of these abuses appear in 
appropriate sections of this report.

This section of the Country Reports addresses human rights 
within the territory of Croatia.  Croatian responsibility for 
human rights abuses on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina 
is addressed in the report on Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Compared to 1992, there were fewer substantiated reports of 
politically motivated or other extrajudicial killings in 1993.  
One controversial murder case was resolved on October 13 when 
four policemen were convicted of the 1991 killing of Croatian 
Party of Rights (HSP) Vice President Ante Paraga.  They 
received jail sentences of from 5 to 7 years.  However, the 
December 1992 murder of former trade union leader Milan 
Krivokuca remains unsolved despite reported continuing police 

Killings continued to occur in the UNPA's as part of the 
Belgrade-backed Serbs' program of "ethnic cleansing."  In 
Sector South, for example, an elderly Croat woman who refused 
to flee the area was found with a meat hook through her neck 
and hand.  Krajina Serb elements are credibly reported to have 
planted a bomb which killed 3 Croatian policemen and wounded 18 
others on September 8 in Pakrac.

In October a U.N.-sponsored forensic team, with the cooperation 
of the Croatian Government, excavated a mass grave site in 
Sector West thought to contain corpses of Serbs murdered during 
the 1991 fighting.  Nineteen bodies were exhumed.  All but two 
suffered gunshot wounds to the head.  The Government opened 
criminal investigations, but by year's end no charges had been 
submitted to the court.  The same forensic team attempted to 
excavate a mass grave at Ovcara near Vukovar but was prevented 
from doing so by Serbian obstructionism.  (Some critics claimed 
that if UNPROFOR had asserted the right of the forensic team, 
the excavation would have been allowed.)  This site is believed 
to hold the remains of over 170 wounded Croatian soldiers who 
had been taken from Vukovar hospital when the city fell and 
summarily executed by JNA troops.  

     b.  Disappearance

There were fewer reported new cases of missing persons in 1993, 
but there was little progress in solving previously reported 
cases.  The Croatian Government's Office for the Victims of the 
War lists 7,857 persons "missing or forcefully disappeared in 
the territory of Croatia" as of the end of 1993. 

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution prohibits torture or cruel or degrading 
punishment.  In practice, Croatian detention facilities 
generally meet accepted standards of order and amenities.  It 
appears that treatment of combatants may also generally meet 
international standards.  Croatian prisons generally appear to 
meet international standards of cleanliness and nutrition.  
Prisoners receive regular meals, adequate if not appetizing.  
Jails are crowded but not to excess  Family visits and access 
to counsel are available.  Medical care is provided.  There 
were allegations of mistreatment and physical abuse of some 
prisoners by guards.

Conditions in prisons within the Serb-controlled UNPA's are 
reliably reported to be abysmal.  Harsh treatment of non-Serbs 
is commonplace and unpunished.  There were reports of torture 
and abuse in Serb-run prisons in the UNPA's.  In a prison 
compound in Knin, for example, 10 Croat prisoners were secretly 
kept in a basement, without the knowledge of Red Cross 
officials, and forced to sleep on concrete floors.  One 
released prisoner reported being beaten upon his arrival at the 
prison and then being registered with the Red Cross 8 days 
later.  Prisoners at the compound were always kept inside and 
fed only twice daily.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution contains provisions to protect the legal 
rights of all accused, but there were credible reports of abuse 
of pretrial and investigative detention.  For example, nine 
members of the Dalmatian Action Party, including the husband of 
the party president, were placed in investigative detention 
after being accused of bombing their own party office on 
September 28.  One of these detainees later was beaten by other 
prisoners.  All were released by the end of November.  

Under Croatian law, police normally seek arrest warrants by 
presenting evidence of probable cause to an interrogating 
magistrate.  A suspect may be arrested without issuance of a 
warrant if police believe the suspect might flee, attempt to 
destroy evidence, or commit other crimes.  If the suspect is 
arrested without a warrant, the police have 24 hours to inform 
the local interrogating magistrate and must justify its 
decision to arrest without a warrant.  

After arrest, persons must be given access to an attorney of 
their choice within 24 hours; if they have no attorney, one 
will be appointed by the interrogating magistrate from a list 
of public defenders.  The interrogating judge must, within 3 
days of the arrest, decide whether sufficient cause exists to 
hold the arrestee in custody pending further investigation.  
The judge must justify the decision in writing, including the 
length of detention ordered.  These decisions are appealable, 
either immediately or later in the detention period.  The usual 
period of investigative detention varies from a few days to a 
few weeks but by law may be as long as 2 years.  Accused 
persons have the right to have their attorney present during 
the entire investigation as well as during any appeal against 
investivative detention.  In practice, arrestees are almost 
always bound over for investigation unless it is clear no case 
against them exists.  Once the investigation is complete, the 
usual practice is to release the accused persons on their own 
reconizance pending trial, unless the crime is a major offense 
or the accused is considered a public danger.  There are no 
provisions for posting bail, although police will sometimes 
retain the accused's passport to prevent them from leaving the 

In the Serb-controlled areas of the UNPA's, virtually no 
safegurds exist against arbitrary detention.  The use of 
detentions to intimidate non-Serbs continued in 1993.  Even 
politically moderate Serbs in the UNPA's were subjected to 
arrest and harassment.  Three such individuals, who were active 
in an UNPROFOR-brokered dialog with the Croatian Government, 
were imprisoned for a second time in 1993.  

Exile is constitutionally prohibited.  However, the Croatian 
Helsinki Committee (a local oragnization with no links to 
Helsinki Watch) asserted that since 1991 as many as 10,000 
houses, many owned by Croatian Serbs, have blown up or razed.  
In some cases, the residents were killed.  In most cases, 
Croatian Serbs fled the country (see Section 5).  

Exile, in the form of "ethnic cleansing," was employed 
aggressively and with the blessing of UNPA Serbian "officials" 
against Croats, Hungarians, Slovaks, Czechs, and other 
non-Serbs.  For example, on July 19, 4 Croatian women were 
expelled from Sector South, and, during the week of August 6, 
16 Croats were forced out of Sector East.  UNPROFOR estimates 
that fewer than 400 Croats remain in Sector South.  The leader 
of the Democratic Union of Hungarians from Croatia stated on 
June 28 that 8,000 citizens of Hungarian nationality had been 
forced to flee to Hungary, largely from Sector East, while 
another 2,000 had been displaced to other parts of Croatia 
because of Serbian "ethnic cleansing."

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Croatian legal system consists of municipal and district 
courts, a Supreme Court, and a Constitutional Court.  The High 
Judicial Council (with a president and 14 members from all 
parts of the legal community) appoints judges and public 
prosecutors.  The House of Parishes nominates persons for 
membership on the Council, and the House of Representatives 
elects members to 8-year terms.  The judicial process is not 
yet free of ethnic bias or political influence.  

A defendant has the constitutional right to a fair trial by a 
competent court, to attend the trial, and to be represented by 
an attorney.  The defendant must be informed of the charges and 
the evidence against him and may not be forced to admit guilt.  
Illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible.  Counsel is 
provided to indigent defendants.

In practice, the prosecuting attorney has leeway in deciding 
whether to bring a case against an individual.  In cases 
considered "political," both the bringing of charges and the 
conduct of trials may be subject to outside influence.  The 
arrest of leading members of the Dalmatian Action Party (see 
Section 1.d.) and the case brought against Croatian Party of 
Right (HSP) leader Dobroslav Paraga raised questions about the 
Government's motivation.  Paraga and other senior party 
officials were brought to trial in 1993 for alleged activities 
endangering the Croatian State committed in 1991 and 1992.  The 
charges arose from the fact that, when the war broke out, in 
the absence of an organized Croat army at the time, various 
groups formed paramililtary organs to fight the Serbs.  One of 
the most active of these was the HSP's "Croatian Liberation 
Movement" or HOS, which operated in Slavonia (headquartered in 
Osijek) and contributed to the defense of Vukovar.  When 
Croatia established its army, these groups were required to 
become part of the Croatian army or disarm.  Refusing to do so, 
some HOS fighters continued to maintain their separate identity 
(if not actual military operations) well into 1992.  To compel 
the dissolution of the HOS paramilitary forces, the Government 
brought Paraga and his chief lieutenants to trial, even though 
Paraga in the meantime had lost control of the "offical" HSP.  
Paraga, new official HSP leader Ante Djapic, and HOS commander 
Ante Djopic all were acquitted of the charges against them late 
in 1993.

Observers have criticized cases of government prosecution of 
Serbs under Section 236(f) of the Criminal Code, which 
prohibits "rebellion," arguing that some have been convicted on 
insufficient evidence.  Tens of such trials took place in 1993, 
with many of the accused tried in absentia.  Virtually all the 
accused were found guilty after trials before military courts.  
Many of these summary convictions, however, have been quietly 

According to the U.N. Special Rapporteur of the Commission on 
Human Rights, an ethnic Serb working for the United Nations was 
arrested on September 1 on a charge of "armed rebellion," 
despite his having previously received clearance from the 
Croatian police.  The Special Rapporteur reported that no 
indication of the specific accusation against him was given and 
that his lawyer was denied access to any evidence or witnesses 
against him.  He was tried in camera by a military court and on 
October 24 was released after being granted an "amnesty" for 
his alleged activities.  

The Special Rapporteur's field staff investigated the case of a 
Croatian citizen of Serbian origin, arrested on December 12, 
1992, in Zagreb on charges of having tortured Croatian 
prisoners of war (POW's) in the Glina camp.  On February 18, 
the District Court of Zagreb found him guilty and sentenced him 
to 12 years' imprisonment. although no substantial evidence was 
produced against him.  Furthermore, in spite of being convicted 
as a civilian, he was exchanged under duress as a POW before 
his appeal could be heard by the Supreme Court.  

The six-court military legal system tries cases involving 
members of the armed forces and national security matters.  
Civilians may be tried in this forum on certain security 
charges.  Defendants have the same legal rights as those tried 
in civilian courts.  

Observers have decried the legal system in Serb-controlled 
UNPA's as a sham, describing kangaroo courts which serve those 
in power as operating with bias and prejudice and outside of 
any semblance of the rule of law.  

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The Constitution declares homes inviolable.  Only a court may 
issue a search warrant, and justification for the search of a 
home or other premises must be stated.  Police may enter 
without a warrant or the owner's consent only if necessary to 
enforce an arrest warrant, apprehend a suspect, or prevent 
serious danger to life or important property.  In practice, 
Croatian authorities do not always adhere to these 
constitutional requirements.  Throughout 1993, military police 
carried out illegal evictions from state-owned apartments 
without prior legal proceedings and in some instances using 
excessive force.  The Croatian Defense Ministry insisted that 
it had inherited ownership of these properties, while tenants 
often insisted on their right to the dwelling based on purchase 
or sublease.  The Housing Commission of the Ministry of Defense 
often refused to address individual complaints.  The military 
police also apparently ignored court rulings for the 
reinstatement of tenants.  While authorities of the Housing 
Commission acknowledged that illegal evictions took place, they 
stated that many illegal evictions were committed by displaced 
persons from the UNPA's who "take matters into their own hands" 
and that the authorities "must demonstrate understanding for 
those whose families have suffered from the Serbs," especially 
"when it is well known that the tenants are active on the enemy 

The Constitution guarantees the secrecy and safety of personal 
data, but it is unclear if such guarantees are adhered to in 

Serbian "authorities" in the UNPA's showed no compunction in 
interfering with the rights of non-Serbs.  In Sector South, 
UNPROFOR had to provide 24-hour protection for a small Croatian 
village after local Serbian "authorities" announced they could 
no longer "protect" the inhabitants from the depredations of 
armed bands.  A series of arrests of politically moderate UNPA 
Serbs in September, ordered by certain Krajina Serb leaders, 
reportedly included scores of violations of privacy rights, 
including fire-bombings.  Another serious abuse was the 
practice of forced resettlement which the Krajina Serbs 
continued to utilize in Sector East.  They housed so-called 
Serbian refugees with local non-Serb or mixed marriage families 
against the occupants' will.  After often severe harassment by 
their "guests," the rightful occupants moved out, thus 
"abandoning" their property to the Serbian immigrants.  Ethnic 
Croats remaining in the Serb-controlled areas of the UNPA's, 
along with some Serbian native residents of these areas, 
reportedly have become targets for the many gangs of criminals 
which have emerged among the Serbian immigrant population in 
the UNPA's, particularly Sector East.  

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

The January 1992 cease-fire between Croatian forces and the JNA 
and other Serb-led forces was accompanied by a peace plan 
negotiated by former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.  This 
plan aimed at normalizing life in the Serbian-occupied areas 
through demilitarization, the return of displaced persons, the 
reconstitution of police forces, and negotiations for the 
reintegration of these areas into Croatia.  The UNSC deployed 
UNPROFOR as peacekeepers in four U.N. Protected Areas (UNPA's), 
which were under the control of Serbian military and 
paramilitary forces.  No progress was made in implementing the 
Vance Plan during 1993, and no general and complete cease-fire 
was agreed upon.

Exchanges of fire and shelling between the Croatian army and 
Serbian forces in the Krajina area continued along the 
cease-fire lines at a low level throughout 1993.  Krajina Serb 
artillery attacks were a daily fact of life for many Croatian 
communities near the cease-fire lines thoughout 1993.  Two 
major outbreaks of fighting occurred, with widespread loss of 
civilian lives and destruction of property.  In January the 
Croatian army attacked Maslenica, in order to try to 
reestablish a transportation link between the northern and 
southern Dalmatian coast and attempted to drive Krajina Serbian 
forces outside of artillery range of the area so that a bridge 
to the coast road could be built.  The Serbian forces responded 
by stepping up their shelling of the bridgehead the Croats were 
trying to secure and of neighboring Croatian areas.  When the 
fighting spread to the Peruca area, the Serbs critically 
damaged the Peruca dam by setting off charges they had placed 
in the dam many months earlier.  Although the fighting caused 
civilian, principally Serbian, casualties, there are no 
reliable figures on either side.  

The U.N. Special Rapporteur received reports of the deaths of 
seven elderly ethnic Serb civilians who were found dead 
following an attack by Croatian government forces against the 
village of Mirlovic Polje in the UNPA Sector South on September 
6.  Four of the victims were reportedly executed, and three 
were apparently burned to death.  

In September, following reportedly sustained Serbian mortar 
fire on Gospic from several Serb-held villages in the Medak 
area, Croatian forces launched an attack to seize three such 
villages whose inhabitants were predominantly Serb.  This area 
is situated in a "Pink Zone" near UNPA Sector South.  After 
negotiating a cease-fire and the withdrawal of Croatian forces, 
the field staff of the U.N. Special Rapporteur reported that 67 
bodies were recovered, while another 25 persons were missing.  
Medical experts reported that several victims were shot at 
close range.  Some of the bodies were mutilated and showed 
signs of possible torture, including serious burns.  Most of 
the victims appeared to be civilians, including a number of 
elderly persons.  At least nine were women, seven of them 
elderly.  None of the victims were children, and it was assumed 
that they had been evacuated before the attack occurred.  
Witnesses to the Croatian attacks reported that Croatian armed 
forces shelled civilian targets and, upon entering the 
villages, continued systematically to destroy the villages with 
explosives, including grenades and mines.  While denying the 
charge of atrocities, Croatian authorities relieved the 
military district commander and two subordinate commanders of 
their positions and launched their own investigation.  The 
results had not been made public by year's end.  

After this Croatian attack, Krajina Serbian forces dramatically 
increased rocket and artillery attacks on several Croatian 
cities and towns.  They shelled downtown Karlovac for several 
days, killing 7 and wounding 23 on September 10; they hit the 
Zagreb suburb of Lucko, nearby Samobor, and Jastrebarsko with 
rockets on succeeding days.  They also shelled the Sisak oil 
refinery on September 9.  During this largely indiscriminate 
shelling, dozens of civilians were killed, scores were injured, 
and many houses and buildings were destroyed.  

In addition to the deliberate shelling of the villages in the 
Medak pocket, the Special Rapporteur received reports that 
Croatian forces also engaged in deliberate shelling of civilian 
areas in the villages of Baljci, Vrlika, and Biljane Gornje.  

Krajina Serb forces continued a deliberate and indiscriminate 
campaign of artillery attacks on major Croatian cities and 
economic targets throughout 1993.  There were numerous civilian 
deaths and injuries and extensive damage to schools, hospitals, 
and refugee camps, as well as houses and apartments.  Gross 
violations of human rights remained commonplace in the UNPA's.  
Krajina Serb forces, operating with impunity and under the 
direct guidance of Krajina Serb "authorities," were directly 
implicated in a continuing series of murders, rapes, bombings, 
and arson.  The Serbian terrorist and wanted war criminal, 
Zeljko ("Arkan") Raznjatovic, a member of the Belgrade 
Parliament,  operated in Sector East with the open support of 
local "authorities," setting up terrorist training facilities 
and a gas station and casino complex and traveling to and from 
Serbia with no hindrance.  On October 9, a party of 16 armed 
"VIP (very important persons) guards" from Arkan's units forced 
their way across the bridge from Serbia into UNPA Sector East.  
UNPROFOR peacekeepers who were guarding the crossing were 
beaten when they confronted the intruders, and three were 
injured.  UNPROFOR's protest to Serbia was not answered.

In the areas under the control of the "Republic of Serbian 
Krajina," the organized and massive "ethnic cleansing" of 
Croats and other non-Serbs is largely a fait accompli.  A 
climate of hostility and abuse against the few remaining ethnic 
minorities exists, and they continue to leave the UNPA's.  
Serbs who show any inclination toward or involvement in 
reconciliation with Croats are considered spies and traitors 
and are subject to harassment and intimidation by Serbian 

In Sector South and the Pink Zones, home to 44,000 ethnic 
Croats in 1991, there were reportedly only 1,161 ethnic Croats 
by year's end.  

On September 21, two former high-ranking members of the Knin 
authorities were accused of cooperation with Croats and 
arrested because of their participation in a social 
reconstruction project cosponsored by the United Nations and a 
nongovernmental organization.  A Serb who was the manager of 
the project was also arrested.  

In UNPA Sector East, most of the Croats have been driven out, 
and ethnic Hungarians, Slovaks, and Gypsies were threatened.  
The Croatian population has dropped from 46 percent of the 
total in 1991 to approximately 6 percent, whereas the Serbian 
population increased from 34 percent to approximately 73 
percent.  The Hungarian population of the area dropped by 
approximately 44 percent.  There were reports of murder, rape 
and pillage, as well as brutal beatings against the remaining 
non-Serbs and the forcible recruitment of non-Serbs into the 
armed forces.  In several reported cases, those who refused 
recruitment were beaten, imprisoned, and even killed.  

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution guarantees freedom of thought and expression, 
specifically including freedom of the press and other media of 
communication, speech and public expression, and free 
establishment of institutions of public communication.  The 
Government continued significantly to limit the exercise of 
certain of these rights.  It used its ownership interest in 
print media and its near monopoly over distribution to limit 
media independence.  The official Croatian news agency 
sometimes issued distorted reports about the fighting in 
Bosnia.  In the Serb-controlled portions of the UNPA's, freedom 
of speech and press virtually does not exist.  

The Constitution states that "any call for or incitement to 
war, or resort to violence, national, racial, or religious 
hatred, or any form of intolerance shall be prohibited and 
punishable."  There is an active and vocal political opposition 
which conducts a broad-ranging and open public debate in the 
print media and occasionally in the electronic media.  

Critics have charged, however, that local variations of slander 
and false information statutes constitute an infringement of 
free speech.  One of the most prominent such cases in 1993 
resulted in the conviction of an individual who claimed that 
large numbers of Serbian civilians were being held in Croatian 
POW camps.  The defendant received a 6-month suspended sentence 
after an on-site investigation by the Russian Ambassador and a 
government team determined the charge was false.  

The Croatian Helsinki Committee alleged that Croatian 
authorities brought politically motivated legal proceedings 
against top officials and activists of two minor opposition 
parties, which the Committee feared demontrated a tendency to 
inhibit political pluralism.  Under various pretexts, these 
cases were brought before the Military Solicitor's Office, 
which resulted in a significant restriction on defendants' 
rights.  The head of the Military Solicitor's Office is also 
the chairman of a political party, which means that he is 
conducting trials of the chairmen or activists of rival 
parties.  Members of the Dalmatian Action Party were arrested 
and accused of planting explosives on their own property.  
Contacts with the detainees were not allowed, and the Helsinki 
Committee reported that some of them were physically abused 
(see Section 1.d.).  

The Government controls all national television broadcasting 
and all (save one) national radio stations and retains a 
controlling interest in two of the four news dailies.  Although 
these state-controlled or heavily state-influenced media, 
particularly the press, frequently carry reportage critical of 
the Government, government control nonetheless ensures an 
overall editorial slant generally favorable to the Government 
and the ruling HDZ.  The emergence of more independent mass 
media is hampered mainly by the absence of a clear commitment 
by the Government and the ruling party to that objective.  

A few newspapers continued to guard their independence.  Novi 
List, a daily published in Rijeka, was privatized in 1993 and 
asserted a strongly independent editorial line.  The highly 
popular, independent, semitabloid weekly Globus continued to 
feature articles based on investigative journalism.  The weekly 
Nedjeljna Dalmacija retained widespread respect for its 
independent orientation.  A new intellectual bimonthly journal 
entitled Erasmus, launched in May and financed in part by the 
International Media Fund and the Open Society Foundation, 
provided another forum for topical public debate of sensitive 
political issues.  

The irreverent satirical weekly, Feral Tribune, was 
resurrected, although Feral's editor reportedly received a 
lecture at the Ministry of Culture for the tabloid's 
persistently crude, grossly personal attacks on Croatia's 
President.  In early 1994, the editor in chief, a reservist who 
had already undergone military training, was confined to 
barracks for several weeks after failing to respond to a 
military callup.  He appealed his induction and was released, 
and the Government stated that an exemption from further 
military service might be granted.  Nevertheless, some 
observers felt that the mobilization order was politically 
motivated as it happened immediately after the Feral Tribune 
ran a piece attacking Tudjman.    

The Government's politically inspired decision to compel the 
reprivatization of the respected Split daily Slobodna Dalmacija 
generated criticism.  The new owners fired a number of 
prominent Slobodna journalists and shifted the paper's 
editorial stance closer to the Government's position on certain 

The President of the Croatian Journalists' Society complained 
about the gap between the principle and practice of press 
freedom and said that, while Croatia accepted the principle of 
freedom of speech and information, in practice journalists were 
attacked for their views when they differed from state 
policies.  For example, there were reports that military police 
assaulted several journalists covering an attempted eviction, 
dragging a female reporter away by her hair and hitting a 
cameraman in the face.  The President of the Society said that 
privatization of the media was not leading to greater media 
freedom.  State purchase of shares allowed the Government to 
continue to have a "controlling" voice in media.  He also said 
that the Government exploited the extremely weak financial 
position of most newspapers to manipulate and pressure them.  
His remarks were nonetheless reported by all the government-
controlled papers.  

The International Federation of Journalists in March suggested 
that Croatia's admission to the Council of Europe should be 
delayed because it was "very concerned" about freedom of the 
press in Croatia.  The Federation specifically mentioned the 
privatization process and the question of the approriateness of 
having well-known ruling party members in charge of state 
television and newspapers.  

In May the Parliament responded to criticism from opposition 
party spokespersons of the lack of media freedom by appointing 
a five-person multiparty commission to investigate the 
situation and report to the legislature at its next session.  
By year's end, no report had been issued, but local press 
reports indicated a seven-member council for protecting the 
press was established in December.  

International papers and journals remained available throughout 
government-controlled areas.  

Croatia has three major television channels, as well as 
regional stations in Zadar, Rijeka, Split, and Osijek.  
Zagreb-based Channels One and Two are part of the official 
Croatian Radio and Television (HTV) enterprise.  The third, 
OTV-Youth Television, with a signal that reaches only the 
capital district, has an uncertain legal status and operates at 
the sufferance of the Government.  Channel Two's popular, late 
night HTV show, "Frame by Frame," continued to carry interviews 
with major public figures as well as extensive replays of 
Western television coverage of events in the former Yugoslavia.

HTV also began a periodic prime-time program featuring live, 
face-to-face debates between senior government and opposition 
figures, in which some of the most sensitive political issues 
of the day were hotly debated.

There are private local radio stations operating under 
provisional licenses in Croatia, but their legal status is open 
to question in the absence of a national media law.  Croatian 
radio on at least eight occasions refused to broadcast 
informational programs prepared by UNPROFOR.  However, regular, 
lengthy, unedited interviews of senior UNPROFOR figures were 
prominently featured in the government-controlled and 
independent press throughout the year.

Privatization of television and radio was a hotly debated topic 
in 1993 and has yet to be implemented.  A government draft 
broadcast law providing for the allocation of radio and 
television broadcast frequencies to new, private outlets is 
pending in Parliament.

The House of Representatives' Committee for Human Rights and 
National Minorities expressed its dissatisfaction with 
television broadcasts on minorities.  Members of the Committee 
who represent minority groups in Parliament criticized the 
television program for minorities "Prizma," which they 
considered to be unfocused and of no use to minorities.  They 
proposed to Parliament that a minority representative be 
included on the television administration board.  

The Croatian Helsinki Committee in July issued its first 
document about media freedom in Croatia, criticizing the 
Government's policy regarding freedom of the media.  The 
document, presented to the Prime Minister, alleged that higher 
taxes were imposed on private newspapers than on dailies owned 
by persons connected to the Government.  It said that the 
Government's monopoly of distribution, sales, and printing of 
newspapers hindered the development of a pluralistic press and 
was an indirect form of censorship.  For instance, it cited 
different treatment of different papers regarding sales and 
distribution and the lack of access to television advertising 
as methods used to restrict the independence of newspapers.  It 
criticized the Government's failure to change the law that 
establishes the State's monopoly on Croatian radio and 
television and prevents the development of pluralistic private 
electronic media.  It pointed out that the Government violated 
the Information Law, which prohibits a person with immunity 
from charges of libel from being a chief editor, when both the 
chief editor of the daily Vjesnik and the Director General of 
Croatian Television are parliamentarians who are thereby immune 
from libel suits.  Finally, it criticized the Government's 
failure to implement the law calling for democratic 
institutions, such as the constitutionally mandated Court for 
Human Rights and the Council for the Protection of Public 
Information, established by the Information Law passed in April 
1992.  Among its recommendations, the Committee said the 
process of privatizing the dailies Slobodna Dalmacija, Glas 
Slavonije, and Vecernji List and the weekly Danas should be 
reexamined.  It also recommended the establishment of oversight 
and coordination bodies to prevent discrimination, correct 
irregularities, and secure equal treatment for all publications 
on the market.  

In the Serb-controlled areas of the UNPA's, martial law remains 
in effect, and there are no guarantees of press and other 
freedoms.  Radio, television, and newspapers published 
elsewhere in Croatia are available in the Croatian-controlled 
portion of Sector West.  In the Serbian-controlled UNPA areas, 
Serbian papers, usually published in Belgrade, are generally 
available, although the supply is sometimes sporadic.  Lacking 
a functioning civil government, these Serb-controlled UNPA 
areas are effectively under martial law.  There is one small 
paper published weekly or bi-weekly in Serbian in the 
Serb-controlled area of Sector North.  

There are a few low-powered local radio stations broadcasting 
from Serb-held territory in some of the UNPA's, and Croat radio 
and television signals are received in these areas as well.  
The Serbian "TV Krajina," whose studios are in Petrova Gora and 
Knin, broadcast daily.  Two other Serbian mobile studios also 
operate out of Beli Manastir and Plitvice.

Academic freedom is generally respected in Croatia, but ethnic 
considerations reportedly led to some dismissals of academics 
of Serbian nationality.  A recently enacted university reform 
law established a revised curriculum and created a government 
Council for Higher Education.  There is apprehension within the 
academic community about the effects of this measure on faculty 
and programs.  

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides that all citizens shall be guaranteed 
the right to peaceful assembly and association for the 
protection of citizens' interests or the promotion of social, 
economic, political, national, cultural, and other convictions 
and objectives.  Citizens may freely form, join, and leave 
political parties, trade unions, and other associations.  In 
practice, the rights of peaceful assembly and association are 
respected in Croatia.  Permits are required for rallies but are 
granted routinely.

During 1993, political parties, refugee associations, women's 
groups, and others held peaceful rallies and demonstrations 
without hindrance or incident.  These rights are also granted 
to other citizens, including members of the Serbian and Muslim 
communities.  In Serb-controlled areas, however, these rights 
are not respected.  

     c.  Freedom of Religion

There is no state religion.  The Constitution guarantees 
freedom of conscience and religion and free public profession 
of religious and other convictions.  All religious communities 
are equal before the law and separate from the State.  
Religious communities are free to conduct public services and 
to open and run schools and social and charitable institutions.

Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and Islam are 
the main faiths in Croatia.  The majority of practicing Croats 
are Roman Catholic.  The Government provides an option of 
Catholic religious education in schools.  There is also an 
active Jewish community in Croatia.  The main mosque in Croatia 
is located in Zagreb, where it serves not only as a religious 
center but also as a social aid office.  There are no formal 
restrictions on religious groups.  Croatian Protestants from a 
number of denominations as well as foreign clergy actively 
practice and proselytize in the country.

Religion was so closely identified with ethnicity that 
religious institutions continued to be targeted.  An Orthodox 
Church in Osijek was damaged by an explosion.  The regional 
governor immediately deplored the attack and promised state 
financial assistance to repair the damages.  The Serbian 
Orthodox cathedral in downtown Zagreb remained open, and 
several other Orthodox churches and monasteries operated freely 
in government-controlled northern Croatia.  Although the 
majority of the Orthodox clergy left at the start of the war in 
1991, a few Orthodox priests, most of them retired, remained to 
carry out religious duties.  

Most Catholic churches in the Serbian-controlled UNPA's have 
been destroyed.  On December 24, the unoccupied residence of 
the Serbian Orthdox Eparchy in Karlovac was blown up.  The act 
was immediately condemned by Cardinal Kuharic, the Croatian 
Government, and the public.  The identity of the perpetrators 
is unknown.  An investigation continued at year's end.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Constitution states that anyone who is lawfully in Croatia 
has the right freely to move and choose a residence.  Citizens 
have the right to travel abroad, to emigrate, and to return 
home.  The right to enter or leave the country may be legally 
restricted under exceptional circumstances, if necessary to 
protect the legal order, health, rights, or freedom of others.  

There are restrictions on freedom of movement for all 
journalists and all male citizens from age 18 through 55, in 
the cities and areas close to the demarcation lines (Osijek, 
Karlovac, Zadar, and Sisak).  The press has reported on such 
restrictions.  Journalists, as well as other individuals, must 
request permission to enter the conflict zones.  All males of 
draft age must also request permission from the local 
municipality draft board to travel abroad.

The Government imposed no significant restrictions on the 
movement of refugees, displaced persons, or national minorities 
already resident in Croatia, although there were several 
confirmed instances of refoulement of Muslim refugees.  
Regulations imposed in 1992 limiting the admission of new 
Bosnian Muslim refugees to those with assured passage to third 
countries remained technically in effect.  In practice, 
however, large numbers of new refugees from Bosnia, both Croat 
and Muslim, entered and remained in Croatia in 1993.

As of October, according to government figures, there were 
about 246,000 displaced Croats in Croatia and about 278,000 
refugees from Bosnia, of whom about 190,000 were Muslim and the 
rest ethnic Croats.  Together, the refugees and the displaced 
persons number about 520,000, of which 80 percent, 
approximately 410,000, were lodged in private homes, and 20 
percent, about 110,000, were in collective facilities such as 
camps, resort hotels, old army barracks, and schools.  On the 
average, each day an additional 100 displaced persons and 
refugees are added, a slight majority of whom are Muslims and 
the rest Croats.  An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Bosnian Muslim 
refugees were not registered with the Croatian authorities; 
they were mostly men of draft age.  

There were incidents of harassment and abuse, including 
clandestine deportations by Croatian police into HVO hands, and 
bombings of Muslim refugee centers, although these rarely 
resulted in significant damage.  There were allegations that 
the police and other Croatian authorities frequently refused to 
register newly arrived Muslim refugees from Bosnia and 

To refurbish some tourist hotels in Dalmatia which had housed 
Bosnian Muslim refugees for nearly a year, the Government 
offered some 2,000 of these refugees either settlement in third 
countries or relocation to facilities elsewhere in Croatia.  
According to U.N. observers, many refugees were not happy at 
having to leave the hotels, although there were no recorded 
instances of forcible eviction.  Some of them resettled abroad, 
alleging that their departure from Croatia had not been 
voluntary.  U.N. officials indicated that none of these 
refugees were forced to depart Croatia.

The Government's treatment of Muslim refugees and other Muslims 
temporarily resident in Croatia became an issue as a result of 
a government investigation and raid on certain Middle Eastern 
relief agencies in Croatia in August.  The police discovered 
evidence that some persons were involved in activities 
incompatible with their aid work status.  This investigation 
led to the deportation of scores of Bosnian and other Muslims, 
which ended after the Government was criticized for illegally 
deporting refugees.

On July 29, the field staff of the U.N. Special Rapporteur 
received reports that Bosnian refugees in Zagreb, Samobor, 
Split, Pula, Varazdin, and the island of Obonjan were being 
expelled from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Some 1,500 
refugees were arrested in camps around the country towards the 
end of July.  Almost 500 were detained for alleged criminal 
activity, and 120 were deported to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 
contravention of refugee conventions and commitments made by 
the Government to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.  In 
one verified case, the civilian police arrested a large number 
of refugees in Zagreb.  The Croatian authorities explained that 
they were conducting a police operation against "illegal" 
refugees without documents.  However, most of those arrested 
had been previously registered by the Croatian authorities, 
while others had appropriate UNHCR documents.  Fifty-two 
refugees were taken to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina 
where they were handed over to the Bosnian Croat (HVO) military 
police and detained.  The detainees, who were predominantly 
Muslim, were told that they would be exchanged for Croats 
detained by Bosnian government forces.  There were reports of 
abuse and torture in the detention center, as well as dangerous 
labor on the front lines.

There continued to be isolated incidents of individual 
expulsions by the Croatian police, especially in the area 
adjacent to Herzegovina.  For instance, on August 28, a Bosnian 
Muslim was reportedly arrested by Croatian police in Trogir and 
handed over to the HVO military police, although his documents 
were in order.  In general, however, the Government stopped 
repatriating refugees after the UNHCR and foreign governments, 
including that of the United States, publicly protested such 

In the UNPA's, Serbian threats against the remaining non-Serb 
population have produced a de facto coercive control situation 
for those people.  Practices in the UNPA's include strict 
curfews, prohibition on the movement of clergy, strict limits 
on travel between towns and the front lines, and forced 

Despite the establishment of UNPA's in March 1992, the goals of 
the Vance Plan were still not met by the end of 1993.  Hostile 
Serbian elements, sustained by links with the Serbian 
Government in Belgrade, still control over one-fourth of 

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Croatia held multiparty presidential and parliamentary 
elections on August 2, 1992.  The Croatian Democratic Union 
(HDZ) of incumbent President Dr. Franjo Tudjman won decisively, 
and he was returned for a 5-year term.  The President exercises 
considerable power, authority, and influence but 
constitutionally is limited to two terms.  In April President 
Tudjman appointed a new Prime Minister, Nikica Valentic, the 
fifth since the spring of 1990.

In elections for the second chamber of the Parliament (the 
House of Zupanije or Parishes), held in February, the HDZ again 
won a majority of the seats, and five other parties also won 
seats.  These elections were generally regarded as free and 
fair.  Serbian "authorities" in the UNPA's refused to allow 
residents to participate in these elections, just as they had 
in the August 1992 balloting.   

"RSK" authorities held elections in the UNPA's in December 
which neither UNPROFOR nor any other international body has 
recognized as legitimate.  There were no international or other 
unbiased observers present, making it difficult to judge the 
degree of freedom in these elections or the presence of fraud.  
In the key December race for the "RSK" presidency," no 
candidate reportedly won more than 50 percent of the vote, so 
runoff elections were scheduled for January 23, 1994.

There are no legal restrictions on participation by women or 
minorities in the political process, but they are represented 
in small numbers in Parliament, the executive branch, and the 
courts.  Six women hold seats in Parliament, including one who 
serves as a vice president of the House of Representatives and 
two others who lead opposition parties.  

The federal election law provides for representation of all 
minorities in Parliament, with proportional representation 
guaranteed for any minority that makes up more than 8 percent 
of the population.  The Federal Election Commission designated 
13 Serbs to "represent" the Serbian minority, who comprise 11 
percent of the population.  Eight of those 10 were elected as 
members of the Croatian People's Party.  The remaining three 
parliamentarians were members of the Serbian National Party, 
which was constituted to promote the particular interests of 
Croatia's Serbs.  

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Peace groups in Zagreb, Rijeka, and Osijek worked to prevent 
forcible evictions and other human rights abuses in their 
respective localities and brought their concerns to the 
attention of the local and national authorities.  Similar human 
rights groups in Split, however, were harassed and intimidated 
by local extremists, and some of their members had their 
personal property vandalized or destroyed.  A Croatian Helsinki 
Committee was formed in 1993, and its members met on several 
occasions with government officials to discuss human rights 
concerns.  The Serbian Democratic Forum in Zagreb and its 
affiliate in Rijeka continued to document violations of human 
rights against Serbs in Croatia.  Other local human rights 
nongovernmental organizations include, for example, the Human 
Rights Committee of the Union of Serbs in Croatia.  Both the 
Serbian National Party (SNS) and the Social Democratic Union 
(SDU) have human rights committees.  All these have been 
publicly and vociferously critical of the Government on 
occasion, for example, on the subject of alleged ethnic 
discrimination in the assignment of housing, as well as in 
other areas where they felt human or civil rights were not 
fully observed.

Senior government officials, including the President, have met 
with international human rights experts and the local Helsinki 
human rights group.  The Government cooperated in the 
excavation of suspected mass graves of Serbian victims of 
atrocities and in discussions of the treatment of Muslim 
refugees in Croatia.  The Parliament's Human Rights Committee 
also actively considered human rights and other social issues.  
The Committee Chairman has defined the Committee's role as that 
of "analyzing legislative proposals for their democratic 
content before they are presented for legislative approval."  
The Committee, for example, was instrumental in building into 
the new law on registration of political parties criteria 
demanding that any new groups seeking registration show they 
are founded on "democratic values."  It has also examined in 
detail allegations that evictions from state-owned housing were 
based on ethnic considerations.  The Chairman also told the 
press earlier in 1993 that, like the UNHRC itself, his 
committee's mandate did not extend to consideration of 
individual cases of alleged human rights abuse, although, he 
said, more than 300 requests for such investigations had 
reached the Committee since its founding in November 1992.

Serbian "authorities" in the UNPA's continued to obstruct 
investigations into alleged violations of human rights by their 
forces.  In one egregious incident, Serbs prevented the 
excavation of the suspected mass grave at Ovcara by a team of 
United Nations experts.

When refugees were arbitrarily arrested and held for 
repatriation during the summer, U.N. officials were initially 
denied access to those arrested (see Section 2.d.)  

In areas where fighting or military operations were taking 
place, both Croatian and Serbian forces denied access to 
international observers, although the field staff of the 
Special Rapporteur was able to monitor human rights violations 
both in areas under Croatian government control and those 
controlled by the Serbs.  

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution specifies that all citizens shall enjoy all 
rights and freedoms, regardless of race, color, sex, language, 
religion, political or other opinion, national or social 
origin, property, birth, education, social status, or other 
attributes.  It adds that members of all nations and minorities 
shall have equal rights in Croatia.  One article provides for 
special "wartime measures" but states that restrictions shall 
be appropriate to the nature of the danger and may not result 
in the inequality of citizens in respect of race, color, sex, 
language, religion, or national or social origin.  


Violence against women reportedly increased in 1993.  In 
general, it was part of the larger picture of increasing 
societal and family tensions as a result of economic 
disruptions and the unsettling effect of the continued conflict 
in occupied areas of Croatia.  Women (and children) were 
especially subjected to violence at the hands of men, including 
demobilized soldiers, acting out their frustrations and 
stresses.  Womens' groups, however, are devoting more attention 
to this issue, but there are social inhibitions against making 
"family" issues a subject for the courts.  

A center for the psychological and medical care of abused women 
was founded in Varazdin for 30 women and their families.  A 
similar center was scheduled to be opened in Makarska, 
Dalmatia.  A center for urgent psychiatric and medical aid for 
the victims of abuse was opened in Zagreb's Medvescak Medical 
Center and includes a 24-hour "hot line" which reportedly is 
well used.  The French humanitarian organization "Medecins du 
Monde" will also finance a program in Croatia for abused 
mothers and their children.  

The Croatian health service reportedly has established new, 
special protocols to insure comprehensive and effective 
treatment of female victims of rape, spousal abuse or other 
violence which apply both to hospitals and to outpatient 
clinics throughout the Republic.  There are a number of other 
centers and programs offering psychological and medical care 
for abused women and others who have been traumatized or 
tortured in the course of the war, offered both by local 
institutions, voluntary agencies, and international 
organizations.  The list of agencies that are part of a working 
group for social services and psychosocial services for those 
affected by the war has some 48 entries, including the "Society 
for Psychological Assistance," "Women's Help Now," 
"Evangelische Frauenarbeit," "The Center for Women War 
Victims," "Marie Stopes International," and "Biser."  In 
November Tresnjevka opened its center to assist abused women.

Women do not face legal barriers or discrimination in 
inheritance, marriage, family laws, and property rights.

Gender-based support groups are relatively new, but Zagreb and 
several other large cities have started family crisis 
associations.  An association of the "Women of Vukovar," who 
have missing relatives from the war in the east, and "Mothers 
for Peace" are active and operate without hindrance.  

Spousal abuse is present in Croatian society and is a subject 
of considerable public interest, freely discussed.  One of the 
more popular late-night call-in radio programs here, for 
example, frequently features abused spouses (or their 
neighbors) calling in to present their problems.  Local 
newspapers in late 1993 reported in detail the case of the wife 
of one of President Tudjman's physicians, who divorced her 
husband following a beating so severe that several of her ribs 
were broken.  The police reportedly respond willingly to calls 
from neighbors regarding domestic disputes, for example if the 
neighbors indicate the likelihood that physical harm will 
occur.  A well-established procedure for prosecuting cases of 
spousal abuse exists and is apparently effectively used, with 
the usual result being payment of large damages by the abusing 

Educational and job opportunities are generally available 
without regard to sex.  Mothers are entitled to special 
protection at work.  "Special protection" means employed 
mothers whose children become ill may, upon presentation of a 
doctor's certificate to that effect, take paid leave (not 
counted against their own vacation time) to care for the sick 
child.  Working mothers receive 180 days of paid leave after 
the birth of a child and may take up to an additional 30 months 
of unpaid leave without jeopardy to their employment.  Pregnant 
women, mothers of handicapped children, and nursing mothers 
cannot be transferred to other work without their consent.  
Mothers of handicapped children also have the right to work 
only half-time (at half-pay, however) without jeopardizing 
their employment.  All these provisions are well established, 
accepted by employers, and routinely observed.


There is no documented pattern of societal abuse or 
discrimination against children.  Schools provide free meals 
for children.  Day nurseries are available in most communitites 
even for infants and, while their primary purpose is to support 
working single-parent mothers, they also provide an early 
education and societal base for the children.  Medical care for 
children is free, as are prescription medications.  They 
receive obligatory periodic medical examinations without 
charge.  Children younger than 15 years are prohibited from 
employment and, as noted in Section 6.d., safeguards apply to 
the employment of children above that age.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Other sections of this report address serious human rights 
abuses suffered by persons based on their nationality, 
including cases of government abuse of ethnic Serbs.  

Constitutionally, Croatian Serbs enjoyed the same protection as 
other self-identified ethnic groups in the country.  In 
practice, however, there continued to be ever-present, subtle, 
and sometimes open discrimination against Serbs in such areas 
as the administration of justice, employment, housing, and the 
free exercise of their cultural rights.  

The U.N. Special Rapporteur received several reports of the 
killing of Serbs and allegations that the Croatian authorities 
failed to conduct a proper investigation or to prosecute those 
responsible.  For instance, it was reported that an elderly 
Serb woman was murdered and mutilated in her apartment in Sisak 
on July 30.  The police did not conduct a full investigation 
nor inform the family of any results.  The neighbors of the 
victim were afraid to disclose information about the identity 
of the perpetrators, especially after the police approached 
them.  There are credible reports of organized Croatian gangs, 
such as the so-called Black Legions, which single out Serbian 
civilians for criminal attacks.  

Government sources report criminal proceedings were initiated 
against 126 persons of Croatian ethnic origin, 13 ethnic Serbs, 
and 8 persons from othe ethnic groups.  Nevertheless, the 
Special Rapporteur stated that the authorities have not 
demonstrated a serious willingness to suppress such acts.  

In 1993  the police force was made up almost exclusively of 
ethnic Croats.  The vast majority of cases involving violence 
against Serbs and mistreatment of Serbian prisoners went 
unpunished.  Meanwhile, the Government filed thousands of 
criminal charges against Serbs accused of "war crimes."  

The founder of the Serbian National Party, Milan Dukic, claimed 
that one of the main problems was that the Croatian and Serbian 
communities saw each other in terms of negative stereotypes 
fostered by media and nationalists on both sides.  

Criticism continued of the Government's performance in issuing 
citizenship papers, new passports, and residence permits.  The 
Interior Minister insisted that there had been no 
discrimination based on nationality in the processing of 
550,000 applications for Croatian citizenship.  However, many 
who are not ethnic Croats felt that the delay in processing 
their cases or the refusal to grant them citizenship was due to 
discrimination.  There were credible reports that citizenship 
applications of persons not born in Croatia, or who held 
significant positions in such federal institutions as the JNA, 
were occasionally delayed or refused for reasons of 
nationality.  Foreigners and stateless persons may obtain 
asylum, unless it is sought in connection with the commission 
of criminal offenses or violations of international law.  

Article 30 of the Law on Citizenship defines a "Croatian 
citizen" as "a person who has acquired this status according to 
the laws valid until the taking effect of this Law."  The 
previous laws on citizenship, valid when Croatia was part of 
the SFRY, provided for "republic citizenship" of the "Socialist 
Republic of Croatia," but, according to the U.N. Special 
Rapporteur, republic citizenship within the SFRY was 
essentially symbolic and had little or no legal effect.  SFRY 
law provided that Yugoslav citizens enjoyed the same rights and 
duties throughout the republics, without regard to republic in 
which they had citizenship.  Furthermore. republic citizenship 
did not necessarily coincide with the republic in which an 
individual was born or enjoyed permanent residence, even if 
that person had always been domiciled in the republic.  

Thus, the Croatian Law on Citizenship had the effect of 
arbitrarily relegating to the status of aliens all those SFRY 
citizens who enjoyed lawful residence in the Socialist Republic 
of Croatia but who did not enjoy Croatian republic 
citizenship.  An exception was made, however, for those deemed 
to be members of the "Croatian people."  Such ethnic Croats who 
were not Croatian citizens under the SFRY laws would be 
accorded Croatian citizenship if they submitted a written 
statement that they considered themselves Croatian citizens.  
This exemption was available not only for Croats who had 
registered places of residence in Croatia but also for members 
of the "Croatian people" who did not have a place of residence 
in the Republic of Croatia or did not have previous SFRY 
citizenship.  Those who do not belong to the "Croatian people" 
must satisfy more stringent requirements through naturalization 
in order to obtain citizenship, even if they previously were 
lawful residents as SFRY citizens in Croatia.  

According to government sources, as of May 12, citizenship had 
been denied to 12,708 applicants, 7,500 of whom were ethnic 
Serbs.  The U.N. Special Rapporteur reported several cases of 
procedural obstruction in which the relevant authorities 
refused even to consider applications, almost always on the 
basis of the ethnic origin of the applicant.  Another cause for 
concern related by the Special Rapporteur was that, while an 
application for citizenship is pending, the applicant is 
considered an alien, even if that person previously enjoyed 
lawful residence in Croatia as a SFRY citizen, and is 
consequently denied rights such as social allowances, including 
medical care, pensions, free education, and employment in the 
civil service.  In practice, since the applicatuon procedure 
may take a considerable time, many applicants have been forced 
to leave Croatia because of financial pressure.  

The leader of the Serbian National Party complained that 
citizenship documents were not being granted as quickly to 
Serbs as to others.  He also alleged that 200 Serbs who worked 
in the Zagreb city administration were fired in 1 day under the 
pretext of "rationalization."  

A delegation of Gypsies complained that local shops 
discriminated against them, some snack bars refused to serve 
them, and the police did not adequately investigate their 
complaints.  The Stranke Roma Hrvatske (Croatian Gypsy Party) 
in Zagreb reports there are currently about 120,000 persons 
officially registered as Gypsies who are resident in Croatia 
but say the actual figure for Gypsy residents is probably 
closer to 250,000 to 300,000 because "many simply do not bother 
to register."  They say there is a "large" number of Bosnian 
Gypsy refugees in Croatia, but the numbers are very difficult 
to estimate since the Gypsy population is so fluid.  A great 
many Bosnian refugee Gypsies, for example, have continued to 
move onward to relatives in Hungary, Romania, or elsewhere.

     Religious Minorities

Serious human rights abuses perpetrated against Muslims are 
addressed in other sections of this report.

According to the 1991 census, 43,469 persons, 0.9 percent of 
the population of Croatia, identified themselvesd as Muslims.  
The largest concentrations were in Zagreb, where the 13,100 
Muslims comprised 1.4 percent of the population, and in Rijeka, 
where 13,340 Muslims comprised 2.3 percent of the population.  
The largest percentage was in Dubrovnik, where 2,866 Muslims 
comprised 4 percent of the population.  The massive influx of 
refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina into Croatia since the war 
significantly increased the number of Muslims.  

Since the intensification of hostilities between Bosnian Croat 
and Bosnian government forces in April, the Croatian media 
regularly refer to Muslims as "aggressors."  Coverage of 
atrocities committed in the conflict between the two groups 
appeared to be selective and one-sided, with little regard for 
the truth.  At the same time, incidents of discrimination and 
violence against Muslims in Croatia were rarely reported in the 

On the Dalmatian coast, Muslim clerics and others in a position 
of authority were repeatedly harassed and threatened by local 
police and other authorities.  In Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb, 
as well as other areas, shops and homes belonging to Muslims 
were reportedly damaged or destroyed, with little police 

There were reports that many Muslims were denied citizenship, 
although they were either born in Croatia or had lawful 
residence there for several years.  In the villages of Rajevo 
Selo and Gunja near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
almost 200 Muslims were reportedly denied citizenship.  The 
United Nations verified many cases in which some members of a 
family were arbitrarily denied citizenship while others were 

     People with Disabilities

People with disabilities face few legal discriminatory 
measures.  Education and job opportunites generally are 
available to them  The serious war-related injuries of 
increasing numbers of combat veterans have attracted growing 
attention to their needs.  Although no specific legislation has 
mandated accessibility for the handicapped, there is a growing 
social awareness of this issue.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

All workers, except military and police personnel, are entitled 
to form or join unions of their own choosing without prior 
authorization.  There is an active labor movement in Croatia 
with three national labor federations and independent 
associations of both blue-collar and white-collar members.  In 
general, unions are independent of the Government and political 

The right to strike is guaranteed in the Constitution and is 
limited only in the armed forces, police, government 
administration, and public services.  Strikes by railroad 
workers, teachers, textile workers, and others occurred with 
increasing frequency during 1993, largely over the repeated 
failure of government-owned or government-run institutions or 
industries to pay wages on time.  For example, railroad workers 
received paychecks from 1 to 2 weeks late throughout the year.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Collective bargaining is protected by law and practiced freely 
in Croatia.  Because of the inflation problem and in reaction 
to newly introduced government austerity measures, the major 
public service unions found themselves engaged throughout 1993 
in lengthy negotiations with the Government over wages and job 
security.  Like fellow unionists, the federations found that 
the Government was regularly late in meeting its payroll and in 
ensuring payment of minimum wages.

Many Croatian enterprises remain "socially owned," a condition 
of blurred ownership and managerial responsibilities which is a 
legacy of Socialist Yugoslavia.  In the current transition to 
privatization and a free market economy, the unions are under 
pressure due to job losses, general unemployment in a weakened 
economy, and their own struggle to become genuine free trade 

There is no formal body of law or practice dealing directly 
with antiunion discrimination issues.

There are no export processing zones in Croatia.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory work is constitutionally forbidden.  There 
were no documented instances of coerced or forced labor.  The 
Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare is the agency charged with 
enforcing the constitutional ban on coerced or forced labor.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for youth employment is 15 and is enforced by 
the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.  Under the 
Constitution, children may not be employed before reaching the 
legally determined age, nor may they be forced or allowed to do 
work that is harmful to their health or morality.  Workers 
under 18 are entitled to special protection at work and are 
prohibited from heavy manual labor.  Education is mandatory up 
to age 14.  

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There are national minimum wage standards.  Public service 
unions are pacesetters for the rest of the work force, and they 
were in the forefront of continued efforts to encourage the 
Government to honor its commitments.  The current minimum gross 
monthly wage in Croatia in December was roughly $96 (635,910 
dinars).  National regulations provide for a 42-hour workweek, 
overtime pay, a half-hour daily break, and a minimum of 18 days 
of paid vacation annually.  It is standard practice to provide 
a 24-hour rest period during the workweek.

Health and safety standards are set by the Government and 
enforced by the Ministry of Health.  In practice, industries 
are not diligent in meeting standards for worker protection.

[end of document]


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