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Country Reports
CROATIA, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: A total of almost $24.4 million was spent on mine action in 1999, an increase of 80% over 1998. Estimates of mined or suspected mined areas have been revised down to 4,500 square kilometers. A total of 23.59 square kilometers of land was cleared of mines or declared not to contain mines. The ICRC and Croatian Red Cross organized mine awareness programs in 1999 in all fourteen mine-affected counties, reaching 66,612 residents in 3,165 presentations. CROMAC estimates that in 1999 there were fifty-one new mine victims, compared to seventy-seven casualties in 1998. Croatia destroyed its first 3,434 stockpiled mines in June 1999, but has reported no destruction since then. It plans to retain 17,500 mines, apparently more than any other nation.

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Croatia signed the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) on 4 December 1997 and deposited its instrument of ratification at the United Nations on 20 May 1998.[1] According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ratification process served to incorporate the MBT into Croatian law and establish obligations on both national and international levels.[2] In its Article 7 report, submitted on 3 September 1999, the government reported on the “Proposal of the Law on Anti-Personnel Landmines,” to be considered after the summer break, noting that “part of the law specifically elaborates on penal sanctions for violators, ranging from prison-terms of approximately 10 years and fines of up to hundreds of thousands of US$.”[3] The status of that law is not known.

Croatia has helped to promote the treaty regionally, including hosting the Second Regional Conference on Antipersonnel Landmines in Zagreb in June 1999. Organized jointly by the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Croatian Red Cross, the ICRC and the Croatian Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL), it was attended by about 300 participants from thirty-three countries, fourteen international organizations and fifty nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The conference was appraised as the most important multilateral event held in Croatia in 1999. In the opening plenary session, Foreign Minister Dr. Mate Granic stated:

The whole Ottawa process, this Conference also being a part of it, is not only based on national interests of respective states, but primarily on the noble goal to free the world of landmines. Many of the speakers will explain in detail the evil and damage which antipersonnel landmines cause. Losses in economic terms can be roughly calculated and are measured in billions of dollars. Damage to the environment can also be calculated, and it is far from being small. However, we cannot account for the loved ones lost forever. My country was among the first to join the Ottawa process, being fully aware of its far-reaching goals. Croatia has actively supported and participated in all phases of the Ottawa process, and was the twelfth country to ratify the Ottawa Treaty. Croatia is fulfilling its obligations in accordance with the Ottawa Treaty.... [4]

Croatia attended the First Meeting of States Parties to the MBT in May 1999 and attended all of the intersessional meetings of the Standing Committees of Experts (SCE) of the MBT, except one meeting on mine clearance. The SCE meetings on stockpile destruction were attended by experts from CROMAC (Croatian Mine Action Center) and the Croatian Army, where they reported on recent experiences of mine clearance and destruction, and legal provisions related to humanitarian mine clearance. Government representatives also participated in the Regional Conference on Landmines held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 21-22 June 2000.

Implementation of the MBT in Croatia is the responsibility of the Ministry of Defense,[5] which submitted its initial Article 7 report to the UN on 3 September 1999, providing information as of 31 July 1999. As of mid-July 2000 Croatia had not submitted its second report.

Croatia voted in December 1999 in favor of the UN General Assembly Resolution 54/54B, which called for full implementation and universalization of the MBT; it had also supported pro-ban UNGA resolutions in 1996, 1997, and 1998. At the UNGA plenary session on 18 November 1999, Croatia’s Permanent Representative declared, “The Republic of Croatia continues to welcome all efforts leading towards the global ban on anti-personnel landmines....Croatia shall work hard with all interested countries to support the Ottawa Convention [MBT] in its next phase.”[6]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated also that the government would not approve of either transfer or relocation of mines by another country on its territory, and would oppose the use of AP mines in Croatia in any joint military exercise or operation.[7]

The country is a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). However, ratification of Amended Protocol II (1996) is still in process.[8] Since January 2000 Croatia has a new government and parliament, which are changing many laws to increase democratization of the country; at present, having already ratified the MBT, further “mine-action laws” are not on the immediate agenda. The government attended the First Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in December 1999, as an observer. It supports efforts in the Conference on Disarmament to address the landmine problem.

At the Regional Conference in June 1999, at the suggestion of the CCBL, representatives of NGOs from Central and Southeastern European established a Regional Network to increase coordination and cooperation of mine-related activities, including assistance to mine victims, promoting the MBT within the region and monitoring its implementation, strengthening NGO activity in the region as well as increasing links with ban campaigns in Western European countries and fundraising. NGOs involved in setting up this Regional Network were the CCBL, Strata Research (Croatia), Landmine Survivors Network (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Center for Strategic Research and Documentation (Macedonia), Helsinki Human Rights Committee (Yugoslavia) and the Antimining Friends Committee (Albania).

Production and Transfer

Until 1992 Croatia was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) which manufactured AP mines. Upon the break-up of the SFRY and formation of the Republic of Croatia in 1991 none of the former production plants for AP mines or their components were located on its territory. According to Brigadier Slavko Haluzan of the Ministry of Defense, AP mines have never been successfully manufactured in quantity in the country.[9] He states that during the war Croatia tried to develop the production of two types of AP mines at two state-owned companies. The PMA-3 blast mine was manufactured at the Cetinka plant in Trilje and the MRUD directional fragmentation mine was manufactured at the SUIS plant in Kumrovec. However, these mines never became available to forces in the field and did not become part of the Croatian arsenal, according to Brig. Haluzan. After abandoning attempts to produce AP mines, the factories resumed their normal production activities.[10]

Stockpile and Destruction

The number and type of AP mines stockpiled by Croatian forces and scheduled for destruction are shown in Table 1. This data was provided by the Ministry of Defense on 30 December 1999, but repeats the information provided in Croatia’s Article 7 report as of 31 July 1999. The Ministry of Defense added that, at present, these mines are stockpiled as found at the end of war actions and have yet to be sorted out into separate stocks.[11]

Table 1. AP mine stockpiles

Type of AP Mine
Total Stockpile
(Army + Ministry of Interior)
Quantity retained for permitted training (Army + Ministry of Interior)
Quantity scheduled
for destruction
(PMA-1, 1A, 2, 3)
Tripwire fragmentation (PMR-2A, 2AS, 3;
PROM-1, 1P)
MRUD directional fragmentation
AP mines
Total mines:

[12] However, Croatia plans to destroy all MRUD stocks with the exception of 3,800 retained for training.

The retention of mines “for the development of and training in mine detection, mine clearance or mine destruction is permitted” under the Mine Ban Treaty (Article 3.1 of the MBT). However, the 17,500 mines to be retained in Croatia appears to be largest number kept by any State Party, and is much higher number than in most other countries retaining mines (quantities commonly range from 1,000 to 5,000). Brigadier Haluzan of the Commission for Demining Issues at the Ministry of Defense has responded that the testing of a single demining item with 99.6 percent reliability requires a simulated minefield of at least 400 mines.[13] At the May 2000 meeting of the Standing Committee of Experts on General Status of the Convention, the Croatian delegation stated that the Army is re-evaluating the number of retained mines needed.[14]

The official start of AP mine destruction in Croatia was during the Regional Conference in Zagreb, on 27-29 June 1999, when 3,434 mines were destroyed at the military training range in Slunj. Since then, stockpile destruction has not continued due to a shortage of funds and Croatia welcomes any assistance from other countries or organizations, especially technical and financial help.[15] The latest estimate of mine destruction costs amount to US$ 3-5 per mine, assuming that military personnel carry out this work as part of their daily duties and their salaries are not included.

AP mine destruction will take place in specially prepared facilities at Ostarski Dolovi near Ogulin and the military training ranges Gasinci in Dakovo and Crvena Zemlja in Knin using the following techniques: explosion (PMA-2, PMA-3, PROM-1, PMR-3), repackaging (PMA-1, PMR-2) and dissembling (MRUD). Destruction will be conducted in compliance with all safety standards provided by the International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance and other regulations enacted by the Croatian Government. The quantities of AP mines stockpiled, retained, destroyed already or scheduled for destruction are reported in detail in Croatia’s first Article 7 report, analyzed by each mine-type, and the locations and methods of destruction are given in detail. Brig. Haluzan’s comments suggest that the data has changed little since July 1999.

Landmine Problem

The formation of the Republic of Croatia from the disintegration of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the widespread use of antipersonnel mines in conflicts related to this process were summarized in the Landmine Monitor Report 1999.[16] According to the Ministry of Defense, AP mines were last employed for military purposes in the course of the war in Croatia.[17] Since that time, there have been ten terrorist or criminal incidents in which AP mines were used, between October 1995 and October 1998.[18]

Estimates of the number of mines deployed ranges from 400,000 to 1.5 million.[19] Mined areas are spread over fourteen of the twenty-one counties of Croatia.[20] There is also a high concentration of mines in wider areas of the cities of Sisak, Benkovac, Knin, Karlovac, Osijek and Vukovar. The frontlines were stretched all over these areas during the war. Slavonia is the eastern region of Croatia, bordering Hungary, Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and includes four of the heavily mine-affected counties noted above, which make up 18.5 percent of Croatian territory. This fertile region has the most productive land in Croatia. The county most affected by mines is Vukovarsko-Srijemska.

The latest estimate is that mined areas and suspected mined areas cover 4,500 square kilometers, or 7.95% of Croatia.[21] Mined areas are often marked inadequately in terms of the quality and visibility of signs, and some mined areas have never been marked at all. As a result, there are many mine incidents. Data provided by the local Osijek office of the Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC) gives a more detailed picture of the landmine problem in Slavonia.

Table 2. Mine-affected areas (confirmed minefields and suspected high-risk areas) in Slavonia region of Croatia[22]

land (km2)
of land
Number of minefields
Number of mines found
Average number of mines per mine field
All four counties

Note: In addition, there are still large areas treated as ‘lower risk’ for Osjecko-Baranjska County; for example, 220 square kilometers of woods belonging to Hrvatske sume (Croatian Woods) and other public companies.

In addition to the mined areas and suspected mined areas noted here, an unknown number of mines remain on the border with Hungary.

Mine Action Funding

To deal with its landmine problem, Croatia has allocated considerable financial resources to clearance operations, and has also received international support, such as loans from the World Bank. On 8 November 1999 the “Croatia Without Mines” trust fund for humanitarian mine clearance was established.[23] A total of KN 182,863,864 (US$ 24.4 million), representing 0.123% of its GDP, was spent on mine clearance operations in Croatia in 1999, 80% more than in 1998. Of this amount, some KN 167,816,715 (US$ 22.4 million) went to demining companies that carried out direct demining operations.[24]

CROMAC estimates that KN 400 million ($53.3 million) per year is required for demining operations in Croatia. Croatia has entered into a contract with the Slovenian International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance aimed at doubling existing funds.[25] In 1999, $2.6 million was received from foreign donors for mine action, as outlined in the table below.

Table 3. Foreign donations for demining received in 1999 and respective areas demined[26]

Amount (KN)
Amount (US$)
Area (m2)
Federation Suise De Deminage
UNMAAP & British Embassy
French Embassy

Mine clearance activities supported with these funds have included demining bridges, power lines, telecommunication networks, agricultural land, industrial sites, recreation centers, and homes and backyards.[27]

Research and Development

Several initiatives have been launched in Croatia related to research and development of mine detection and mine clearance technologies, mainly through the activities of the Scientific Council of CROMAC.[28] These initiatives include research on metal detectors, mine detection sensors, equipment for pyrotechnists, a mini-thresher, remote detection from the air and satellite digital mapping, and neutron methods of mine detection.[29] A regional center for furthering mine clearance technologies and cooperation has been established at Obrovac, and is currently testing mine detectors.

Mine Action Coordination and Planning

The Croatian Center for Demining (CROMAC) was set up by the government as the civilian operational body for demining activities. It is based in the city of Sisak, with branch offices in Karlovac, Knin and Osijek. The head of CROMAC is appointed by the Government, and the CROMAC Council liaises with government. NGOs and other agencies involved in mine action are not represented on its Council. Its duties include marking and surveying of minefields, planning and assigning demining resources, administering the tender and contract process, supervising projects and quality control of demining activities, maintaining data on mined areas and all operations, and financial management. All mine clearance agencies must be registered by CROMAC.

CROMAC invites tenders for contracts to undertake mine clearance operations, and in 1999, 131 contracts were concluded on demining operations, and each month there were twenty-five to thirty work-sites in operation. Twelve local and foreign commercial companies were involved: AKD Mungos, Ru-Ru, Termosolar, TT-KA, TNT-35, Dok-Ing, Piper, Abcd, Exbel-Emcrom, Tamar Consulting, Mechem, Dr. Koehler and Maavarin. In some areas demining was also performed by Special Police units. The biggest contracts went to the following companies: AKD Mungos (KN 102,562,589, which was 61% of the total spent on demining in Croatia),[30] Ru-Ru (KN 11,441,292), Dr. Koehler (KN 10,967,911) and Special Police forces of the Ministry of the Interior (KN 10,214,748). [31]

Other aspects of mine action, such as victim assistance and mine awareness, are currently carried out by NGOs without significant involvement of CROMAC. This may change with the recent establishment of regional coordination centers, which include NGO representation, in all counties of Croatia except Dubrovnik and Zagreb. These regional centers will involve county representatives, the Croatian Red Cross and the ICRC, Ministry of Education and Sport, mine victim and returnee associations, international NGOs involved in mine action in Croatia and other local NGOs in mine action planning and coordination. One of the aims of this more integrated approach to mine action is better information flow and integration of mine-awareness education.

The cost of running CROMAC (excluding mine clearance activities) in 1999 amounted to KN 12,368,905 ($1.6 million) in 1999, which represents 6.76% of total funds for demining in Croatia. This amount was allocated from the state budget. An additional KN 3,306,046 ($404,806) was spent on fixed assets such as vehicles, technical equipment, and furniture. It has a staff of sixty-seven.[32]

The government issues an annual “Plan for Demining of Croatian State Territory” that seeks to reconcile priorities such as the repatriation of refugees and reconstruction of residential and public facilities. Needs considerably exceed the activities included in the annual plans, due to the large areas still requiring survey and mine clearance. The official view is that Croatia cannot solve the problem of mined areas in a short period of time.[33]

However, the annual plans are implemented and even exceeded.[34] The 1999 plan envisaged that a total area of 19,316,029 square meters would be surveyed and demined, but instead, owing to reduction in the areas suspected of being mined, a total of 23,590,431 square meters was demined or declared mine-free.[35] Records of demined areas are publicly available.[36]

Minefield Marking, Surveying and Clearance

Minefield records from the war are often incomplete, with wrong coordinates and are generally considered useless for demining operations. CROMAC began a survey to determine mined areas and those suspected of being mined. Its Department of Central Records maintains a database on mine-polluted areas that is updated, controlled and amended on a regular basis. Maps of mined areas are designed and scanned; however, this is a slow process.

On the basis of a Level I survey, previous estimates of the extent of suspected mined areas in Croatia (6,000 km²) has been revised to 4,500 km² of land. CROMAC states that the suspected area will be further reduced as a result of additional activities planned in 2000.[37]

Mined areas are usually marked with plastic tape, which is easily blown away or damaged by rain and wind. Where there are metal signs, it has been observed that local people and even tourists sometimes remove them as souvenirs.[38] There is rarely enough money to refurbish the signs, and minefields are often left unmarked and accessible for lengthy periods. Some minefields have never been marked, and fencing them off is rare. Signs are usually repaired or replaced only when there has been a mine incident with casualties.[39] Local people occasionally set up improvised warning signs. In Slavonia only about 10-20% of mine-affected and suspected areas are marked. Some were marked with standard metal triangles or plastic ribbons, but most have been destroyed in recent years by weather and vegetation. CROMAC has started systematic marking of mine-affected areas, and plans to mark 400 kilometers (linear) throughout Croatia in 2000 including the main tourist roads. [40]

Mine Clearance

Mine clearance is performed both manually and mechanically, and with the assistance of specially trained dogs. Local companies employ mainly Croatian citizens and foreign companies are staffed by foreigners. Some companies employ women for demining jobs. Several cases of deaths or injuries of deminers have been registered so far. In order to obtain permission for demining, all companies must meet certain conditions and procedures required by the Law on Demining and the Rules on Procedures of Performing Demining Activities. CROMAC is not satisfied with the safety conditions, and has suggested amendments.[41]

A total of 23,590,432 square meters (23.59 square kilometers) was examined and cleared of mines in 1999, of which 14,330,862 square meters was cleared and the remainder (9,259,569 square meters) was “reduced upon pyrotechnical survey” (i.e. discovered not to contain mines).[42] The CROMAC report gives data for areas cleared of mines or “reduced” in eleven of the fourteen mine-affected counties, as shown in Table 7. Arable land and infrastructure (roads, powerlines, waterworks, etc.) account for the highest percentage of cleared areas.

Table 4. Areas cleared of mines or reduced upon survey in eleven counties in 1999[43]

Area in square meters

Reconstruction and Development of Mine-Cleared Areas

Once cleared of mines, an area is made available to its pre-war owners.[44] Although arable land and infrastructure are the highest percentage of cleared areas, there is still a shortage of arable land due to mine pollution, so farmers often work on the uncleared and/or suspect land at their own risk. Local communities, mainly returnees, also stress that, apart from speeding up the demining processes (which in their opinion is too slow), it is also necessary to stimulate farming, improve living standards and fully revive these areas (through communications, social and cultural programs, etc.).[45]

In many villages inhabitants who fled during the war have returned. Yards and village streets have been priority areas for mine clearance. But their fields are still mine-affected, and some villagers who relied on agriculture before the war (as in Slavonia to a large extent) are now struggling to survive economically, and many exist on state benefits. Mines complicate and worsen the situation in many ways. When irrigation canals are mined, they are not cleaned and water-flow slows or stops eventually. Then in spring and whenever there is heavy rain, fields are flooded. Some agricultural land has now been out of use for several years. Mine-affected land is sometimes the reason why people do not return to their homes, especially young people who should ideally be leaders of change and development of their communities.

Mine Awareness

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Croatian Red Cross (HCK) organized mine awareness programs in 1999 in all fourteen of the mine-polluted counties, involving forty-five local Red Cross organizations, many civilian associations and initiatives by local communities. These programs are financed mainly by the ICRC, although local volunteers contribute substantial amounts of time. Similar programs were also launched by the Ministry of Education and Sport in collaboration with UNICEF, and other NGOs initiated numerous programs.

Mine awareness programs include presentations and training of instructors in mine awareness. Local media and specialized radio broadcasts, fliers, brochures and posters, notebooks and calendars with educational messages are all used. The ICRC and HCK support programs initiated and conducted by local communities, such as stage performances that carry educational messages, exhibitions of pictures and photographs, rock concerts and sporting events in honor of mine victims and a great many similar multimedia events. Each program is accompanied with specific materials adjusted to a particular local community and is based on experience acquired through fieldwork. Materials are designed in collaboration with the volunteers from local communities.

From the beginning of January 1996 through 7 December 1999, 158 instructors were trained to conduct mine awareness programs, twenty-eight of them in 1999. At present there are seventy-five trained instructors still involved in mine awareness programs. The approach of the ICRC and HCK is that instructors should not just give lectures, but should also represent “the eyes of community,” i.e. actively participate in finding solutions to mine-related problems and educating local communities in a wider sense.

Between 1 January 1999 and 7 December 1999, some 3,165 presentations were attended by 66,612 residents; since beginning the program in 1996, a total of 171,605 individuals have been reached through 7,974 presentations. Twenty-seven ten-day long exhibitions were set up, which were visited by 30,000 people. One single soccer tournament dedicated to the mine problem, held in the summer of 1999 in Vukovar, attracted 18,000 people. One of the stage performances that carries mine awareness messages got into the regular repertory in the theater of Karlovac and can be seen every day. Roundtables have been organized on mine issues in local communities with participation of ICRC representatives. The ICRC has given strong support to local NGOs involved in mine problems (such as Strata Research, NONA, Studeni, A3) and has taken part in numerous similar events related to mine awareness.[46]

The mine awareness program conducted by the Ministry of Education and Sport and UNICEF started in 1996. This program, initiated by UNICEF, is intended to reach all children in Croatian schools and day-care centers, and includes seminars, publications and advertising materials. In the last three years UNICEF has provided schools with 150 TV sets and video systems. The program is wholly financed by UNICEF, with a contribution from the Norwegian Government.

According to the Ministry, since 1996, 1,600 persons have been trained and qualified as program coordinators in schools and day-care centers. As of 1998 the project encompassed secondary to and apart from the coordinators, 2,500 teachers and parents and 900,000 children in day-care centers, primary and secondary schools attended seminars on mine awareness. In addition, the Ministry of Education and Sport points out that the programs were attended by three million people, school children’s family members, and that 950,000 fliers were distributed to children and their parents, 1,500 educational packages containing brochures, posters and video cassettes were delivered to schools, with an extra 150 packages in Serbian language and another forty in Hungarian, for members of these minority communities.[47]

The mine awareness program is incorporated in the school curriculum and efforts are made to make it a part of all extracurricular activities that can be related to the mine problem. The Ministry estimates that children have become more aware of mine danger, based on the “changed behavior of children in the outdoors and in threatening situations and also on the reduced number of victims.”[48] CROMAC’s annual report, however, states that the program has not been systematically conducted, that teachers had not been trained to implement the program and that certain elements of the program are not adequately adjusted to age groups (for example, too many technical terms).[49]

Nongovernmental organizations carrying out mine awareness programs include the NONA association, which produced an educational video. The multimedia association Studeni organized a humanitarian concert in Nova Gradiska, dedicated to mine victims. Strata Research published an educational CD-ROM. A theater in Karlovac gave a mine-related performance. The association A3 designed and showed educational slides. Info-clubs in Slavonia organized exhibitions and film projections, and six soccer tournaments were organized in eastern Slavonia. As of February 2000, national TV and radio started broadcasting (free of charge) video clips and radio jingles on mine awareness, which were designed in collaboration with the ICRC, HCK, UNMAAP and CROMAC.[50] A survey of a national sample to investigate what the residents of affected regions think of and know about mines is being prepared by Strata Research, to give a clearer picture of the extent and impact of mine awareness among mine-endangered populations.

Mine Casualties

There is no central database of mine incidents and casualties publicly accessible in Croatia. The Croatian Alliance of Physically Disabled Persons’ Associations (HSUTI) estimates that the total number of mine casualties (both military and civilian) since the start of the war is about 1,200, of whom 500 victims were severely disabled. The population of Croatia is approximately 4.5 million. Casualties are higher among men (about 75%), and child victims are relatively few (about 3%). Civilians usually get hurt while logging in the woods, working in the fields, during hunting, fishing and picnics. Immediately after the war, many returnees were killed or wounded in their own yards and houses, as a result of booby traps.[51]

The Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC) estimates that in 1999 there were thirty mine incidents in ten of Croatia’s twenty-one counties, causing fifty-one casualties, mostly male civilians. Compared with the estimate for 1998 of seventy-seven casualties, this suggests a reduction in mine casualties of 33%. Of the fifty-one casualties in 1999, twenty-one were killed, thirteen wounded severely and seventeen lightly. Of those killed, nineteen were men and two were women; nineteen of them were civilians. Of those wounded, twenty-six were men, one woman and three children; twenty-six were civilians.[52]

Victim Assistance and Disability Policy

The Croatian healthcare system is based on the Law on Health Care and the Law on Health Insurance (“NN” 1/97 - final version). These laws ensure thorough, specific and available healthcare for the entire Croatian population, including disabled persons. The country has 120 health centers, twenty-three general hospitals and many other health facilities, which are evenly distributed over the country.

Medical rehabilitation of disabled persons is conducted in specialized hospitals, and a special program of “active rest” is provided for disabled persons during summer months in the orthopedic hospital in Rovinj. In 1991 the Rehabilitation Board was established as part of the Ministry of Health to monitor implementation of rehabilitation programs, and in 1997 the Commission for Disabled People was established to coordinate the activities of the Ministry, other government agencies and NGOs related to the problems of disabled persons, provide expert opinion and monitor implementation.[53]

The Law on Croatian War Veterans regulates disability rights and benefits. All Croatian citizens are entitled to primary medical care by law, and to hospital rehabilitation once a year provided that their illness is listed in the regulations, that they have functional disorders and that ambulatory rehabilitation is unavailable. Disabled people using orthopedic and other aids are exempt from payment for medical services if their monthly earnings are less than three average monthly salaries. Supplemental allowances for assistance and care are available to disabled people on certain conditions, and reduced taxation and housing costs. Disabled survivors of the war (military and civilian) who are more than 80% disabled are entitled to an apartment free of charge; people not disabled in the war are entitled to only 20% discount, provided they are in wheelchairs. There are widespread transport privileges, but the law on access to buildings for disabled people is generally disrespected.[54]

However, no specialized rehabilitation institute for mine victims exists in Croatia. As a result, amputees often are not provided with proper care during rehabilitation and their stumps tend to become atrophied. This renders normal usage of orthopedic aids impossible, so that many disabled persons use their crutches or remain in wheelchairs, although they could have become capable of walking on their own had there been better rehabilitation programs. The standard orthopedic aids supplied by the government tend not to fully meet the needs of the disabled. Special orthopedic aids are sometimes four times more costly, and the difference in price is not covered by the government.[55]

Many amputees travel to Ljubljana, Slovenia, which has a center with specialized rehabilitation program for amputees. Also according to HSUTI, there are no programs of psychological/social rehabilitation for mine victims, although the Ministry of Health claims that an initiative has been launched to establish an integral specialized center for disabled persons, following the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

At the start of 1996 the Center for Rehabilitation and Adjustment to the Community was founded in Zagreb, to bring together experts in various fields and assist disabled persons in finding solutions to their health, social, legal and other problems. The Center is supported by the government body that provides assistance to the survivors of the Croatian War of Independence, by the Ministry of Health and WHO. Similar centers are being set up in Split and Osijek.

HSUTI established a mine victim section on 31 May 1999. Its operation includes research on the number and status of victims, assistance to its members, organization of meetings, education (optimization of self-help), seminars, and cooperation with other NGOs in Croatia and elsewhere. HSUTI has been active for more than twenty years and has centers in thirty-six cities all over the country. There are forty member-organizations, members of which acquire certain privileges, such as half-price telephone subscription and one hundred free phone units per month, half-price television subscription, free transportation in Zagreb and entrance to some cinemas, theaters and sporting events.[56]

Although Croatia has extensive legal provisions for the rights and entitlements of disabled persons, which include mine victims, many are not fully implemented, partly because mine victims and other disabled persons have poor knowledge of their rights. Research conducted among mine victims revealed that one third (100 out of 300 respondents) are not familiar with benefits available to them. Mine victims have to pay for medicines not on the list of the Croatian Health Insurance Bureau, and for everything that exceeds the limits determined by national standards. Nationally, there is the Operational Headquarters for the victims of the Croatian War of Independence and the governmental Board for Persons with Impairments. However, there is no specific body to focus on issues related to mine victims.[57]


[1] Croatia ratified the Mine Ban Treaty by enacting the Law on Confirmation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines and on Their Destruction, passed by the House of Representatives of the Parliament at the 24 April 1998 session, and published in the official journal Narodne novine (NN) as International Treaties No. 7 on 15 May 1998.
[2] Interview with Mario Horvatic, Head of Department for Peace and Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zagreb, 19 January 2000.
[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, submitted 3 September 1999, information as of 31 July 1999. No starting date for the reporting period is given.
[4] Statement of Dr. Mate Granic, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Croatia, at the Regional Conference on Antipersonnel Landmines, Zagreb, Croatia, 27-29 June 1999, in: Zagreb Regional conference on Landmines, Summary Report of the Proceedings, p. 18.
[5] Interview with Mario Horvatic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zagreb, 19 January 2000.
[6] Statement by Ambassador Ivan Simonovic, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Croatia, United Nations General Assembly, Fifty-fourth Session, Plenary Meeting, Agenda Item 35: “Assistance in mine-action,” New York, 18 November 1999.
[7] Interview with Mario Horvatic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zagreb, 19 January 2000.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Interview with and written responses from Brig. Slavko Haluzan, President of the Commission for Demining Issues, Ministry of Defense, Zagreb, 12 December 1999.
[10] Landmine Monitor Report 1999 included information supplied by the Ministry of Defense which identified two other state-owned mine as producing companies, Vlado Bagat in Zadar and Rapid in Virovitica (p. 573); according to Brig. Haluzan this information was incorrect and these factories have never had the capacity to manufacture mines.
[11] Interview with and written responses from Brig. Haluzan, Ministry of Defense, Zagreb, 30 December 1999. Also, Article 7 Report, 3 September 1999.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Interviews with Brig. Haluzan, Ministry of Defense, Zagreb, 13 March 2000 and 2 May 2000.
[14] Oral remarks of Croatian delegate the SCE on General Status of the Convention, Geneva, 30 May 2000. He also said Croatia is in favor of clear limits placed on the number retained by nations, and clear explanations of why mines are retained. He indicated Croatia needed mines more for testing new technologies than for training, and that Croatia would use live mines to test the ELF system and to help train mine detection dogs.
[15] Interview with unnamed high-ranking officer of Ministry of Defense, Croatia, Zagreb, 26 April 2000.
[16] For information on mine use and types deployed, see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 573-574; see also: Marijana Prevendar, “Notes From the Field: Croatia,” Journal of Mine Action, 1, 4.1 (Spring issue) 2000, pp. 44- 47, and “Croatia,” p. 78.
[17] Interview with and written responses from Brig. Haluzan, Ministry of Defense, Zagreb, 30 December 1999.
[18] Letter from Ivan Stanko, Head of Police Department, Ministry of the Interior, Zagreb, 18 January 2000.
[19] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 574-575; the higher estimate is from Marijana Prevendar, “Notes From the Field: Croatia,” Journal of Mine Action, 1, 4.1 (Spring issue) 2000, p. 44.
[20] These include Bjelovarsko-Bilogorska, Brodsko-Posavska, Dubrovacko-Neretvanska, Karlovacka, Licko-Senjska, Osjecko-Baranjska, Pozesko-Slavonska, Sisacko-Moslavacka, Splitsko-Dalmatinska, Sibensko-Kninska, Viroviticko-Podravska, Vukovarsko-Srijemska, Zadarska and Zagrebacka counties.
[21] Izvjesce o radu hrvatskog centra za razminiranje (Report on the operations of CROMAC), supplied by Damir Gorseta, Head of CROMAC, Sisak, 19 January 2000; analysis of mined areas by land-use remains unchanged from 1999, see: Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 575.
[22] Interview with Dubravko Krusarovski, Coordinator, CROMAC, Osijek, 19 April 2000.
[23] Report on the activities of CROMAC for 1999, Damir Gorseta, CROMAC, Sisak, 19 January 2000.
[24] Telephone interview with Nikola Pavkovic, CROMAC and fax from Damir Gorseta, Head of CROMAC, Sisak, 18 February 2000.
[25] Report on the operations of CROMAC for 1999, Damir Gorseta, CROMAC, Sisak, 19 January 2000.
[26] Fax from Nikola Pavkovic, CROMAC, Sisak, 26 April 2000.
[27] Ibid.
[28] Ibid.
[29] Ibid.
[30] In June 1999, some twenty fully-equipped deminers from AKD Mungos demonstrated at a protest rally outside the Regional Landmine Conference over low and irregular pay. Eventually they left after they were promised that their problem would be looked into by the government. There has been no change in the low and erratic pay of the deminers.
[31] Fax from Nikola Pavkovic, CROMAC, Sisak, 26 April 2000.
[32] Fax from Damir Gorseta, CROMAC, 18 February 2000.
[33] Fax from Milan Vukovic, Assistant to the Head of the Department of Reconstruction, Ministry of Development, Immigration and Reconstruction, Zagreb, 29 December 1999.
[34] Ibid.
[35] Report on the operation of CROMAC for 1999, Damir Gorseta, CROMAC, 19 February 2000.
[36] Fax from Milan Vukovic, Ministry of Development, Immigration and Reconstruction, 29 December 1999.
[37] Report on the operations of CROMAC for 1999, Damir Gorseta, CROMAC, Sisak, 19 January 2000.
[38] Interview with Igor Kmetic, UNMAAP, Knin, November 1999.
[39] Interview with Ivan Cvitkovic, a farmer who witnessed a mine incident in Maljkovo village, Splitsko-Dalmatinska County, November 1999.
[40] Interviews with Dubravko Krusarovski, Coordinator, CROMAC, Osijek, 19 April 2000, and Per Kvarsvik, Regional Mines Advisor, UNMAAP, Osijek, 23 May 2000.
[41] Ibid.
[42] Report on the operations of CROMAC for 1999, Damir Gorseta, Sisak, 19 January 2000.
[43] Ibid.
[44] Areas that were inhabited by Serbs and then deserted after Croatian Army operations are at present inhabited by several thousand Croats, mainly refugees themselves, which complicates and inhibits repatriation of the Serbs who fled their homes. The new Croatian government gave assurances that all Croatian citizens of Serbian nationality will be able to return to their homes and land, and other housing and agricultural land will be provided for the Croats currently occupying Serbian property; see: “Racan backs up cantonization of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Jutarnji list (daily newspaper), 25 February 2000, pp. 3, and as reported on Hrvatska danas (Croatia Today, on HRT-Croatian National Television) when Foreign Minister Tonino Picula visited Banja Luka in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 9 March 2000; also interview with Ivan Grdan, Civil Guard of Viroviticko-Podravska County, Slatina, 14 September 1999, and Peter Leskovski, UNMAAP, Knin, November 1999.
[45] Interview with Mr. Ivica Maric, expert in agriculture, economy, reconstruction and demining of Sunja municipality, Sisacko-Moslavacka County, 19 November 1999.
[46] Interview with Ms. Maja Stanojevic, ICRC, Zagreb, 15 December 1999.
[47] Interview with Ms. Marija Ivankovic, Department of Education, Ministry of Education and Sport, Zagreb, 7 January 2000.
[48] Ibid.
[49] Report on the operation of the CROMAC, Damir Gorseta, CROMAC, Sisak, 19 January 2000.
[50] Damir Gorseta, the head of CROMAC, on the promotion of radio and TV spots, Sisak, 22 February 2000.
[51] Interview with Dr. Mirjana Dobranovic, President of the Croatian Alliance of Physically Disabled Persons’ Associations (HSUTI), Zagreb, 9 December 1999.
[52] Telephone interview with Nikola Pavkovic, CROMAC, Sisak, 23 February 2000; this data was later included in a Croatian government press agency report 11 June 2000.
[53] Letter from Zeljko Reiner, Minister of Health, Zagreb, 12 December 1999.
[54] Mini katalog prava za zrtve mina (Mini catalog of the mine victims’ entitlements), Mine Victims Section, HSUTI, Zagreb, 2 October 1999.
[55] Ibid.
[56] Ibid.
[57] Interview with Dr. Dobranovic, HSUTI, Zagreb, 9 December 1999.