15 JANUARY 1996 - 15 JANUARY 1998

The United Nations Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium was established on 15 January 1996 by the United Nations Security Council in its resolution 1037 (1996). The Council took this action after the Basic Agreement on the Region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium had come into force. The Basic Agreement was concluded between the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the local Croatian Serb authorities in Eastern Slavonia and was signed on 12 November 1995 . It requested the Security Council to set up a transitional administration to govern the Region for an initial period of 12 months, which could be extended to two years at the request of one of the parties. The transitional administration was to help reintegrate the Region peacefully into Croatia 's legal and constitutional system.

15 January 1996
Security Council resolution 1037 (1996) reaffirms that Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium are integral parts of the Republic of Croatia and stresses the importance of full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in those territories. The Council sets up UNTAES for an initial period of 12 months and requests the Secretary-General to appoint a Transitional Administrator with overall authority over the mission's civilian and military components. The Council also decides that the demilitarization of the Region should be completed within 30 days from the date the Secretary-General informs the Council that the military component of UNTAES, consisting of 5,000 troops, is deployed and operative.

17 January 1996
The Security Council approves the Secretary-General's appointment of Mr. Jacques Paul Klein ( United States ) as Transitional Administrator.

31 January 1996
In its resolution 1043 (1996), the Security Council authorizes the deployment of 100 military observers.

1 March 1996
The Secretary-General appoints Major-General Jozef Schoups ( Belgium ) as Force Commander of UNTAES.

May 1996
UNTAES initiates and facilitates significant initiatives towards economic development of the Region. Among these are: reopening of the Zagreb-Belgrade highway (7 May); reconnection of the Adriatic Oil Pipeline between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (7 May); turn-over to UNTAES of the Djelatovci Oil fields by the Scorpion paramilitary unit (14 May); reconnection of telephone lines between Osijek and Beli Manastir (as of 21 May); support in preventing the illegal removal of resources from the Region, including the interdiction of the transport of illegally cut timber by train.

20 May 1996
UNTAES is fully deployed. As of 31 May 1996 , total strength stands at 5,349 uniformed personnel, consisting of 4,849 troops, 99 military observers and 401 civilian police.

21 May 1996
The Transitional Administrator announces that the demilitarization of the region is to commence at 1200hrs local time.

20 June 1996
The demilitarization process is successfully concluded. All heavy weapons belonging to the local Serbs are removed from the region or handed over to UNTAES for disposal.

27 June 1996
UNTAES Force Commander Schoups, General Loncar of the Krajina Serb Army (ARSK) and General Decak of the Croatian Army certify the completion of the demilitarization process. Between March and June 1996, UNTAES monitors the removal of 93 tanks, 11 armoured personnel carriers, 35 anti-tank systems, 107 artillery pieces, 123 mortars and 42 anti-aircraft guns. On 26 August, General Schoups will state that "the single existing military organization in the region is the UNTAES military component. There are no military threats." He will also note remarkable progress in opening up Eastern Slavonia due to successful demining.

August 1996
UNTAES sets up an open-air meeting area and marketplace on the road between Osijek and Klisa for family reunions and commerce.

1 September 1996
Exhumation of the mass grave site at Ovcara begins, in close cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and under UNTAES guard.

20 September 1996
The Security Council welcomes the Croatian Government's passage on 20 September of the amnesty law and emphasizes that the law must be implemented without delay in a fair and equitable manner, with full respect for the rights of the individual.

2 October 1996
Weapons buy-back programme begins. The programme is financed by the Government of Croatia and organized by the UNTAES military component.

15 November 1996
By its resolution 1079 (1996), the Security Council extends the UNTAES mandate for six months through 15 July 1997.

29 November 1996
The United Nations launches its Consolidated Interagency Appeal for Bosnia and Herzegovina , Croatia , the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia . Most of the $60 million requested for humanitarian projects in Croatia is earmarked for Eastern Slavonia .

23 January 1997
The Secretary-General appoints Major-General William Hanset ( Belgium ) to succeed Major-General Schoups as Force Commander of UNTAES .

24 February 1997
The Secretary-General reports to the Security Council that the weapons buy-back programme has collected over 15,000 weapons and 435,000 rounds of ammunition since its inception on 2 October 1996.

14 March 1997
UNTAES hosts a Donors' Meeting in Zagreb, attended by some 200 representatives of Governments, NGOs and international organizations, as well as the Croatian Government and local authorities. The Meeting raises $21.8 million.

19 March 1997
The Security Council expresses concern at too little progress regarding the return of Croatian Serb displaced persons and refugees. The Council calls upon the Government of Croatia to accelerate its efforts to improve conditions of personal and economic security, to remove bureaucratic obstacles to the rapid issuance of documentation to all Serb families and to resolve promptly property issues. It also calls upon Croatia to resolve uncertainty about the implementation of the amnesty law, and to put an end to arbitrary arrests, particularly of Serbs returning to Croatia.

13-14 April 1997
UNTAES conducts elections in the region, marking the first time since the beginning of the conflict that the local population has legitimate representation in the Croatian constitutional and legal system. Over 150 UNTAES observers are deployed to all polling stations as static monitors. Voter turnout exceeds expectations, with over 72,000 votes cast. No security incidents or evidence of notable fraud are recorded. The newly formed Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) will win an absolute majority in 11 of the 28 municipalities. The Transitional Administrator will certify the elections on 22 April, and the results will be accepted by all major parties.

27 June 1997
ICTY agents, assisted by UNTAES, arrest Slavko Dokmanovic, indicted by ICTY on 26 March 1996 as a war criminal. He is transported to The Hague .

11 July 1997
Security Council resolution 1120 (1997) extends the mandate of UNTAES until 15 January 1998 and endorses the plan for the gradual devolution of executive responsibility for civil administration in the region. The Council also endorses the plan for restructuring UNTAES and for a drawdown of the UNTAES military component by 15 October 1997.

1 August 1997
The Secretary-General appoints William Walker (United States) to succeed Jacques Paul Klein as Transitional Administrator.

31 August 1997
UNTAES completes the first phase of its drawdown; force strength now stands at 2,385 troops, 412 civilian police and 101 military observers.

2 October 1997
The Secretary-General reports to the Security Council that approximately 146,000 citizenship documents, 130,000 Croatian identity cards and 126,000 passports have been issued. Between April and October 1997, over 5,200 Serbs have returned to their homes in Croatia . Of that number, 965 have returned using the weekly convoys organized since July by UNTAES, UNHCR and the Croatian Office for Displaced Persons and Refugees (ODPR). The Secretary-General also reports that UNTAES military engineers and the mine action centre have demined more than 150 kilometers of railroad, 75 kilometers of high-voltage lines and 10 villages.

15 November 1997
UNTAES completes phase two of the draw-down, leaving in the region fewer than 800 UNTAES military personnel.

4 December 1997
The Secretary-General reported to the Council on 4 December 1997 that there was consensus between the Government of Croatia, local Serbs and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that: (1) UNTAES had successfully achieved its basic objectives and completed the tasks within its power; but that (2) full implementation of Croatian commitments remained incomplete. According to the Secretary-General, the Croatian Government's major effort in October and November 1997 to meet those commitments and reassure its citizens should be the baseline from which additional efforts are made.

Major milestones included the completion of demilitarization on 20 June 1996 , the establishment of a Transitional Police Force on 1 July 1996 ; the holding of local and regional elections on 13 and 14 April 1997 ; and the return to their original homes, in the latter part of 1997, of some 6,000 Croats and 9,000 Serbs. Furthermore, within the UNTAES area, there was no large outflow of new refugees from the Region, and reintegration was peaceful. In addition, close cooperation with the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia resulted in the exhumation of the Ovcara mass grave site and the arrest of an indicted war criminal. Reviewing the two years of the UNTAES mandate, the Secretary-General saw the success of UNTAES in the entire reintegration process as a positive precedent for peace throughout the former Yugoslavia . UNTAES provided the necessary stability to enable Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to normalize their relations, enter into increasingly cooperative bilateral agreements and re-establish normal commercial and traffic links between them. UNTAES also ensured that developments in its area did not have a negative effect on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

19 December 1997
The Security Council expressed its continued full support for UNTAES as the mandate neared its close on 15 January 1998 . By its resolution 1145 (1997) of 19 December, the Council also expressed its deep appreciation to the Transitional Administrators for their leadership of the efforts of the United Nations in promoting peace, stability, and democracy in the region, and to the civilian and military personnel of UNTAES for their dedication and achievement in facilitating the peaceful reintegration of the region into the Republic of Croatia.

At the same time, the Council reiterated the continuing obligation, under the Basic Agreement, of the Government of Croatia to respect the highest standards of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and reaffirmed the right of all refugees and displaced persons originating from Croatia to return to their homes of origin.

The Council then established, with effect from 16 January 1998, a support group of 180 civilian police monitors for a single period of up to nine months to continue monitoring the performance of the Croatian police in the Danube region, particularly in connection with the return of displaced persons.

15 January 1998
UNTAES concludes its mandate on 15 January 1998, having accomplished its key objective of peacefully reintegrating Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium into Croatia within the prescribed time frame of two years.


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