22 May 1996


Press Release
SC/6222



SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON CROATIAN GOVERNMENT AND LOCAL SERBS TO COMPLY WITH 1995 AGREEMENT ON EASTERN SLAVONIA, BARANJA, WESTERN SIRMIUM

19960522
Demilitarization Begins on 21 May; Presidential Statement Calls for Cooperation with UNTAES

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

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

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

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

A letter dated 20 May from the Permanent Representative of Croatia (document S/1996/357) informed the Council that Croatia had adopted a law granting amnesty to all persons who committed crimes between 17 August 1990


Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6222 3666th Meeting (PM) 22 May 1996

and 1 June 1996 in the territory currently under the temporary administration of UNTAES. The act excludes those persons suspected of violations of international humanitarian law.

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

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

The meeting, which began at 1:15 p.m., was adjourned at 1:22 p.m.

Text of Presidential Statement

The full text of the statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1996/26, reads as follows:

"The Security Council has considered the letter of the Secretary-General to its President of 20 May 1996 (S/1996/363) in which he informed the Council of the assessment of the Transitional Administrator that the military component of the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) had been deployed and was ready to undertake its mission of demilitarization of the Region. That mission of demilitarization began on 21 May 1996.

"The Security Council calls upon the parties to comply strictly with their obligations under the basic Agreement of 12 November 1995 on the Region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (S/1995/951, annex) and to cooperate fully with UNTAES. It stresses that they must refrain from any unilateral action which could hinder the implementation of the Basic Agreement including the process of demilitarization.


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"The Security Council reminds the parties that the successful implementation of the Basic Agreement requires the respect by them of the highest level of internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. It calls upon the parties to continue to cooperate with UNTAES in adopting confidence-building measures to promote an environment of mutual trust.

"The Security Council calls upon the Government of the Republic of Croatia to grant amnesty to all persons who, either voluntarily or by coercion, served in the civil administration, military or police fores of the local authorities in the former United Nations Protected Areas with the exception of those who committed war crimes as defined in international law. It notes that the law on amnesty recently passed in the Republic of Croatia is a step in this direction. The Council calls upon the Government of the Republic of Croatia to make this amnesty comprehensive as soon as possible and stresses the importance such a measure would have for maintaining public confidence and stability during the demilitarization and demobilization process.

"The Security Council underlines the key importance of attention to the need for economic reconstruction and rehabilitation of the region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium and encourages Member States to contribute to this end.

"The Security Council will remain seized of them matter and requests the Secretary-General to keep it regularly informed of developments in the situation."

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