United Nations

A/50/648


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

18 October 1995

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 92


THE SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES OF CROATIA

Report of the Secretary-General


I.  INTRODUCTION

1.  The  present report is  submitted pursuant  to paragraph  11 of  General
Assembly resolution 49/43 of 9 December 1994.

2.  By that resolution, the General Assembly inter alia:

  "1.   Expresses its  commitment to ensure respect  for the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of the Republic of Croatia;

  "2.   Calls upon all parties,  and in particular  the Federal Republic  of
Yugoslavia  (Serbia  and  Montenegro), to  comply  fully  with all  Security
Council  resolutions regarding  the  situation  in Croatia,  and to  respect
strictly its territorial integrity, and in  this regard concludes that their
activities aimed  at achieving the integration  of the occupied  territories
of  Croatia into  the administrative, military,  educational, transportation
and communication structure  of the  Federal Republic of Yugoslavia  (Serbia
and Montenegro) are illegal, null and void and must cease immediately;

  "3.  Requests the Federal Republic  of Yugoslavia (Serbia and  Montenegro)
to  cease  immediately  any  military  and  logistic  support  to  the self-
proclaimed authorities in the Serbian-controlled parts of Croatia;

  "4.   Strongly  condemns the  Serbian self-proclaimed  authorities in  the
Serbian-controlled territories  of Croatia for  their military actions  that
have  resulted in ethnic  cleansing of  the United  Nations Protected Areas,
and for their constant refusal to  comply with the relevant Security Council
resolutions;




95-31481 (E)   191095/...
*9531481*
    "5.   Reaffirms its  support for the  principle that  all statements  of
commitments in  the Serbian-controlled parts  of Croatia  made under duress,

particularly those regarding land and property, are wholly null and void;

  "6.  Reaffirms the  right of all refugees  and displaced persons  from the
area of the  former Yugoslavia to return  voluntarily to their homes  safely
and with  dignity, with the assistance  of the  international community, and
in this  regard, notes that  the 1991  census is the basis  for defining the
population structure of the Republic of Croatia;

  "7.  Urges the restoration of the  authority of the Republic of Croatia in
its  entire territory  and  urges also  the  utmost respect  for  human  and
minority  rights  in  the  territory  of  Croatia,  including  the  right to
autonomy in accordance with  the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and
established international standards, and for efforts to  achieve a political
solution within the framework of the  International Conference on the Former
Yugoslavia;

  "8.  Calls for mutual recognition between the Republic of Croatia and  the
Federal  Republic  of  Yugoslavia  (Serbia  and  Montenegro)  within   their
existing internationally recognized borders;

  "9.   Commends the  persistent efforts  of the  United Nations  Protection
Force in performing its  duties in the territory of the Republic of Croatia,
and in  this regard emphasizes the  importance of its  role for the  overall
peace  process  and  for  the  success  of  the  peaceful  reintegration  of
Serbiancontrolled territories of Croatia;

  "10.  Also  calls for full  respect of  the cease-fire  agreements in  the
territory  of Croatia, and  urges the  resumption of  direct negotiations in
close  cooperation   with  the  International   Conference  on  the   Former
Yugoslavia;

  "11.  Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly  at
its  fiftieth session a  comprehensive report  on the  implementation of the
present resolution."

3.   From its establishment in February 1992,  the United Nations Protection
Force  (UNPROFOR)  was  deployed  in four  United  Nations  Protected  Areas
(UNPAs)  under the control  of local Serb authorities.   The UNPAs comprised
the Krajina  (Sectors North and South),  Western Slavonia  (Sector West) and
Eastern Slavonia,  Baranja and Western Srem  (Sector East).   This situation
continued  for  the first  part of  1995,  but  several developments  in the
summer of  1995 dramatically altered the  context in  which resolution 49/43
had been adopted in December 1994.


II.  DEVELOPMENTS

4.  Since the conclusion of the  cease-fire agreement of 29 March  1994, the
Co-Chairmen of  the Steering Committee  of the  International Conference  on
the Former  Yugoslavia and  International Conference  negotiators, in  close
consultation with  the leadership in Zagreb,  Knin and  Belgrade, had sought
to encourage negotiations on  practical issues of economic cooperation while
simultaneously promoting discussion of ideas for  a political settlement  to
the conflict in Croatia.  These efforts culminated  on 2 December 1994  with
the conclusion of the economic agreement  (S/1994/1375, appendix I) and  its
partial implementation through the reopening of the Zagreb-Belgrade  highway
through Sector West to Lipovac on 21 December 1994.

5.   However, on 12 January 1995, the President of  the Republic of Croatia,
Mr. Franjo  Tudjman, announced  the withdrawal  of Croatian  consent to  the
extension  of the  mandate  of UNPROFOR  beyond its  expiration on  31 March
1995.  Informing  me  of  this  decision,   President  Tudjman  stated  that
"Croatia's overall experience during the past two  years" had brought him to
the conclusion  "that, although  UNPROFOR has  played an  important role  in
stopping violence  and major  conflicts in  Croatia, it  is an  indisputable
fact that  the present  character of the  UNPROFOR mission does  not provide

conditions  necessary  for  establishing  lasting peace  and  order  in  the
Republic  of  Croatia, a  sovereign  State  Member  of  the United  Nations"
(A/50/64-S/1995/28, annex).

6.   Mindful of the decisive  role played by the  United Nations in  halting
the war  on Croatian soil three years  before, as well as of the part played
by  UNPROFOR  in  preventing  a  full-scale  resumption  of  hostilities,  I
presented an interim report  to the Security Council on 14 January in  which
I  expressed profound regret at  this decision and grave  concern "about the
risk  of  renewed   hostilities  should  United  Nations  peace-keepers   be
withdrawn from  Croatia" (S/1995/38).  On 17 January, while stating that "it
will not  accept  the status  quo  becoming  an indefinite  situation",  the
Security  Council expressed  its  belief  that  the  continued  presence  of
UNPROFOR in  the Republic of  Croatia was of  vital importance  for regional
peace and security (S/PRST/1995/2).

7.  The  following two months were characterized by a significant escalation
in military activity and tension, as described in  my report to the Security
Council of 22 March 1995 (S/1995/222), in  which, inter alia, I  recommended
the  restructuring of  UNPROFOR.   By  resolution  981 (1995),  the Security
Council  approved  the  establishment  of  the  United  Nations   Confidence
Restoration Operation  in Croatia, which is known as UNCRO, and requested me
to continue consultations with all concerned on the detailed  implementation
of its  mandate. Meanwhile, Mr. Thorvald  Stoltenberg, acting  as my Special
Envoy, had  carried out consultations  on a plan  for the  implementation of
the  UNCRO  mandate, which  were finalized  on 18  April 1995.   It  was not
without misgivings that I presented that plan to  the Security Council, as I
noted that it did not have the formal acceptance and full  support of either
the  Government  of  Croatia  or  the  local  Serb  authorities.   The  risk
therefore remained that  either or both sides  would fail to  cooperate with
the United Nations in its implementation (S/1995/320). On the  basis of that
report, the Security Council authorized the deployment of UNCRO on 28  April
1995 (resolution 990 (1995)).

8.   Two days later, on  1 May  1995, the Croatian Army  launched a military
offensive in  the area  of  Western Slavonia  known  as  Sector West.    The
Security Council issued a statement urging an immediate end to the  military
offensive,  respect  for the  economic  agreement  of  2  December 1994  and
compliance  with   the  existing   cease-fire  agreement   (S/PRST/1995/23).
Continuing hostilities  marked by attacks and  reprisals led  the Council to
issue  a  further  statement  on  4   May  1995,  condemning,  inter   alia,
"incursions into the zones of separation by the  forces of the Government of
Croatia in sectors North and South, and by both sides  in Sector East".  The
Council  also condemned  the "bombardment  of  Zagreb  and other  centres of
civilian  population  by the  forces  of  the  local  Serb authorities"  and
demanded their  immediate cessation (S/PRST/1995/26).   The Croatian  Army's
takeover of Sector West was completed on 4 May 1995.

9.    Over  10,000  civilians  and   military  personnel  living  in   areas
immediately  affected by the  fighting crossed  the Sava  bridge into Bosnia
and Herzegovina during the first days of the  Croatian offensive.  A further
2,139 Croatian Serbs decided  to leave in the  following weeks.  About 5,000
refugees reached Sector East through Banja Luka and the  Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia (Serbia  and Montenegro)  and about  500 moved  to Sector  North.
The  immediate  repercussions also  included an  increase in  harassment and
intimidation of  Croat minorities in Sector  South as well  as in the  Banja
Luka area of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

10.  Further developments  in former Sector West are described in my  report
submitted  pursuant to Security  Council resolution  994 (1995),  in which I
observed that  the  Croatian military  offensive  in  Sector West  "...  had
provided a  bitter example of the  consequences that  occur when conflicting
parties forsake  peaceful options  and resort  to war.   The  fact that  the
attack took  place despite the presence  of United  Nations peace-keepers in
the Sector also underlines the reality that, without the cooperation of  the
parties, peace-keeping forces cannot keep the peace ..." (S/1994/467).

11.   Notwithstanding assurances  by the  Croatian Government  that it would
not pursue further military objectives, its  military success in Sector West
appeared to motivate a similar campaign in Sector  South, where in June  the
Croatian Army and Bosnian Croat forces launched attacks in the Mount  Dinara
area,  20 kilometres south-east  of Knin.  By  mid-July, Krajina Serb forces
and  Bosnian  forces  loyal  to Mr.  Fikret  Abdic had  launched  a combined
offensive against  the Bosnian  Government  Army  in the  Bihac pocket.    A
declaration  signed  in Split  on 22  July  1995  by Presidents  Tudjman and
Izetbegovic and  the President of the  Federation of  Bosnia and Herzegovina
committed  the Croatian  Government to  assisting  the  Bosnian Army  in the
Bihac  pocket  and  thus  increased  the   risk  of  further  escalation  of
hostilities (A/50/306-S/1995/609).  On 28 July,  the combined forces of  the
Croatian  Army and the  Croat Defence  Council (HVO)  succeeded in capturing
the towns  of Bosansko Grahovo  and Glamoc in  western Bosnia,  severing the
main supply road  linking Knin to  Banja Luka.   The Krajina  Serbs and  the
Bosnian  Serbs responded  by declaring a  state of war  and mobilizing their
respective forces.

12.  Between 28 July  and 4 August 1995, various concerted efforts were made
by me,  my Special Representative, Mr.  Yasushi Akashi,  and the Co-Chairmen
of the  Steering Committee  of the  International Conference  on the  Former
Yugoslavia  in   the  hope  of   forestalling  a   full-scale  outbreak   of
hostilities.  These efforts  are extensively described  in my report to  the
Security Council of 3  August and my subsequent  letter to the  President of
the Council on 7 August (S/1995/650 and S/1995/666).

13.   In the  early hours  of 4 August  1995, the  Croatian Army launched  a
major military offensive  against the Krajina  region and, in the  course of
the following  days, it established  control of  the whole of  Sectors North
and South. Approximately 200,000 of the Krajina  Serb inhabitants, or 95 per
cent  of the  population of  the two  sectors, fled  into  Bosnian Serb-held
areas  in western  Bosnia and  most continued  their flight  to the  Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).


III.  IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 49/43

14.   The events  of May  and August occurred  at least in  part because the
local Serb authorities on the one hand, and  the Croatian authorities on the
other, failed to extend  the necessary cooperation to  UNCRO to permit it to
implement the mandate authorized by the  Security Council in its  resolution
981 (1995),  thus flouting Security Council resolutions and ignoring General
Assembly  resolution 49/43.   The  deliberate  attacks  launched in  May and
August with  the aim of recovering  Sectors West, North  and South by  force
constituted further defiance of those resolutions.

15.   Major elements  of General  Assembly resolution  49/43 have  been made
irrelevant  by  these events.    Indeed,  Croatia's reintegration  of former
Sectors West, North and  South by military  force has changed the status  of
the  majority of  what were  referred to  as "occupied territories".   These
developments have,  however, created  a different form of  crisis, involving
the flight of  large numbers  of ethnic  Serbs from  those territories  into
Bosnia and  Herzegovina and the Federal  Republic of  Yugoslavia (Serbia and
Montenegro).   Protection of the  human rights of  those who  fled and those
who  remain, and  the right  of return of  those who so  wish, are important
issues that have arisen from the events in the former Sectors.


A.  Sector East

16.  The  events described above, coupled  with other political and military
developments within the Republic of Croatia  and the contiguous  territories
of the former  Yugoslavia, as well as  the frequently declared  intention of
the  Croatian authorities  to recover  lost  territories  by other  means if
negotiations did  not succeed, made it  very difficult  to resume meaningful
negotiations and bring them to a successful conclusion.

17.  Croatia's offensive  against Sectors North and  South did not encounter
much  resistance  by Krajina  Serb  forces  nor  did it  provoke  a military
response by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia  and Montenegro).  As
regards  Sector East,  however, the  proximity  of  the Federal  Republic of
Yugoslavia (Serbia  and Montenegro) and the  reverses suffered  by the Serbs
elsewhere  could increase  the risk  of  the  conflict spreading  beyond the
borders of Croatia should the  Croatian authorities decide to try to recover
this Sector by force.  Mindful of this possibility, I instructed my  Special
Representative  in August to  discuss with  the Croatian  Government and the
local Serb leadership  what tasks, if any, it  would be useful for UNCRO  to
continue to perform  in Sector East and elsewhere  in Croatia.  The  results
of  these consultations are set out in my report  to the Security Council of
29 September (S/1995/835).

 18.   An  important,  if tentative,  step  towards peace  occurred  at  the
beginning  of October when, after  several weeks of shuttle diplomacy by the
United Nations Co-Chairman  of the Steering  Committee of  the International
Conference on  the Former  Yugoslavia, Croatian  and local  Serb leaders  in
Sector  East agreed  on 11  "guiding basic  principles"  on a  settlement of
their  dispute.   The principles  call for  a transitional  authority  to be
established by  the  Security Council  to  administer  the region  during  a
transition  period.    For  the first  time  in  Sector East,  a  high-level
representative  of  the  Government  of  Croatia  had  met  with  local Serb
leaders.  A second  round of negotiations  took place at the Embassy  of the
United States of America in Zagreb, on 9 October, but with minor results.

19.    Other  aspects  of resolution  49/43  relate  in  particular  to  the
cessation  of  any military  and  logistic  support to  the  self-proclaimed
authorities  in  the  Serbian-controlled  parts of  Croatia  by  the Federal
Republic  of  Yugoslavia  (Serbia  and  Montenegro).    It  has  always been
extremely difficult  to obtain accurate  information about  such support  as
severe  restrictions  on the  freedom  of  movement  of  UNPROFOR, and  more
recently UNCRO,  have consistently impeded  its collection.  However, during
the months  of June  and July  1995, there  were reports  that an  estimated
2,500 Serb  refugees  in the  Federal  Republic  of Yugoslavia  (Serbia  and
Montenegro)  were  being  forcibly mobilized  for  military  duties  in  the
Krajina.  The  Office of the United  Nations High Commissioner for  Refugees
has  protested these violations of  the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status
of  Refugees.   Reports  on the  mobilization of  refugees from  the Krajina
persisted during the month of August.

20.  Only  Sector East has a contiguous  border with the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia (Serbia  and Montenegro).  There  have been  confirmed reports of
fuel entering the Baranja  across the Batina bridge, and it can be  presumed
that this happens elsewhere in  the Sector.  Goods can also enter the Sector
by ferry  across the  Danube, but  this has  not been directly  confirmed by
UNCRO.   Finally, many  roads from  Serbia enter  the southern  part of  the
Sector,  unmonitored by  UNCRO,  by which  food,  fuel and  weapons  can  be
brought in.

21.  Much of Sector East's infrastructure is provided  by or linked with the
Federal  Republic   of  Yugoslavia   (Serbia   and  Montenegro),   including
electricity, telephone  lines,  railway links  and  postal  services.   Only
limited  tertiary education  (an agricultural  school) is  available in  the
Sector.  The  most important source of raw materials for use in the Sector's
industrial  facilities and the  prime market  for its products  has been the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and  Montenegro).  Other markets have
been the areas of  Bosnia and Herzegovina under  the control of Bosnian Serb
forces and,  until the  events of May  and August, Sectors  West, North  and
South in Croatia.  The significant  economic cooperation between Sector East
and  the Federal  Republic of  Yugoslavia  (Serbia  and Montenegro)  is thus
based both on historic trade patterns and on recent circumstances.

22.  There has been no confirmation that local Serb  forces form part of the
Army  of  the  Federal  Republic  of  Yugoslavia  (Serbia  and  Montenegro).
Concern, however, persists over the  activities of Serb paramilitary groups,

which have been operating  in and from  Sector East since fighting began  in
1991.   A training facility for  the so-called "Tigers"  commanded by Zeljko
Raznjatovic, for  example, functions  in Erdut,  only a  few hundred  metres
from UNCRO Sector Headquarters,  and these forces are reported to have  been
responsible for recent atrocities in north-western Bosnia.

23.   There  are  no  reliable  figures concerning  the  number of  Croatian
Serbdisplaced persons residing in Sector East.   In addition to those  Serbs
who moved there after the hostilities  of 1991-1992, local authorities  have
informed UNHCR  that 9,500  people from Sector  West have  resettled in  the
Sector  since  the  May  offensive  and  that  approximately  10,500  people
displaced from  Sectors  North and  South  have  resettled there  since  the
Croatian offensive  in August.  The  arrival of these  displaced persons has
contributed to ethnic tensions  in Sector East, leading  a number of  Croats
to leave either by choice or because of threats and intimidation.


B.  Refugees and displaced persons

24.   According to  the nation-wide  registration of  refugees and displaced
persons carried out by the Croatian authorities in  the summer of 1994,  but
not  verified  by  independent sources,  the  number  of  registered persons
displaced within  Croatia was around 198,000.   Of those,  94 per cent  were
Croats, 2  per cent  Serbs, 2  per cent Hungarians  and the remaining  2 per
cent people  of other  ethnic origins.   Out  of  this total,  approximately
76,000 were  displaced as  a result  of the  fighting in  and around  Sector
East.   About  6,000 people were  displaced from areas  outside the Sectors,
but  in close proximity  to the  border with Bosnia and  Herzegovina.  These
movements were  largely the result of  shelling by the  Bosnian Serbs.   The
balance  of those  displaced, about  116,000  people,  came from  the former
Sectors North, South and West.

25.   In the past  five months, some  900 to  1,000 Croat  displaced persons
have returned  to their homes in former  Sector West.  There are no reliable
estimates of  the number  of displaced  Croats  who have  returned to  their
homes in former  Sectors North and South, but  the number is believed to  be
small.  Ongoing "mopping-up  operations" by the Croatian Army and police  in
former Sectors North and South, the looting and burning of Serb houses,  the
lack  of  economic prospects  in  the  Krajina  and  the uncertain  security
environment, including the presence of mines,  account for the small  number
of displaced Croats who  have so far resettled in the three former  Sectors.
Additionally, of the  about 15,000 Bosnian  Croats who fled  the Banja  Luka
area  in the  past  two  months, some  5,000  have been  settled in  Western
Slavonia,  while others  have been  resettled  in  former Sectors  North and
South as well as areas of western Bosnia  recently captured from the Bosnian
Serbs.  The resettlement  of these people in  the former Sectors is changing
the  demographic characteristics of the areas and may  inhibit the return of
the Croatian Serbs.

26.  In the past five months, some of the biggest demographic  displacements
since the beginning of  the Yugoslav crisis have  taken place.   Since early
May,  more than  480,000  people  have been  forced from  their homes.   The
movements directly involving Croatia include:

  (a)   Over 10,000  Croatian Serbs  from Sector  West into  the Banja  Luka
region and Sector East in May;

   (b)   Approximately 200,000  Croatian Serbs  who fled  from Sectors North
and South in  August, 170,000 of whom found  refuge in the Federal  Republic
of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and the rest  in the Banja Luka region
or Sector East;

  (c)   Some 25,000 Bosnian  Muslim followers of  Fikret Abdic  who fled the
Bihac pocket into Croatia in August;

  (d)  More  than 20,000 Croat  and Muslim  minorities from  the Banja  Luka

region expelled by the Bosnian Serbs into Croatia since August.

27.  The exodus of 200,000 Krajina Serbs  fleeing the Croatian offensive  in
early August created a  humanitarian crisis of major proportions.  It is now
estimated  that only about  3,000 Krajina Serbs remain  in the former Sector
North and about  2,000 in  the former  Sector South.   In the former  Sector
West,  about 1,200 Serbs remain  in the area  previously under Serb control,
with 4,000  to 5,000  Serbs remaining in  the northern part  of the  Sector,
which has always been  under Croatian control.   In the former  Sector West,
there have been signs  of a small  return of the Serb population,  involving
perhaps  about 50  individuals.  According to  Croatian officials,  the Serb
population in the  Republic of Croatia fell from 12 to less than  3 per cent
of the  total population  as a  result of  the "liberation  of the  occupied
territories".

28.   The Croatian  Government has  consistently maintained  that Serbs  are
free  to live in  Croatia and  that those  who fled  are welcome  to return.
However, the  United Nations High Commissioner  for Human  Rights, UNHCR and
UNCRO,  as well as  a number  of Member States and  independent human rights
organizations,  have expressed  their  concerns over  the fact  that serious
violations of  human rights  have taken place  and have  continued to  occur
after  the  military  operations had  been  successfully  concluded.   These
violations,  together  with  a number  of  recently  adopted  executive  and
legislative measures,  appear  de facto  to restrict  the civil,  political,
economic  and  social  rights  of  the  Croatian  Serb  population  and  the
refugees' right  to return,  in contravention  of international  conventions
(see sect. C below).   The High Commissioner  for Human Rights  raised these
matters in  two letters  to President  Tudjman on  18 August  and 2  October
1995.  In  his letter of 2 October,  he particularly urged that the Croatian
Government  should not  deter the  return of  the  local Serb  population in
safety and dignity.

29.  Difficulties  faced by those  who wish  to return  were exemplified  in
mid-September,  when Croatian border  authorities would  not allow 257 Serbs
to enter Croatia at Davor in  order to return to former  Sector West, on the
grounds  that the crossing-point  was designated  only for  Croat and Muslim
refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina.


C.  Human rights

30.  On a  number of occasions, the  Security Council has  expressed concern
at  the  grave  situation  of  refugees  and  persons  displaced  during the
Croatian offensives.   In particular, under  Council resolutions  990 (1995)
and 1009 (1995), UNCRO  is charged both with monitoring and protecting human
rights and  with seeking  corrective actions  in  the case  of human  rights
abuses.   On 7  September, the  Council reiterated  its demand  that Croatia
respect fully the  rights of the local  Serb population including the  right
to remain or return in safety (S/PRST/1995/44).

31.  On 3 October, the Security Council,  inter alia, again reiterated  that
demand and further demanded that the  Government investigate all reports  of
human rights violations and take appropriate measures to put an end to  such
acts.    It  also  called  on   Croatia  to  cooperate  with   international
humanitarian  organizations in  the creation of conditions  conducive to the
repatriation of refugees in safety and dignity (S/PRST/1995/49).

32.   Following the  Croatian offensive  in Sector  West, a number  of human
rights problems  were signalled  and the field  officers of  the Centre  for
Human Rights  conducted  an immediate  on-site investigation.   The  Special
Rapporteur  of the  Commission on  Human  Rights  published his  findings on
these events  in his periodic report  of 5 July  1995 (E/CN.4/1996/6).   The
investigation  revealed  evidence of  members  of  the  civilian  population
having been killed during  the offensive, and a  number of cases of physical
and verbal  abuse and of  other forms of  degrading treatment of  detainees.
In his report, the Special Rapporteur  concluded that serious violations  of

human  rights  and  humanitarian  law  had  occurred  during  and  after the
offensive in Sector West.

33.   More than  eight weeks  after the Croatian offensive  in Sectors North
and  South,  widespread   violations  of  human  rights  and   international
humanitarian  law continue  to  be reported  by a  number of  Member States,
international human rights organizations,  regional organizations (including
the European Union),  UNCRO and UNHCR.   In this connection,  United Nations
Peace Forces established human rights action  teams under the leadership  of
the field officers of  the Centre for Human  Rights to conduct immediate on-
site investigations.   The teams found evidence of extrajudicial executions,
disappearances, ill treatment, harassment and the systematic and  widespread
destruction of  houses and  entire villages  carried out  by members  of the
Croatian Army  and  internal security  forces  in  the Krajina  against  the
remaining civilian population, mostly elderly men and women.   As of the end
of September,  the European Community  Monitoring Mission (ECMM)  documented
that  73 per cent  of Serb  houses were  burned and  looted in  243 villages
investigated.   In early October, accounts  of armed  robberies and personal
threats  were reported with  increasing frequency, along with crimes against
property.

34.    The  Croatian  authorities  have  maintained  that  these  acts  were
committed by uncontrolled elements.  Yet international observers,  including
members of the international press, have  directly witnessed the presence of
the  Croatian Army and  special police  units in several instances.   It was
only  recently, after  significant international  criticism,  that President
Tudjman  announced Croatian  investigations into  611 cases  of looting,  27
bombings and 7  murders.  The  authorities are also investigating  36 murder
cases,  about which President Tudjman  stated that it  was not clear whether
they were  committed  in war  situations  and  mopping-up operations  or  by
"unbalanced individuals".

35.   Confirmed reports  of continuing  human rights abuses  have created  a
climate of deep apprehension  that is not  conducive to the return of  those
who  wish to  do so.    There  are, as  yet, no  reliable guarantees  by the
Croatian Government  that returnees  will enjoy  safety and  security.   The
Croatian authorities have themselves warned against  the return of Serbs  to
their  homes in the Krajina  because of the uncertain security situation and
have said that mass returns must await a final political settlement.

36.  Furthermore, a number of executive  and legislative measures have  been
adopted since  August that appear  to put in  doubt the  stated intention of
the  Croatian  Government to  facilitate  the  return  of  refugees.   These
include an executive order dated 31  August, which was subsequently slightly
modified  by the  Croatian parliament,  on the  temporary expropriation  and
control by the Government of certain  "abandoned" property in former Sectors
North, South  and West.   The law also  applies to property situated  in any
part of  Croatia that  is owned  by individuals  who have  left the  country
since 17  August 1990  or reside  in Sector  East, the  Federal Republic  of
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) or areas  of Bosnia and Herzegovina under
the control  of Bosnian Serb forces.   In addition,  the law  applies to all
property  owned by citizens  of the  Federal Republic  of Yugoslavia (Serbia
and Montenegro).  The deadline for  claims of exemption was at first 30 days
from 4 September, but was subsequently extended to 90 days.

37.   Under the law, property  owners are required  to claim their  property
within 90  days "for  possession  and usage".    Given  that the  return  of
Croatian Serb refugees within that time-limit appears  neither feasible nor,
under  current  circumstances,  advisable,  this  requirement  constitutes a
potentially  insurmountable  obstacle  to  such  claims  by  Serbs  who  are
currently outside Croatia.   This particular aspect was stressed by the High
Commissioner for  Human Rights  in  his  letter of  2 October  to  President
Tudjman.    The  Security  Council,  on  3  October,  also  called  upon the
Government of Croatia to  lift any time-limit  on the return of refugees  to
Croatia to reclaim their property (S/PRST/1995/49).

38.   Other legislative measures adopted  by the  Croatian Parliament before
its dissolution in  early September included  modifications to the electoral
law that  reduce the number  of Croatian Serb  representatives from  12 to 3
(elections are now expected  to take place on 29 October); the suspension of
constitutional provisions regarding  autonomy and the establishment of  Serb
majority districts (Knin and Glina); and a law  calling for a new population
census to be held in 1996.


IV.  OBSERVATIONS

39.  Croatia's "reintegration"  of the former Sectors  West, North and South
by military force has  eliminated most of what  was referred to as "occupied
territories"  in  General  Assembly  resolution  49/43.    It  has   equally
eliminated the  need for a substantial  United Nations  military presence in
those areas.   I have communicated  this view to the Security  Council in my
reports of 23 August and 29 September (S/1995/730 and S/1995/835).

40.  However, continuing human rights  violations and security problems have
created an  atmosphere that  is hostile to  any return of  the refugees  and
this  may affect  the ongoing  negotiations in  Sector East.   The  recently
adopted executive and legislative measures in  Croatia, including the law on
property, appear to impede  the participation of  the Croatian Serbs in  the
civil, political, economic  and social life  of the  country.  Indeed,  they
seem incompatible with Croatia's  stated intention to  facilitate the return
of those who wish to do so.

41.  The ongoing  negotiations concerning the  future of Sector East are  of
great  importance not  only in  themselves but  also in  the context  of  an
overall settlement of the  crisis in the former  Yugoslavia.  Given  that no
precedent  yet exists  for  the peaceful  reintegration  of  Serb-controlled
territories in Croatia,  it is important that  all concerned should keep  to
their undertakings  and that the  international community should continue to
pursue  peaceful solutions that  guarantee respect  for the  human rights of
all peoples throughout the former Yugoslavia.


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A S UNITED
NATIONS

General Assembly
Security Council

  Distr.
  GENERAL

  A/50/665
  S/1995/877
  20 October 1995
  


GENERAL ASSEMBLY  SECURITY COUNCIL
Fiftieth session  Fiftieth year
Agenda item 72
REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
  RECOMMENDATIONS AND DECISIONS
  ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  AT ITS TENTH SPECIAL SESSION


          Letter dated 20 October 1995 from the Permanent Representatives
          of France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
          Ireland and the United States of America to the United Nations
addressed to the Secretary-General


  We have the honour  to enclose herewith  a statement issued jointly on  20
October  1995 by  the Governments  of France,  the  United Kingdom  of Great
Britain  and Northern Ireland  and the  United States  of America concerning
their intention to  sign the relevant protocols  to the Treaty of  Rarotonga
in the first half of 1996.

  May we ask for  your kind assistance in circulating the present letter and
its annex  as a document of the  General Assembly, under agenda item 72, and
of the Security Council.


(Signed)  Alain DEJAMMET(Signed)  Sir John WESTON, KCMG
  Permanent RepresentativePermanent Representative    
  of France to the Unitedof the United Kingdom of    
  NationsGreat Britain and Northern  
Ireland to the United Nations

                          (Signed)  Madeleine K. ALBRIGHT
                            Permanent Representative
                            of the United States of America
                            to the United Nations





95-31888 (E)   201095/...

*9531888*
ANNEX

           Joint statement issued on 20 October 1995 by the Governments
           of France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland and the United States of America


  The  Governments  of France,  the  United  Kingdom  of  Great Britain  and
Northern   Ireland   and  the   United  States   of  America   believe  that
internationally  recognized  nuclear-weapon-free  zones,  on  the  basis  of
arrangements  freely arrived at  among the  States of  the region concerned,
can contribute to  international peace and  security.   The 1995 Review  and
Extension Conference of the Parties to  the Treaty on the  Non-Proliferation
of Nuclear Weapons recognized this fact and encouraged the creation of  such
zones as  a matter  of priority.   The  Conference also recognized  that the
cooperation of all the nuclear-weapon States  and their respect and  support
for  the relevant protocols  is necessary  for the  maximum effectiveness of
such nuclear-weapon-free zones and the relevant  protocols.  In this regard,
we  are  jointly  announcing  today  our  intention  to  sign  the  relevant
protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga in the first half of 1996.


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