The OSCE Mission to Croatia

Survey of OSCE Long-Term Missions and Other OSCE Field Activities
1. Basic decisions


  • Permanent Council, 18 April 1996, PC.DEC/112

Terms of reference:

  • ibid.
  • Permanent Council, 26 June 1997, PC.DEC/176
  • Permanent Council, 17 July 1997, PC.DEC/181
  • Permanent Council, 25 June 1998, PC.DEC/239
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1145 (19 December 1997)

2. Tasks

In the decision of 18 April 1996 the Permanent Council noted the reports of the Fact-Finding Mission of the OSCE to Croatia (6 to 10 October 1995), and of the Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office on his visit to Croatia (20 to 23 February 1996), reaffirmed the OSCE's principles and commitments and its full support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Croatia, and welcomed the invitation of the Government of Croatia for an OSCE Mission.

The Permanent Council decided that:

  • The Mission will provide assistance and expertise to the Croatian authorities at all levels, as well as to interested individuals, groups and organizations, in the field of the protection of human rights and of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities. In this context and in order to promote reconciliation, the rule of law and conformity with the highest internationally recognized standards, the Mission will also assist and advise on the full implementation of legislation and monitor the proper functioning and development of democratic institutions, processes and mechanisms.
  • In carrying out its tasks, the Mission will co-operate with and use the expertise of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. It will also co-operate with other international organizations and institutions, notably the Council of Europe, the ECMM, the Special Envoy for Regional Issues, UNHCR, the ICRC and relevant NGOs.
  • The Mission will offer close co-operation to UNTAES, in particular as regards confidence-building and reconciliation, as well as the development of democratic institutions, processes and mechanisms at the municipal and district/county level.

In the Decision No. 176 of 26 June 1997 the Permanent Council made the following amendments to its Decision No. 112 of 18 April 1996:

The Permanent Council decided to:

  • Pursue OSCE tasks in the Republic of Croatia on the basis of PC Decision No. 112 of 18 April 1996, as amended by this Decision;
  • Reaffirm the availability of all OSCE institutions to assist in the development of democratic institutions, processes and mechanisms;
  • Authorize the Mission:
    • To assist with and to monitor implementation of Croatian legislation and agreements and commitments entered into by the Croatian Government on:
    • Two-way return of all refugees and displaced persons and on protection of their rights, and
    • The protection of persons belonging to national minorities;
    • To make specific recommendations to the Croatian authorities and refer, as appropriate, urgent issues to the Permanent Council.

The Permanent Council in the Decision No. 239 of 25 June 1998 recalled its Decisions Nos. 112 and 176 and the United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1145 of 19 December 1997 and also welcomed the understanding reached between the Chairman-in-Office and Croatian authorities and the readiness and commitment of the Government of Croatia to ensure the appropriate implementation of the decision, as expressed in the letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Croatia, Dr. Mate Granic , to the Chairman-in-Office (CIO.GAL/32/98 Restr.). Further, the Permanent Council expressed:

  • the readiness of the OSCE to deploy civilian police monitors to assume the responsibilities of the United Nations Police Support Group (UNPSG) personnel deployed in the Croatian Danubian region, which will be based on the following understandings:
    • The overall number of OSCE police monitors deployed in the Danubian region will not exceed 120;
    • Actual deployment of the OSCE personnel will take place with a view to ensuring a proper transition from United Nations to OSCE police monitoring in anticipation of the end of the UNPSG mandate on 15 October 1998;
    • No financial implications for the 1998 budget of the OSCE Mission to Croatia are envisaged.

3. Deployment

The Mission started working in Zagreb on 4 July 1996. The regional office in Knin opened on 13 August 1996. The regional office in Vukovar opened in 30 August 1996.

Pursuant to the PC Decision No. 126 of 29 June 1997 the Mission transformed the Knin and Vukovar Regional Offices into Co-ordination Centres (CC), established two more CCs in Sisak and Daruvar and a Zagreb area office co-located with the HQ.

After a restructuring in November 1998, the Mission is composed of a Headquarters in Zagreb and Co-ordination Centres in Knin, Vukovar and Sisak. In addition, the Mission has 15 Field Offices. A Police Monitoring Unit and a Border Monitor Unit (customs) are assigned to the Co-ordination Centre Vukovar.

4. Duration

The Mission's original mandate lasted until 31 December 1996. Subsequent prolongations were decided at:

  • 94th Permanent Council (PC), PC.DEC/146, 12 December 1996:until 30 June 1997;
  • 121st PC meeting, PC.DEC/176, 26 June 1997:until 31 December 1998;
  • 199th PC meeting, PC.DEC/271/Corr., 19 November 1998:until 31 December 1999

In its Decision No. 327, on 9 December 1999, the Permanent Council decided to prolong the timeframe agreed in Decision No. 271/Corr. until 31 March 2000 and take a decision on the extension of the mandate of the Mission by this date.

5. Composition

The modalities (PC.DEC/112) foresaw that The Mission will establish its headquarters in Zagreb and regional offices in Knin and Vukovar. It was composed of up to 8 members at headquarters, and of up to 3 members at each regional office. The appointment of the Head of Mission by the Chairman-in-Office will be subject to consultation with the authorities of the host country.

The PC Decision No. 176 of 26 June 1997 authorizes the Mission to build up Mission personnel, starting July 1997, to a ceiling of 250 expatriates with a view to full deployment by October 1998. The current number of Mission members is 155. The personnel will be deployed by decision of the Head of Mission.

The PC Decision No. 181 of 17 July 1997 agrees that the Secretariat may recruit a maximum of four key administrative and support posts at the Mission Headquarters..... The principle of providing international staff for OSCE Missions exclusively on a secondment basis remains valid.

In the understanding reached between the Chairman-in-Office and Croatian authorities a temporary and technical increase in the ceiling to a maximum of 280 international personnel could be authorized. In November 1999, the number of international personnel was 220 (including 98 Police Monitors) plus 7 Customs Assistance Monitors.

The Head of Mission (appointed on 19 May 1999) is Ambassador Bernard Poncet of France.

6. Financial Implications

The OSCE Budget for 2000, adopted at the 262nd Plenary Meeting of the Permanent Council on 15 December 1999, PC.DEC/331, Mission to Croatia: EUR 21,086,900.

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