Croatia

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 03 August 2017

Summary: State Party Croatia was among the first 30 ratifications to trigger the convention’s entry into force on 1 August 2010. Croatia has participated in every meeting of the convention and hosted the convention’s First Review Conference in Dubrovnik in September 2015. Croatia voted in favor of a UN resolution on the convention in December 2016 and it has condemned the use of cluster munitions. Croatia has elaborated its views on certain important issues relating to the convention’s interpretation and implementation. In 2011, Croatia reported a stockpile of 7,235 cluster munitions and 178,318 submunitions that must be destroyed by August 2018.

Policy

The Republic of Croatia signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified on 17 August 2009. It was among the first 30 ratifications that triggered the convention’s entry into force on 1 August 2010.

In October 2015, Croatia enacted mine action legislation that it says is “intended to be comprehensive” and “as such, the Act states that each failure in treatment of cluster munitions is subject to misdemeanor sanction.”[1] The law concludes a process that began in 2013 to ensure legislative measures are in place to enforce the convention’s provisions.[2] The law does not impose sanctions to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited under the convention on territory under its jurisdiction or control, however Croatia’s Penal Code does apply.[3]

Croatia’s armed forces include the convention’s obligations in an expanded curriculum on agreements and treaties that Croatia has joined.[4] The Office for Mine Action acts as a focal point for coordination and monitoring of mine action related activities in Croatia, including the operation of the Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC).[5]

Croatia provided its initial Article 7 report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 10 April 2011 and has submitted annual updated reports since then, most recently on 19 May 2017.[6]

Croatia made many notable contributions throughout the Oslo Process that led to the creation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and, from its experience as an affected state, advocated for the strongest possible provisions on victim assistance.[7] Croatia enacted a moratorium on the use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions in 2007, prior to the conclusion of the process.[8]

Croatia has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention and attended every intersessional meeting held in 2011–2015.

Croatia hosted the convention’s First Review Conference in Dubrovnik on 7–11 September 2015, which was attended by 92 countries (61 States Parties, nine signatories, and 22 non-signatories) in addition to UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).[9] Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović was elected as president of the First Review Conference and called on all countries to reject the use of cluster munitions and join the convention in his opening address.[10] The Review Conference adopted an action plan and the “Dubrovnik Declaration” committing to “work towards a world free of the suffering, casualties and socio-economic impacts caused by cluster munitions.”[11]

Croatia has also hosted and participated in regional workshops on the convention. At a regional workshop held near Zagreb in June 2017, Croatia gave a presentation on the status of contaminated areas and progress in cluster munition stockpile destruction.[12]

Croatia drafted, co-sponsored, and voted in favor of the first UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions in December 2015, which supports the convention’s universalization and implementation.[13] It voted in favor of another UNGA resolution on the convention in December 2016.[14]

Croatia has condemned the use of cluster munitions in Libya, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.[15] In October 2016, Croatia repeated its call to all states to refrain from the use of cluster munitions, particularly in Syria.[16]

Croatia has voted in favor of recent UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2016.[17] It has also voted in favor of Human Rights Council resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in March 2017.[18]

Croatia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Interpretive issues

Croatia has elaborated its views on several important issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It considers transit of cluster munitions across, or foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions on, the national territory of States Parties to be prohibited by the convention and also views investment in the production of cluster munitions as prohibited by the convention’s prohibition on assistance.[19] Croatia has stated, “As for the interoperability and use of cluster munitions by countries that are not signatories to the [convention], and are serving within joint military operations, Republic of Croatia will act in accordance with provisions stipulated in Article 21 of the Convention.”[20]

In 2012, Croatia stated that it agrees with concerns raised by CMC about how the convention’s phrase “minimum number of cluster munitions absolutely necessary” for the retention of cluster munitions would be interpreted and said it is “crucial that states comply fully with the detailed reporting requirement on cluster munitions retained for development and training.”[21]

Use, production, and transfer

Croatia has stated that it does not produce cluster munitions, never imported them, and that the armed forces of Croatia have not used them, including in missions under UN auspices.[22]

Croatia informed the Monitor that “no Yugoslav production facilities for cluster munitions or their components were formerly located in Croatia,” but it has acknowledged that until 1999 a Croatian company named SUIS d.o.o. in Kumrovec produced a cluster munition called the M93 120mm mortar projectile.[23] Croatia has reported that the production facilities were officially decommissioned when bankruptcy proceedings for the company were completed in 2006.[24]

On 2–3 May 1995, forces of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (Republika Srpska Krajina, RSK) under the leadership of Milan Martić attacked Zagreb with M87 Orkan cluster munition rockets, killing at least seven civilians and injuring more than 200.[25] Additionally, the Croatian government has claimed that Serb forces dropped BL755 cluster bombs in Sisak, Kutina, and along the Kupa River.[26]

Stockpiling

Croatia inherited a stockpile of cluster munitions during the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[27] It once stockpiled a total of 7,235 cluster munitions and 178,318 submunitions, as shown in the following table.

Croatia’s cluster munition stockpile (as of 31 December 2016)[28]

Type

Cluster munitions (submunitions)

Initially declared

Destroyed

Awaiting destruction

M93 120mm mortar projectile, each containing 23 KB-2 submunitions

7,127 (163,921)

586 (13,478)

6,541 (150,443)

M87 262mm Orkan rocket, each containing 288 KB-1 submunitions

27 (7,776)

26 (7,488)

1 (288)

BL755 bomb, each containing 147 Mk1 submunitions

23 (3,381)

20 (2,940)

3 (441)

RBK-250 bomb, each containing 42 PTAB-2.5M submunitions

9 (378)

7 (294)

2 (84)

RBK-250-275 bomb, each containing 150 AO-1SCh submunitions

5 (750)

0

5 (750)

RBK-250 bomb, each containing 48 ZAB-2.5M submunitions

44 (2,112)

0

44 (2,112)

Total

7,235 (178,318)

639 (24,200)

6,596 (154,118)

 

Stockpile destruction

Under Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Croatia is required to destroy all its stockpiled cluster munitions as soon as possible, but not later than 1 August 2018.

Croatia has reported that it has “all capabilities and facilities to destroy remaining stockpiles” by the end of 2017;[29] however, no cluster munition stocks were destroyed in 2016. Previously, during 2015, Croatia destroyed 639 cluster munitions and 24,200 submunitions and had 6,596 cluster munitions and 154,118 submunitions left to be destroyed, as shown in the table above.

The stocks are held Golubić and Pleso, near the destruction site at the Slunj military training ground.[30] Croatia’s armed forces have been tasked to destroy the stockpile in accordance with standard operating procedures.[31]

Croatia began destroying the stocks after it completed the clearance of the former military ammunition depot at Pađene.[32] At least 153 cluster munitions and their submunitions stored at the Pađene facility were destroyed in a September 2011 explosion at the site caused by a forest fire.[33]

The stockpile is being destroyed through a combination of disassembly, recycling, and open burning/detonation to minimize contamination and environmental impact by maximizing the re-use, recycling, and reprocessing of materials wherever possible.[34]

Croatia estimates it will cost approximately €200,000 to complete its stockpile destruction obligations under the convention.[35]

Retention

Croatia has not retained any live cluster munitions or submunitions for training and development purposes as permitted by Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Since 2011, Croatia has retained 14 inert cluster munitions and 1,737 inert submunitions for training and educational purposes, including to display at a military museum, but states that the cluster munitions will be disassembled and the submunitions disarmed and rendered free from explosives.[36] Croatia has encouraged other States Parties to “consider this technique of retention,” by retaining inert rather than live cluster munitions.[37]



[1] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 9 May 2016.

[3] Email from Hrvoje Debač, Deputy Director, Croatia Office for Mine Action, 29 June 2016.

[4] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form A, 5 May 2014, 2 May 2013, and 10 April 2012. Document provided to the Monitor by email from Hrvoje Debač, Directorate for Multilateral Affairs and Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 21 May 2012.

[5] The office also cooperates with relevant authorities on the implementation of international treaty obligations relating to conventional weapons, including landmines and cluster munitions. “Decree on the Office for Mine Action (“OG,” 21/12),” Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 2 May 2013.

[6] The initial Article 7 report covers the period from 1 August 2010 to 1 January 2011, while each annual updated report covers the preceding calendar year.

[7] For details on Croatia’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 64–66.

[8] Statement of Croatia, Vienna Conference on Cluster Munitions, 5 December 2007. Notes by the CMC/Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

[9] Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, List of Participants, 1 October 2015.

[10] He was assisted by Josko Klisovic, Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia and Dijana Pleština, Director of the Office for Mine Action of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.

[11] Documents from the First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Dubrovnik, 7–11 September 2015 are available here.

[12] Presentation of Croatia, South East Europe Regional Seminar on the Country Coalition Concept, Rakitje, Croatia, 12–13 June 2017.

[13]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.

[14]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016.

[15] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 23 June 2015. Notes by HRW.

[16] Statement of Croatia, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 21 October 2016.

[17]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 71/203, 19 December 2016. Croatia voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2015.

[18]The human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” HRC Resolution 34/26, 24 March 2017.

[19] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 23 March 2011.

[20] Ibid., 29 March 2010.

[21] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 18 April 2012.

[22] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 29 March 2010; and statement of Croatia, Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 23 May 2007. Notes by the CMC/WILPF.

[23] The last batch, series SUK-0298, was delivered to the Ministry of Defence in 1999. The company went bankrupt in 2006 and the owners established a new company Novi SUISd.o.o,that produces fire extinguishers. Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 23 March 2011.

[24] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form E, 10 April 2012.

[25] Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, “Summary of Judgment for Milan Martić,” Press Release, The Hague, 12 June 2007. From 4 January 1991 to August 1995, Martić held various leadership positions in the unrecognized offices of the Serbian Autonomous District Krajina, and the RSK.

[26] Statement of Croatia, Fourth Session of the Group of Governmental Experts to Prepare the Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW, Geneva, January 1995.

[27] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 23 March 2011.

[28] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 9 May 2016. Croatia also stocks of 44 RBK-250 bombs and 2,112 ZAB-2.5M incendiary submunitions. These incendiary weapons are not covered by the Convention on Cluster Munitions as their submunitions contain flammable content that ignites as opposed to explosives that detonate. In 2016, Croatia reported that it included them in the report for “purpose of transparency.” The May 2015 also report listed 467 fewer submunitions than previously reported after a review of the stocks found that some cluster munitions contained fewer submunitions than originally estimated. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 30 May 2015.

[29] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form B, 9 May 2016, and 19 May 2017.

[30] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, 17 April 2013; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 2 May 2013. In 2012 and 2013, Croatia reported that the Ministry of Defence “is contemplating the best destruction options for the reduction of the remaining stockpiles.” In May 2013, Croatia reported that it is considering undertaking the “industrial demilitarization” in cooperation with the company Spreewerk d.o.o., from Gospić. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 2 May 2013; and document provided to the Monitor in email from Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 21 May 2012.

[31] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 3 September 2014. Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) carried out research with the Croatia’s Ministry of Defence in 2011 to review and develop destruction procedures for each type of cluster munition stockpiled. During this period, Croatia destroyed six cluster munitions and their submunitions: two M93 120mm mortar bombs and one M87 262mm rocket on 4 July 2011, and one BL755 bomb, one RBK-250 PTAB-2.5M bomb, and one RBK-250-275 AO-1SChbomb. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 10 April 2012.

[32] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form B, 9 May 2016, and 19 May 2017.

[33] Sixty-eight BL755 bombs, 77 RBK-250 PTAB-2.5M bombs, and eight RBK-250 ZAB-2.5M bombs, as well as all their submunitions. Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, 17 April 2013; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form B, 2 May 2013, and 10 April 2012. There were no casualties at the time of the incident, but on 10 July 2013 an engineer from the Croatian armed forces was killed and two others injured when a MK-1 submunition exploded during clearance operations at the site. Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 11 September 2013; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form H, 5 May 2014.

[34] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 5 May 2014.

[35] Ibid., 9 May 2016, and 19 May 2017.

[36] Ibid., Form C, 24 January 2011.

[37] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, April 2012.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 02 November 2011

Policy

The Republic of Croatia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified it on 20 May 1998, becoming a State Party on 1 March 1999. It enacted national implementation legislation, including penal sanctions, in October 2004.[1] The law created a National Commission for the Coordination of Monitoring the Implementation of the Law.[2]

Croatia submitted its 15th Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report on 10 April 2011.

Croatia attended the Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva in November–December 2010, as well as the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in June 2011. In 2011, Croatia served as co-rapporteur for the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration.

Croatia is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines, submitting an annual report as required by Article 13 on 31 March 2011. Croatia is also party to CCW Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Production, transfer, stockpiling, and retention

Croatia has regularly stated that it has never produced antipersonnel mines.[3] It inherited stocks from the former Yugoslavia. There have been no reports of Croatia ever importing or exporting antipersonnel mines.

Croatia completed the destruction of its stockpile of 199,003 antipersonnel mines on 23 October 2002, in advance of its treaty deadline of 1 March 2003. Six types of mines were destroyed in three phases.[4] An additional 45,579 mine fuzes were destroyed during the stockpile destruction program.[5]

Croatia also possesses 19,076 MRUD Claymore-type directional fragmentation mines, which it does not classify as antipersonnel mines. It has repeatedly said these mines cannot be activated by accidental contact, but has not reported on what steps it has taken to ensure that these mines can only be used in command-detonated mode.[6]

Initially, Croatia announced that it would retain 17,500 antipersonnel mines for training and development purposes, but in December 2000 decided to reduce this to 7,000.[7] Croatia reported that it retained 5,848 antipersonnel mines at the end of 2010.[8] The mines are stored at the Croatian Armed Forces storage site, Jamadol, near Karlovac, and “are used or going to be used by the Croatian Mine Action Centre.”[9] In 2010, a total of 106 mines were destroyed during testing of demining machines by the Croatian Centre for Testing, Development and Training.[10]

Use

Antipersonnel mines were occasionally used in criminal activities in Croatia up to 2003.

 



[1] The Law on Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction was approved by parliament on 1 October 2004 and by the president on 6 October 2004. Article 9, Section IV of the law provides penal sanctions. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 8 June 2005.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 8 June 2005. It consists of representatives from the ministries of defense, foreign affairs, interior, and justice, as well as CROMAC.

[3] See, for example, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, 10 April 2009.

[4] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form F, 28 April 2006. The mines destroyed included: PMA-1 (14,280); PMA-2 (44,876); PMA-3 (59,701); PMR-2A/2AS (74,040); PMR-3 (4); and PROM-1 (6,102).

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form F, 28 April 2006.

[6] Email from Capt. Vlado Funaric, Ministry of Defense, 22 February 2006; and statement of Croatia, “Claymore-Type Mines,” Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 16 May 2003. Claymore-type mines used in command-detonated mode are permissible under the Mine Ban Treaty, but are prohibited if used with tripwires.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 30 May 2001.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 10 April 2011. The mines included: 705 PMA-1; 1,188 PMA-2; 1,207 PMA-3; 877 PMR-2A; 70 PMR-3; and 1,801 PROM-1.

[9] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 10 April 2011.

[10] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 10 April 2011. The mines destroyed included: 26 PMA-1A; 23 PMA-2; 28 PMA-3; 9 PMR-2A; and 10 PROM-1. Croatia provided details on how many of which types of mines were used for each of the four demining machines tested (MINOLOVAC MASTER OR-07-flail, MINOLOVAC MASTER OR-07-mill, PT-400, RM 03) and for training exercises for international peace keeping operations.


Mine Action

Last updated: 31 October 2017

Contaminated by: landmines (massive contamination), cluster munition remnants (light contamination), and unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline: 1 March 2019
(Not on track to meet deadline)

Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 4 deadline: 1 August 2020
(On track to meet deadline)

As of the end of 2016, the Republic of Croatia had 281.5km2 of confirmed hazardous area (CHA) and 161.7km2 of suspected hazardous area (SHA) contaminated by mines, and a further 32km2 of mined areas under military control. In 2016, 38.75km2 of mined area was released by clearance (of which 0.45km2 was under military control). A further 1.39km2 was reduced by technical survey in 2016, and just 1.77km2 was canceled by non-technical survey (NTS).

As of the end of 2016, 1.74km2 of land across three counties was confirmed to be contaminated by cluster munitions, a decrease from the 2.64km2 confirmed at the end of 2015. In 2016, 1.2km2 of cluster munition-contaminated land was released by clearance, and 0.10km2 was confirmed. Clearance was completed in Split-Dalmatia county.

Recommendations for action

  • Croatia should formally establish the reformed Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC) Council in order to avoid further administrative delays.
  • In order to ensure greater progress towards meeting Croatia’s Article 5 obligation, CROMAC should increase its capacity and implementation of survey operations, including the use of non-technical and technical survey to more accurately determine the size and location of contamination, and to, respectively, cancel and reduce areas in which no evidence of contamination is found.
  • Croatia should better regulate its commercial tendering process to discourage fragmentation of the demining market.
  • Croatia should adopt and present a strategic plan for completion of its clearance obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Contamination

Croatia is affected by mines and, to a much lesser extent, explosive remnants of war (ERW), including cluster munition remnants, a legacy of four years of armed conflict associated with the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

Mine contamination

At the end of 2016, the total confirmed mined area (excluding military sites) was 281.5km2 across 64 sites, while mines were suspected to cover a further 161.7km2 across 52 SHAs (see table below).[1] This represents a decrease compared to the 294km2 across 66 CHAs, and 189km2 across 55 SHAs, as at the end of the previous year.[2] Nine counties out of a total of 21 are still mine-affected, with records indicating that a total of 35,776 antipersonnel mines and 6,115 antivehicle mines remain to be cleared.[3]

This 443.2km2 of combined suspected and confirmed contamination reported by CROMAC is slightly lower than the figure of 446.6km2 reported in Croatia’s Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report for 2016 and its Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Protocol V Article 10 and Amended Protocol II Article 13 reports, which include 3.3km2 of UXO contamination only, and not mine contamination.[4]

In addition, a further 32km2 of mined area exists under military control, said to contain 25,299 antipersonnel mines and 1,040 antivehicle mines. The military facilities include three barracks, three training sites, and four storage sites, with 30km2 of the overall military mined area contained in the training sites.[5]

Mined area by county (as at end 2016)*[6]

County

CHAs

Area (km2)

SHAs

Area (km2)

Brod-Posavina

1

1.98

0

0.00

Karlovac

9

16.58

8

32.93

Lika-Senj

9

99.4

8

38.35

Osijek-Baranja

12

38.39

10

21.69

Požega-Slavonia

2

24.4

2

5.52

Split-Dalmatia

4

18.5

2

3.37

Sisak-Moslavina

10

45.08

9

33.31

Šibenik-Knin

7

19.24

5

7.60

Zadar

10

17.92

8

18.94

Total

64

281.5

52

161.7

Note: * A further 31.92km2 of mined area exists under military control.[7]

In July 2017, media incorrectly reported that 34 landmine explosions had been triggered in southern Croatia, in an area thought to be mine-free, following the spread of a forest fire from neighboring Montenegro.[8] However, this information was inaccurate and the reported explosions were in fact caused by a local resident firing a gas-fueled sound cannon to deter wild boars.[9]

Mine contamination in Croatia predominantly has a socioeconomic impact on local communities, and prevents safe use of land for livestock and forestry-related activities. As of the end of 2016, 92.6% of suspected contamination was reportedly on forested land, much
of which is protected as national park or Natura 2000 area; 7.1% was on agricultural land; and 0.3% was on other areas (e.g. water, marshland, coast).[10] CROMAC planned to complete demining of agricultural land in 2018. Much of the remaining mined area is in mountainous areas and has not been accessed for 20 years, so the terrain and conditions will pose challenges to demining.[11]

Cluster munition contamination

At the end of 2016, Croatia had 10 areas confirmed to contain cluster munition remnants covering a total area of 1.74km2 (see table below).[12] This compares to reported contamination at the end of 2015 of 11 CHAs covering a total of 2.64km2.[13]

Cluster munition clearance in the county of Split-Dalmatia was completed in 2016, leaving only three counties contaminated.[14]

Cluster munition contamination by county (at end 2016)[15]

County

CHAs

Area (km2)

Lika-Senj

4

0.72

Zadar

4

0.73

Šibenik-Knin

2

0.29

Total

10

1.74

 

Croatia was contaminated with unexploded KB-1 and Mk-1 submunitions by the conflicts in the 1990s that followed the break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. While Croatia was affected by the 2014 Balkan floods, none of the cluster munition-affected areas was flooded.[16]

CROMAC reports that cluster munition remnants have more of a socio-economic than humanitarian impact.[17] At the end of 2016, 7.1% of the remaining cluster munition-contaminated land was defined as agricultural, 92.6% as forested, and 0.3% as “other area” (e.g. water, marshland, landslides, coast).[18]

Program Management

CROMAC was established on 19 February 1998 as the umbrella organization for mine action coordination.[19] The CROMAC Council, the oversight and strategic planning body for mine action, is supposed to meet on a monthly basis,[20] however since the expiry of the mandate of government-appointed members in August 2016, the council has not met.[21] As of May 2017, the CROMAC Council had been reformed, but was awaiting a new government decree in order to be formerly established and commence its work.[22]

Delay in government approval of the CROMAC Council primarily poses administrative challenges, rather than hindering mine action operations on the ground. Until the decree is passed, the CROMAC Council is not able to send documents, such as the annual work plan, to the government for approval.[23] Recruitment is also affected, thus the head of CROMAC was still “acting” director of July 2017.

In April 2012, the government created the Office for Mine Action (OMA), reporting to the Prime Minister’s office, to function as a focal point for mine action, strengthen coordination among stakeholders and funding agencies, and raise public awareness about mine hazards.[24] The OMA does not sit above CROMAC; it is the government institution dealing with the political aspects of mine action, whereas CROMAC deals with operations.[25]

Strategic planning

Croatia’s 2008 Article 5 deadline extension request
set out annual demining targets and strategic goals, including the elimination of the mine threat to housing and areas planned for the return of displaced people by 2010; to infrastructure by 2011; to agricultural land by 2013; and to forest areas by 2018.[26] While clearance of the mine threat to housing and infrastructure is now complete, Croatia missed its target on agricultural land, which is being prioritized for clearance and released annually, but which remained contaminated as of the end of 2016.

CROMAC also has a National Mine Action Strategy 2009–2019, which was approved by the Croatian Parliament in September 2009, and includes the goal of total mine clearance by 2019.[27] Mine clearance priorities are divided into three main groups: safety, socioeconomic, and ecological. The aim is to improve safety and promote economic development, focusing on the release of the highest priority areas; priorities are set in collaboration with local authorities. CROMAC has completed release of most of the highest priority areas.[28]

This national strategy includes among its main goals the tackling of cluster munition remnants in accordance with the obligations of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,[29] but it has no detailed plan for the release of all areas containing cluster munition remnants. All cluster munition-contaminated areas are said to be cleared in accordance with county and state priorities.[30]

Legislation and standards

A new mine action law was adopted by the Croatian Parliament on 21 October 2015, incorporating developments from the latest International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), and specifically those relating to technical survey.[31] It also introduced a new procedure for “supplementary general survey” (i.e. non-technical survey) and enables “exclusion” (i.e. reduction) of SHAs through technical survey, which was not possible under the previous law.[32] There are distinct technical survey procedures for mines and for cluster munition remnants.[33] According to CROMAC, the 2015 law has eliminated the need for standing operating procedures, as all aspects of mine action are now clearly defined in the new law.[34] National Mine Action Standards are also encompassed within it.[35]

The new law has also reduced CROMAC’s role in several respects. Under the 2015 Law, the Ministry of Interior assesses authorized legal entities for conducting demining; this was formerly CROMAC’s responsibility.[36] The law has limited CROMAC’s supervision of the commercial operators.[37] The responsibility for investigating demining accidents now lies with the state attorney, under the oversight of the Ministry of Interior.[38]

In the view of several CROMAC personnel, while the law has made an improvement in certain aspects (for example improving land release), it has also negatively affected the efficient and effective running of the mine action program.[39] CROMAC staff have reported that their expert input and feedback on the draft law was not incorporated[40] and that certain articles of the law lack clarity and are not operationally sound.[41]

Quality management

In 2016, during quality control (QC) of cleared areas during ongoing demining operations, CROMAC QC supervisors and auxiliary staff found that in 28 cases, across 10 working sites, mine clearance operations did not meet the prescribed quality requirement and ordered repetition of demining on an area of 45,005m2. During final QC, the QC committee established that in four cases demining activities had not been performed in accordance with regulations and companies were ordered to repeat operations on an area of 15,783m2.[42]

With the adoption of the new Law on Mine Action, supervision during and after survey and clearance
has been replaced by ongoing QC and final QC. Internal QC demanded of clearance operators has increased from a minimum of 1% of cleared area to 5%, in order to increase the safety and quality of demining operations. In addition, CROMAC QC officers review a minimum of 5% of control samples at least every three days, and final quality management of 1% is conducted by a commission with two representatives from CROMAC and one from the Ministry of Interior.[43] According to representatives of CROMAC and the Croatian Employer’s Association–Humanitarian Demining Association, these QC requirements pose a significant capacity challenge for both operators and CROMAC.[44]

Operators

All land release is conducted by commercial companies and by MUNGOS, a state-owned enterprise. At the beginning of 2016, 46 commercial companies, with a total capacity of 653 deminers, 55 machines, and 42 mine detection dogs (MDDs), were accredited to conduct cluster munition and mine clearance. By the end of the year, this had decreased to 41 accredited commercial companies with a total of 600 deminers, 51 demining machines, and 60 MDDs.[45] Most assets were deployed for mine clearance, with 23 companies undertaking mine clearance operations in 2016.[46] Overall capacity remained roughly the same as in 2015, but use of MDDs increased in 2016.[47]

The tendering process

As a result of conditions for earlier World Bank funding, Croatia has an unusually commercialized mine action sector, with almost all civil clearance conducted by local companies competing for tenders. CROMAC believes this model of privatized clearance is faster, cheaper, and more efficient.[48] Much foreign donor funding is tendered by ITF Enhancing Human Security, while CROMAC manages tendering for the Croatian government and European Union (EU) money in accordance with the Law on Public Procurement. The trust fund, “Croatia without Mines,” raises money from private sources.[49] NGOs are barred from competing for commercial tenders as CROMAC views their subsidy by other funds as unfair.[50]

The exception to the commercial tendering system is
the state-owned enterprise MUNGOS, which is directly assigned a sufficient number of tasks by CROMAC to keep it solvent while it slowly phases down clearance operations.[51] MUNGOS is one of the oldest demining organizations in Croatia and, as of May 2017, employed 50 deminers, 11 auxiliary staff, and six managers.[52] A large proportion (two-thirds) of MUNGOS deminers are, however, ready to retire and receive their pension, and the rest will be transferred to CROMAC to perform technical survey.[53]

As barriers to entry into the mine clearance market are relatively low there is considerable fragmentation. Of the 23 companies demining in 2016, 12 cleared less than 1km2 and only one company, Istraživač, was responsible for more than 20% of the total area cleared (see table below).[54] The UN Development Programme (UNDP) 2014 needs assessment observed that in the years preceding the assessment, the number of demining companies in Croatia had grown but capacity overall had decreased.[55] A representative of the Croatian Employers’ Association (CEA)–Humanitarian Demining Association reported that the 2015 Mine Action Law had resulted in an increase in the number of demining organizations in Croatia.[56] This rise is in part due to deminers becoming dissatisfied and starting up new firms, and the 2015 Law requires a minimum of only five deminers per company.[57] The current number of demining companies is disproportionate to the number of deminers, and according to a representative from CROMAC, it would be more realistic to have half the number of companies, but to ensure each one is properly managed.[58]

Lower demining costs are said to make it more difficult for firms to make a profit on clearance. Larger firms claimed they were hampered by earlier over-investment in mechanical assets and equipment based on assumptions that funding would match the levels outlined in the 2009–2019 mine action strategy.[59] Some companies have sought to diversify with operations outside Croatia, but given the relatively higher wages of Croatian deminers and the lack of international experience and of brand recognition, they have found it difficult to compete for tenders.[60] An NGO representative claimed that the quality of demining suffers when the price of demining is low.[61] A director of a commercial demining firm echoed this concern, saying that lower prices put greater pressure on deminers to clear more square meters a day.[62] The Humanitarian Demining Association indicated that the 2015 Law on Mine Action has resulted in more pressure on deminers to work longer periods each year, as the new law does not set a minimum wage.[63]

In 2014, CROMAC reported it had started issuing larger value tenders, to allow companies to reduce the cost of their operations, saying that this had provided an incentive for companies to do better planning and to cooperate with each other.[64] A CROMAC representative claimed that although prices were lower, the larger tenders allowed continual work, resulted in fewer stoppages, and enabled companies to negotiate on better terms with hotels and services in their project areas.[65]

However, bigger contracts, some of which covered areas as large as 5km2, resulted in companies needing to form large consortia to compete for the new tenders. It was envisaged that four or five companies would form each consortium, but CROMAC has seen instances of 25 companies per consortium, and even of 30 companies bidding together.[66] In some instances this has resulted in disputes over the allocation of funds and areas assigned for clearance within the consortia, often to the disadvantage of smaller organizations.[67] Very large project tenders are also more complicated to draft and demand more time and resources to administer and monitor.[68]

The new Acting Director of CROMAC has subsequently tended towards much smaller project sizes (0.5km2–1km2, excluding the EU polygons already procured), which encompass single, specific types of land, e.g. forested areas or agricultural land.[69] These are also easier to administer, monitor, and analyze.[70] The 2014 UNDP needs assessment recommended that CROMAC consider longer-term contracting to maximize use of operational assets in Croatia for both technical survey and mine clearance.[71] However, CROMAC plans operations on a yearly basis, in accordance with the annual and three-year demining plans, which are set by the government. CROMAC is unable to award multi-year contracts because it has to budget year-by-year, and, in accordance with its own by-laws, it is not possible to contract and reserve funds for the next year until the budget is set.[72] Tenders are awarded to the lowest priced bidder, but if bids are unusually low, CROMAC requests additional information on wages and other costs. Tenders are rejected if the costs do not add up.[73]

The UNDP also noted that the current contracting of defined polygons is suitable for mine clearance but would not be conducive for effective technical survey, and called for a new procedure to be drafted once the law is changed.[74] The Humanitarian Demining Association reported that it would be preferable if, where possible, technical survey was already undertaken on project tasks prior to tendering them, so that commercial companies have as much information as possible to accurately plan for the tender.[75]

Land Release (mines)

In 2016, 38.75km2 of mined area was released by clearance (38.3km2 by operators working under the direction of CROMAC and a further 0.45km2 by the Ministry of Defence) and a further 1.39km2 was reduced by technical survey.[76]

In addition, NTS canceled 1.77km2, and confirmed nearly 1.9km2 as mined in eight SHAs during 2016.[77]

Survey in 2016 (mines)

CROMAC’s survey released 3.2km2 in 2016[78] (1.39km2 through technical survey and 1.77km2 through NTS).[79] In addition, 1.88km2 of mined area was confirmed.[80]

Clearance in 2016 (mines)

Operators working under the direction of CROMAC cleared more than 38km2 from 106 mined areas in 2016, with the destruction of 1,342 antipersonnel mines, 505 antivehicle mines, and 1,974 items of UXO.[81] Of this, some 0.41km2 of clearance in 2016 resulted in no mines being found; an improvement on the equivalent of 0.83km2 in 2015.

As part of the “less arms, fewer tragedies” program, in partnership with the UNDP, the Croatian Police (under the Ministry of Interior) collected 156 antipersonnel mines, 35 antivehicle mines, and 4,749 items of UXO, which were subsequently transported to and destroyed at Croatian military facilities. In addition, the demining battalion of the Croatian Armed Forces cleared 0.45km2 of military facilities, and destroyed 38 antipersonnel mines, two antivehicle mines, and 5,084 items of UXO.[82]

The 38km2 of mined area cleared under CROMAC in 2016 represents a slight decrease compared to the 40.6km2 cleared in 2015,[83] and the 1,342 antipersonnel mines destroyed under CROMAC in 2016 was also lower than the 2,435 destroyed in 2015. Clearance in 2016 was, however, accomplished with a reduced average number of deminers per day (an 8% decrease compared to 2015), but a significant increase in the use of MDDs (an average of six MDDs employed in 2016 per working day, compared to one per working day in 2015). Furthermore, there were differences in the type of terrain and weather conditions between 2015 and 2016.[84]

Antipersonnel mine clearance in 2016[85]

Operator

Areas cleared

Area cleared (m²)

Region/county

AP mines destroyed

AV mines destroyed

UXO destroyed

Alfa

4

198,381

Karlovac/Osječk-baranjska/Šibenik-Knin

8

0

4

Capsula Interna

4

913,037

Šibenik-Knin/Sisak-Moslavina/Zadar

5

3

26

Cor

4

2,508,535

Brod-Posavina/Karlovac/Požega-Slavonia/Sisak-Moslavina

6

0

76

Credo

1

6,947

Sisak-Moslavina

0

0

0

Diz-Eko

6

1,721,596

Požega-Slavonia/Šibenik-Knin/Sisak-Moslavina

29

1

191

Dok-Ing

4

1,585,057

Lika-Senj/Požega-Slavonia/Sisak-Moslavina

21

0

39

Fas

6

1,317,560

Brod-Posavina/Split-Dalmatia/Šibenik-Knin

68

11

25

Fossio

3

397,863

Brod-Posavina/Split-Dalmatia/Zadar

16

0

0

Harpija

1

56,925

Zadar

0

0

0

Heksogen

5

4,172,576

Sisak-Moslavina/Osijek-Baranja/Šibenik-Knin

207

15

368

Istraživač

11

8,610,645

Lika-Senj/Osijek-Baranja/Požega-Slavonia/Sisak-Moslavina/Zadar

439

350

116

Istraživač Benz

3

421,359

Lika-Senj/Sisak-Moslavina/Zadar

3

0

91

Loco

1

178,335

Brod-Posavina

0

0

0

Maper

1

91,699

Šibenik-Knin

0

0

0

Mina Plus

1

52,390

Zadar

0

0

0

Mka Deming

3

435,404

Požega-Slavonia/Sisak-Moslavina

79

0

581

Mungos

15

2,470,010

Brod-Posavina/Karlovac/Osijek-Baranja/Požega-Slavonia/Split-Dalmatia/Zadar

159

16

85

Piper

7

1,844,250

Karlovac/Lika-Senj/Osijek-Baranja/Požega-Slavonia/Sisak-Moslavina/Zadar

6

0

18

Piper

1

25,651

Sisak-Moslavina

0

0

0

Piton

3

517,722

Požega-Slavonia/Split-Dalmatia/Šibenik-Knin

2

0

0

Rumital

7

5,299,356

Lika-Senj/Požega-Slavonia/Šibenik-Knin/Sisak-Moslavina/Zadar

110

1

110

Titan

5

2,579,091

Brod-Posavina/Lika-Senj/Osijek-Baranja/Sisak-Moslavina/Zadar

109

97

30

Zeleni Kvadrat

10

2,859,591

Brod-Posavina/Karlovac/Lika-Senj/Požega-Slavonia/Šibenik-Knin/Zadar

75

11

214

Total

106

38,263,980

 

1,342

505

1,974

Note: AP = antipersonnel; AV = antivehicle


The combined total released by non-technical and technical survey in 2016 was 3.2km2, which was only 13% of the planned survey for 2016.[86] Less technical survey was conducted in 2016 than intended, as funding was used to complete clearance, however the new funding will reportedly focus on increased technical survey.[87]

In July 2016, Croatia signed a contract to demine its border with Hungary, as part of the cross-border cooperation project. The total area to be covered by the project is 1.46km2, of which 1.45m2 was demined in 2016, destroying 137 antipersonnel mines, 103 antivehicle mines, and 66 items of UXO during clearance. Of the total project, 3,400m2 remained to be cleared as of the end of 2016, as it was submerged under water.[88] Demining of the remaining mined area was subsequently completed in the first half of 2017.[89]

A further 1.75km2 of suspected mine contamination remains on Croatia’s border with Hungary, 1km from the border.[90] As of August 2017, CROMAC had begun planning for how to release this remaining mined area over the next two years.[91]

Land Release (cluster munition remnants)

Croatia released 1.2km2 of cluster munition-contaminated area by clearance in 2016 and completed clearance of cluster munition remnants in Split-Dalmatia county.[92] Output was a significant increase on the 0.43km2 of clearance in 2015.[93]

Survey in 2016 (cluster munition remnants)

CROMAC identified and confirmed three cluster munition-contaminated areas totaling 94,270m2 in 2016: 28,197m2 in Lika-Senj county; 34,369m2 in Split-Dalmatia county; and 31,704m2 in Zadar county.[94] Of the total area confirmed as cluster munition-contaminated in 2016, part was cleared during the year, and 55,426m2 remained to be cleared at the end of the year.[95]

Clearance in 2016 (cluster munition remnants)

Croatia cleared 1.2km2 of area containing only cluster munition remnants in 2016, in addition to a further 111,571m2 of mixed mine and cluster munition contamination in two areas in Lika-Senj county and Zadar counties, destroying 214 submunitions, mainly KB-1 submunitions in total (see table below).[96]

Clearance of cluster munition-contaminated area in 2016[97]

Operator

County

Areas cleared

Area cleared (m2)

Submunitions destroyed

Israživač

Lika-Senj

1

25,182

26

Piper

1

14,926

15

Fas

Split-Dalmatia

1

16,769

5

MUNGOS

2

783,344

70

Diz-eko

Šibenik-Knin

1

125,419

13

Istraživač Benz

Zadar

 

1

86,389

72

Capsula Interna

1

146,707

13

Total

 

8

1,198,736

214

 

Deminer safety

There were five mine accidents in 2016, which resulted in three fatalities (all deminers) and four injured (three deminers and one auxiliary worker), all of whom were men aged between 36 and 60.[98] This represents an increase compared to the two antipersonnel mine accidents in 2015, which killed one and injured two.[99]

Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty and in accordance with the 10-year extension request granted by States Parties in 2008, Croatia is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2019. Croatia is not on track to meet the deadline.

In May 2016, however, CROMAC had reported that if all planned EU-financed projects are carried out, and dependent on available funding, Croatia still be expected to meet its March 2019 deadline.[100] In November, Croatia acknowledged that mine clearance activities in 2016 had not achieved the levels forecasted, but that the Croatian government and all mine action stakeholders in Croatia were still determined to solve the mine problem and systematize mine action activities so that the main goal and objective of completion by 2019 was still attainable.[101]

CROMAC has reported that achieving Article 5 completion depends solely on financing the necessary resources, as the demining capacities and experience are more than suitable. It highlighted, however, that meeting the 2019 Article 5 deadline “will be very challenging,” based on the overall pace of progress.[102]

Almost 180km2 of mined area in Croatia has been cleared over the last five years (see table below). However, while annual clearance output exceeds the targets in Croatia’s 2009–2019 mine action strategy,[103] the amount of land released by survey each year has fallen well behind the yearly targets outlined in the strategy, including for 2016, for which 4.6km2 was forecast to be released through reduction, and a further 10km2 by general survey. Only 1.39km2 was actually reduced by technical survey and 1.77km2 canceled by survey in 2016.

Mine clearance in 2012–2016

Year

Area cleared (km²)

2016

38.8*

2015

40.6

2014

37.7

2013

32.3

2012

30.5

Total

179.9

Note: *Includes 0.45km2 cleared by the Ministry of Defence.

 

The UNDP’s Mine Action Recovery Needs Assessment for Flooded Areas in Eastern Croatia stated that the ability to release land through technical survey would enhance the capacity to more quickly recover from disasters and speed up land release.[104] However, it raised concerns that CROMAC
did not have sufficient survey capacity to enable the release of land through technical survey once the demining law is changed and advised that CROMAC should boost this capacity to fully implement land release methodology.[105] As of October 2016, CROMAC reported it had increased its capacity for technical survey through internal reallocation and that it was using MUNGOS for technical survey.[106] However, as of May 2017, CROMAC revealed that technical survey capacity was still not sufficient to meet requirements, and may not reach full required capacity until after 2018.[107]

CROMAC’s priority for survey and clearance operations in 2017 was to reduce the overall size of SHAs, and to complete release of agricultural areas and areas in the “Kopački Rit” nature park.[108] According to its 2017 Annual Plan of Mine Action, CROMAC planned to release a total of 75km2 in 2017: 54km2 through clearance and 21km2 through technical survey, NTS, and “supplementary non-technical survey activities” (during which control samples are taken to determine the absence of mines and UXO).[109] Croatia, however, reported that in the first four months of 2017, only 4.98km2 had been released through survey and clearance, which represents only 6.6% of the Annual Mine Action Plan forecast for 2017,[110] suggesting that it was falling behind its 2017 targets.

Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 4 Compliance

Under Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Croatia is required to destroy all cluster munition remnants in areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 August 2020. It is on track to meet this deadline.

Croatia has cleared a total of 4.21km2 over the past five years, and in 2016 recording the highest annual clearance total in this period, as illustrated in the table below. Croatia predicts that it will be able to meet its Article 4 obligations by the end of 2018,[111] well in advance of its August 2020 Article 4 deadline.

Five-year summary of clearance[112]

Year

Area cleared (km2)

2016

1.20

2015

0.43

2014

0.66

2013

1.15

2012

0.77

Total

4.21

 

 

The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (www.mineactionreview.org), which has conducted some mine action research in 2017, including on survey and clearance, and shared all its resulting landmine and cluster munition reports with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

 



[1] Email from Nataša Mateković, Assistant Director and Head of Planning and Analysis Department, CROMAC, 2 May 2017.

[2] Emails from Miljenko Vahtarić, then-Assistant Director for International Cooperation and Education, CROMAC, 13 May and 24 August 2016.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form C.

[4] Ibid.; CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form A; and CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form B.

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form C; and statement of Croatia, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, 8 June 2017.

[6] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form C.

[9]Ne pucaju mine, nego top koji plaši veprove,” Dubrovački Vjesnik, 24 July 2017; and email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 30 August 2018.

[10] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017.

[11] Interview with Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[12] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 22 March 2017.

[13] Emails from Miljenko Vahtaric, CROMAC, 13 and 18 May 2016; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form A. There is a small discrepancy between the reported contamination at the end of 2015 and end of 2016, and the land release results for 2016. CROMAC believes this discrepancy results from an overlapping of reporting of clearance tasks that were still in the process of certification at the year end. Email from Nataša Mateša Mateković, CROMAC, 31 July 2017.

[14] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 22 March 2017; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form A.

[15] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 22 March 2017; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form A.

[16] Email from Miljenko Vahtaric, CROMAC, 27 April 2015.

[17] Ibid., 22 March 2017.

[18] Ibid.

[19] CROMAC, “National Mine Action Strategy of Croatia 2009–2019,” Zagreb, June 2009, p. 2.

[20] Interview with Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, Sisak, 29 February 2008; extract from “Law on Humanitarian Demining,” National Gazette (Narodne Novine), No. 153/05, 28 December 2005; and interview with Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, Sisak, 14 April 2014; and emails, 9 June 2015, and 24 August 2016.

[21] Emails from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 24 August 2016; and from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 20 June 2017.

[22] Interview with Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[23] Interviews with Hrvoje Debač, Acting Director, Government Office for Mine Action (OMA), Zagreb, 17 May 2017; and with Neven Karas, Assistant Director and Head of Sector for General and Financial Affairs, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[24] Interview with Dijana Pleština, Director, OMA, in Geneva, 23 May 2012, and 10 April 2014; and email from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 4 July 2013.

[25] Email from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 3 June 2016.

[27] CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form B.

[28] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017.

[29] Email from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 3 June 2016.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form A.

[32] Ibid.; and emails from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 13 and 18 May 2016.

[33] Emails from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 9 June 2015, and 18 May 2016.

[34] Emails from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 9 June 2015, and 18 May 2016, and 13 May 2016; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form A.

[35] Email from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 13 May 2016.

[36] Ibid., 24 August 2016.

[37] Interview with Tomislav Ban, Assistant Director and Head of Sector for Operational Planning and Programming, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[38] Ibid.; and with Ante Brkljačić, Acting Director, CROMAC, in Geneva, 9 June 2017.

[39] Interview with Neven Karas and Tomislav Ban, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[40] Interviews with Hrvoje Debač, OMA, Zagreb, 17 May 2017; with Ante Brkljačić, CROMAC, in Geneva, 9 June 2017; and with Neven Karas and Tomislav Ban, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[41] Interview with Tomislav Ban, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[42] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017; and CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form A.

[43] Emails from Miljenko Vahtaric, CROMAC, 13 May 2016; and from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 20 June 2017.

[44] Interviews with Tomislav Ban, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017; and with a representative of the Croatian Employers’ Association (CEA) – Humanitarian Demining Association, Zagreb, 17 May 2017.

[45] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 22 March 2017.

[46] Ibid., 2 May 2017.

[47] Ibid., 22 March 2017.

[48] Interview with Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, Sisak, 14 April 2014.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.; and with Amira Savranovic, then-Director, MUNGOS, Sisak, 14 April 2014.

[52] Interview with Damir Magdić, Director, MUNGOS, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017.

[55] UNDP, “Mine Action Recovery Needs Assessment for Flooded Areas in Eastern Croatia,” 2014, p. 16.

[56] Interview with a representative of the CEA – Humanitarian Demining Association, Zagreb, 17 May 2017.

[57] Interviews with Hrvoje Debač, OMA, Zagreb, 17 May 2017; and with Tomislav Ban, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[58] Interview with Tomislav Ban, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[59] Interview with Zeljko Romic, Piper Demining, Zagreb, 17 March 2015.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Email from Marija Breber, Social Worker, Mine Aid, 25 March 2015.

[62] Interview with Zeljko Romic, Piper Demining, Zagreb, 17 March 2015.

[63] Interview with a representative of the CEA – Humanitarian Demining Association, Zagreb, 17 May 2017.

[64] Interview with Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, in Zagreb, 16 March 2015.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Interview with Tomislav Ban, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[67] Interviews with Hrvoje Debač, OMA, Zagreb, 17 May 2017; with a representative of the CEA – Humanitarian Demining Association, Zagreb, 17 May 2017; and with Tomislav Ban, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[68] Interview with Kristina Dorosulić, Head of Public Procurement, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[69] Interviews with Tomislav Ban, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017; and with Kristina Dorosulić, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[70] Interview with Kristina Dorosulić, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[71] UNDP, “Mine Action Recovery Needs Assessment for Flooded Areas in Eastern Croatia,” 2014, p. 4.

[72] Interview with Hrvoje Debač, OMA, Zagreb, 17 May 2017.

[73] Interview with Kristina Dorosulić, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[74] UNDP, “Mine Action Recovery Needs Assessment for Flooded Areas in Eastern Croatia,” 2014, p. 4.

[75] Interview with a representative of the CEA – Humanitarian Demining Association, Zagreb, 17 May 2017.

[76] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017; and statement of Croatia, Clearance Session, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Santiago, 29 November 2016.

[77] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017; and statement of Croatia, Clearance Session, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Santiago, 29 November 2016.

[78] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form C.

[79] Statement of Croatia, Clearance Session, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Santiago, 29 November 2016.

[80] Ibid.; email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form C.

[81] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form C.

[82] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form C; and CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form A.

[83] Email from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 13 May 2016.

[84] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017.

[85] Ibid.; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form C.

[86] Statements of Croatia, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Santiago, 29 November 2016; and Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, 8 June 2017.

[87] Interview with Natasa Matekovic, CROMAC, Geneva, 10 February 2017.

[88] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017.

[89] Ibid., 30 August 2017.

[90] Ibid., 2 May 2017.

[91] Ibid., 30 August 2017.

[92] Ibid., 22 March 2017.

[93] Email from Miljenko Vahtaric, CROMAC, 13 May 2016.

[94] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Sixth Meeting of States Parties, Clearance Session, Geneva, 5 September 2016.

[95] Emails from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 22 March and 26 May 2017; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form F.

[96] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 20 June 2017; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form F.

[97] Emails from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 20 June 2017; and from Dejan Rendulić, CROMAC, 30 June 2017; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form F. Cluster munition clearance operations also involved destruction of 27 antipersonnel mines and 15 antivehicle mines.

[98] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 30 August 2017; Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form C; CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form A; CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form B; and statement of Croatia, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, 8 June 2017.

[99] Email from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 13 May 2016; and statement of Croatia, Mine Ban Treaty Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties, Clearance Session, Geneva, 1 December 2015.

[100] Email from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 13 May 2016.

[101] Statement of Croatia, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Clearance Session, Santiago, 29 November 2016.

[102] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017.

[103] National Mine Action Strategy of the Republic of Croatia, 2008, p. 10.

[104] UNDP, “Mine Action Recovery Needs Assessment for Flooded Areas in Eastern Croatia, 2014,” p. 3.

[105] Ibid., pp. 42–43.

[106] Email from Miljenko Vahtarić, CROMAC, 21 October 2016.

[107] Interview with Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, Sisak, 18 May 2017.

[108] Email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 2 May 2017.

[109] Statement of Croatia, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Clearance Session, Santiago, 29 November 2016; Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form A; and email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 30 August 2017.

[110] Statement of Croatia, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Clearance Session, Santiago, 29 November 2016; Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form A; and email from Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, 30 August 2017.

[111] Interview with Nataša Mateković, CROMAC, in Geneva, 10 February 2017; and email, 22 March 2017.

[112] See Cluster Munition Monitor and Mine Action Review reports on clearance in Croatia covering 2012–2015.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 11 December 2017

In 2016, the Republic of Croatia contributed €23.8 million (US$26.4 million) to its mine action program.[1] A further €665,000 million ($0.7 million) came from Croatian companies and donations.[2]

Croatia also received $50.7 million in international contributions toward clearance activities at the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and agricultural land from the European Union (EU).[3]

In 2016, Croatia’s contribution to mine action from its state budget accounted for 34% of total mine action budget, companies and donations accounted for 1%, while 65% came from the EU.

Since 2012, international contributions to mine action activities in Croatia totaled some $52.7 million, most of which (96%) was provided in 2016. Croatia’s own contributions to its mine action program amounted to more than $140 million, representing the equivalent of $28 million per year and 73% of its total mine action budget.

Summary of contributions: 2012–2016[4]

Year

National contributions (US$)

International contributions (US$)

Total contributions

(US$)

2016

26,351,360

50,686,157

77,037,517

2015

30,768,997

0

30,768,997

2014

28,890,756

90,555

28,981,311

2013

14,851,401

25,000

14,876,401

2012

39,902,705

1,863,421

41,766,126

Total

140,765,219

52,665,133

193,430,352

 



[1] Email from Hrvoje Debač, CROMAC, 3 November 2017. Average exchange rate for 2016: €1=US$1.1072. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 4 January 2017.

[2] Email from Hrvoje Debač, CROMAC, 3 November 2017.

[3] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Frank Meeussen, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Export Control, European External Action Service, 30 September 2017.

[4] See previous Monitor reports. Totals for international support in 2015, 2014, and 2013 have been rectified as a result of revised US funding data.


Casualties

Last updated: 27 July 2017

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2016

1,987 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties (515 killed; 1,441 injured; and 31 unknown)

Casualties in 2016

7 (2015: 3)

2016 casualties by outcome

3 killed; 4 injured (2014: 1 killed; 2 injured)

2016 casualties by item type

7 antipersonnel mine

 

Details and trends

In 2016, there were seven casualties from antipersonnel mines in the Republic of Croatia, all of whom were deminers.[1] In 2015, there were three casualties from antipersonnel mines, as in 2016, all were deminers.[2] In 2014, two casualties were recorded in one ERW incident.[3]

The Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC) reported at least 1,987 mine/ERW casualties between 1991 and the end of 2016 (515 killed; 1,441 injured; and 31 unknown).[4]

Cluster munition casualties

There were at least 241 cluster munition casualties in Croatia. New submunition casualties were last reported in 2013. In September 2013, three members of the Demining Battalion of the Engineering Regiment were involved in an accident (one deminer was killed and two injured) during clearance of scattering ordnance, including submunitions, at the site of an unplanned ammunition storage explosion in Pađene.[5] Between 1993 and 2013, 35 casualties of unexploded submunitions were reported. Between 1993 and 1995, at least 206 casualties occurred during cluster munition strikes in Croatia.[6]



[1] Email from Marta Kovačević, Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC), 3 April 2017.

[2] Email form Hrvoje Debač, Deputy Director, CROMAC, 31 April 2016.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), Form J.

[4] Emails from Marta Kovačević, CROMAC, 3 April 2017; and from Hrvoje Debač, CROMAC, 31 March 2015, and 31 April 2016; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form J.

[5] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2013), Form H.

[6] Handicap International (HI), Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007), p. 65; and CROMAC casualty data provided by email from Goran Gros, CROMAC, 23 April 2008. CROMAC recorded 32 casualties from incidents involving unexploded submunitions between 1993 and 2007. All known unexploded submunition casualties were included in CROMAC casualty data.


Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 21 July 2015

Summary action points based on findings

  • Complete the national survivor survey.
  • Maintain regular national coordination of victim assistance and complete the unified victim database in order to improve implementation of services according to needs.
  • Ensure that survivors’ representative organizations have adequate resources to be representative in all relevant fora and carry out victim assistance activities that fill gaps in government services, including peer support outreach and targeted psychological assistance.

Victim assistance commitments

The Republic of Croatia is responsible for a significant number of landmine survivors, cluster munition victims, and survivors of other explosive remnants of war (ERW). Croatia has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Conventional Weapons Protocol V and has victim assistance obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Croatia ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 15 August 2007.

 

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2014

1,980 mine/ERW casualties (512 killed; 1,437 injured; and 31 unknown)

Casualties in 2014

2 (2013: 4)

2014 casualties by outcome

1 killed; 1 injured (2013: 1 killed; 3 injured)

2014 casualties by item type

2 ERW

 

Details and trends

In 2014, one civilian was killed and another seriously injured in an ERW incident in Karlovac county in Croatia. Both casualties were adult men.[1]

In 2013, one civilian was injured by a mine [2] and one clearance personnel was killed and two were injured by a cluster submunition explosion (see section on Cluster munition casualties below).[3]

The Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC) has reported at least 1,980 mine/ERW casualties between 1991 and the end of 2014 (512 killed; 1,437 injured; and 31 unknown).[4]

Cluster munition casualties

There were at least 241 cluster munition casualties in Croatia. In 2013, new submunition casualties were reported. In September 2013, three members of the Demining Battalion of the Engineering Regiment were involved in an accident (one deminer was killed and two injured) during clearance of scattering ordnance, including submunitions, at the site of an unplanned  ammunition storage explosion in Pađene.[5] Between 1993 and 2013, 35 casualties of unexploded submunitions were reported.[6] Between 1993 and 1995, at least 206 casualties occurred during cluster munition strikes in Croatia.

Victim Assistance

As of the end of 2014, the total number of mine/ERW survivors in Croatia was at least 1,437.

Victim assistance since 1999[7]

Health and social services in Croatia function largely on national capacity and were considered sufficient, with relatively strong medical and rehabilitation infrastructure in the cities and social insurance covering most healthcare costs. However, quality, accessibility, and affordability remained key issues, particularly for physical rehabilitation. Although Croatia has a well-structured health and social welfare system, its services were not always equally available to all survivors.

While some areas of victim assistance improved since 1999, until 2010, when the first coordination group was established, a lack of political will hampered progress on the government’s implementation of victim assistance plans. Since 2006, CROMAC has been responsible for coordinating victim assistance, in cooperation with other government ministries and NGOs. For three years, from October 2007, the local NGO MineAid had been requesting support to undertake a survivor needs assessment as part of a larger victim assistance program.

High unemployment among survivors worsened as a result of the global economic slowdown. Psychosocial support remained inadequate because of the lack of public knowledge and professional training on about this issued, combined with a lack of community involvement. Peer support through NGOs increased from 2008.

Under the National Strategy of Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2007–2015, a process was started to collect data and to define the category of “severe disability” in order to improve access to services for people with the greatest needs. In 2009, the needs of survivors in Croatia were not assessed, but basic mine/ERW casualty data continued to be collected by CROMAC. Other state institutions managed the information on mine/ERW survivors including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and the National Institute of Public Health. However, this data could not be shared due to legal concerns related to strict privacy legislation. In 2009, CROMAC committed to the task of unifying casualty data from all relevant state bodies in one database for use in future needs assessments. In 2010, CROMAC began that process.

A survivor survey project “Twenty years later, Croatia – victims of landmines: where they are, what they are doing and what they need” was launched in November 2010 to define needs, influence existing regulations, and remove obstacles to employment of survivors.

MineAid conducted psychological support and socioeconomic reintegration, and advocacy projects for mine survivors, family members, and other civilian victims of war.

Victim assistance under the Vientiane Action Plan 2011–2015

Croatia has reported that it has a highly developed legal framework of laws and by-laws relating to the rights and status of persons with disabilities, including mine survivors.[8] However, it also noted that although survivors’ rights are regulated by numerous laws and regulations, the “on the ground reality” does not always follow the legislation.[9] The criteria for establishing entitlements for persons with disabilities in Croatia were not applied equally and “legislation regulating specific rights remained fragmented.”[10]

In 2012, the Model of Active Rehabilitation and Education (M.A.R.E) Center (previously known as the Duga Center), a specialized facility for psychological support and social reintegration for survivors and other people with trauma, began providing services after several years of struggling to raise funds for construction.

MineAid continued to address the needs and lack of appropriate services identified by mine/ERW survivors in past years. It provided psychological support groups for adults and children; visits by social workers to implement tailored, individual plans for improving health, education, or social inclusion. It later adapted its projects and targeted indirect victims as beneficiaries, including vulnerable and unemployed people (including women) living in mine/ERW affected areas.

Awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities, including survivors, slowly improved among survivors and the general public, but existing disability legislation was not consistently implemented and adequate services were not always available to survivors. A survivor survey in 2011 found that only 19% of survivors reported living in areas with facilities that provided them with adequate care.[11]

Through to the end of 2014, NGOs had to reduce the quantity of services from levels that had already been reduced since 2011, due to financial and capacity constraints. Activities at a new psychological assistance center increased, although overall there was no improvement in the psychological support network through the health system.

As a result of advocacy, MineAid and partners initiated a multi-sectoral project to create a unified casualty database for needs assessment. The first coordination group was established in 2010. After having stalled in mid-2011, progress in victim assistance coordination and the development of a unified survivor database restarted in 2013, with a unified database completed and ready for use in needs assessment survey in 2014.

Assessing victim assistance needs

In 2014, the development of a unique, unified database on the casualties of mines/ERW and their families progressed due to the activities of CROMAC in coordination with the Croatian Data Protection Agency.[12] CROMAC hired a staff member specifically to coordinate data collection based in the Government Office for Mine Action as a first step to collecting victim assistance related disability data.[13] It also established a specific working group on data collection with the relevant bodies. The group held five meetings in 2014.[14]

During 2014, the “Regulation on keeping the data of mine and UXO [unexploded ordinance] victims and their family members”[15] entered into force. A questionnaire on mine/ERW survivors was addressed to the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Veterans, the Croatian Institute of Public Health, and the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, in accordance with the agreement[16] signed in June 2011. In order to complete missing information in the database, CROMAC also sent letters to all police departments requesting information related to mine accidents and incidents. By the end of 2014, responses were received from 16 police departments.[17]

Data from the ministries of the interior, health, and veteran’s affairs, the Croatian Institute of Public Health, and Croatian Pension Insurance Institute was compared, sorted, and recompiled to create a single database for the period from 1996 through 2014. CROMAC formed a working group for updating the database and created a questionnaire for data collection survey in the field. A pilot project to create a systematic data collection and management system on mine/ERW casualties and their families was launched. In early 2015, a lack of funding for survey delayed the data collection process. To overcome the economic barriers to the implementation of the survey, the Government Office for Mine Action in cooperation with CROMAC and the civil sector were developing a project that includes demining and risk education activities, while also undertaking needs assessment.[18]

In April 2014, the association Documenta–Center for Dealing with the Past held a needs-assessment focus group with mine survivors as a part of a research project on the right to reparations for civilian victims of war. Participants included mine survivors, representatives of the Association of Mine Victims of Karlovac County, MineAid, and CROMAC. Documenta has conducted needs assessment research through questionnaires since 2012—collected data are in the research report “Civilian victims of war in Croatia” (2012) and in the report entitled “The right of civil war victims in Croatia on reparations” (2013). The data obtained by the research were presented during 2012, 2013, and 2014 for the purpose of advocating the rights of civil war victims. Documenta also provides free legal advice, which in turn contributes to further study of the needs of war victims for legal representation through judicial and administrative bodies. Communication is established with individual war victims through coordination meetings and with the victims’ representative associations.[19]

Victim assistance coordination[20]

Government coordinating body/focal point

Government Office for Mine Action (to which CROMAC designates its legal role to coordinate victim assistance, which is included in the Law on Humanitarian Demining)

Coordinating mechanism

National Coordinating Body for Helping Mine and UXO Victims

Plan

Croatian Action Plan to Help Victims Of Mines and Unexploded Ordnance 2010–2014

 

The Government Office for Mine Action has had the role of co-coordinating the multisectoral group of government and NGO representatives, institutions, and individuals in the National Coordinating Body for Helping Mine and UXO Victims (National Coordinating Body) since 2013. There were two meetings of the National Coordinating Body in 2014, and five meetings of the data collection coordination group. The Government Office for Mine Action is the focal point for victim assistance coordination.

Established in 2010, the National Coordinating Body for Mine and UXO Victims was founded on recommendations from the Cartagena and Vientiane Action Plans, as well as due to obligations from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).[21]

Documenta noted that victim assistance coordination meetings resulted in the creation of reports for a needs assessment, improved connections between victims’ organizations, and better planning of advocacy activities—positive developments in the cooperation of civil society organizations and the Ministry of Veterans, and the planning of joint activities.[22]

In January 2015, Documenta held a meeting with the associations of war victims, including mine survivors, to discuss draft legislation on civilian victims of war and proposed members of the working group as representatives of civil society organizations.[23]

There was no revision of the National Action Plan for Mine and UXO Victims 2010–2014 in 2014, and a new plan for the next period was not drafted or adopted.

Croatia provided detailed reporting on casualty data and government and NGO victim assistance activities in Form J of its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report for 2014.[24] Information on victim assistance was reported in Form H of Croatia’s Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 report for 2014.[25] Victim assistance activities were also reported in its Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Protocol V reporting.[26]

Participation and inclusion in victim assistance

Survivors and their representative organizations equally participated in the two meetings of the National Coordinating Body in 2014.

Persons with disabilities, including survivors and/or representatives of their organizations, were involved in consultation regarding the individual cases and through the networking of civilian victims and MineAid.[27]

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities[28]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2014

Model of Active Rehabilitation and Education (M.A.R.E) Center

National NGO

Specialized facility for psychological support and social reintegration for survivors and other people with trauma

Continued psychosocial rehabilitation activities for survivors and other people in need

MineAid

National NGO

Group therapy, individual psychological help for survivors and family members, information on employment and self-employment, professional education, visits to survivors, and social and financial support; awareness-raising and advocacy

Increased employment and social inclusion opportunities for marginalized women in mine affected areas

Documenta

National association

Assessment and legal support

Increased activities related to mine survivors

KUŽM

National NGO

Peer support, psychological assistance, information, and medical and employment referrals

Did not conduct significant activities due to a lack of financial and human resources

 

Emergency and continuing medical care

Basic assistance, from first aid to informing all survivors and their families about their rights, was generally provided through government institutions.[29] The Croatian Institute for Health Insurance is responsible for providing emergency medical aid and continuing medical care, physical and medical rehabilitation, orthopedics, and other assistive devices. Health services are equally available to all insured people regardless of gender, age, or religion. Every doctor in the primary healthcare system is required to provide emergency medical assistance and, if necessary, arrange transport to the hospital. In exceptional cases it is possible, in cooperation with state institutions, to provide a patient with transport by helicopter or ship.[30]

In 2014, the Ombudsperson for Persons with Disabilities reported some of the shortcomings of Croatian special hospitals for inpatient medical rehabilitation for persons with disabilities. These gaps included a lack of funding for investing in upgrading premises and equipment, a lack of personnel for conducting rehabilitation, long waiting lists, and a lack of accommodation capacities covered by insurance. Many institutions were physically inaccessible. Rehabilitation was incomplete due to a lack of rehabilitation interventions, understaffing, and focus on pure medical care, while the other elements of rehabilitation such as social, psychological, and peer support remained neglected.[31]

Physical rehabilitation including prosthetics

Following emergency care, an injured survivor has the right to access various appropriate forms of medical care including inpatient rehabilitation, physical therapy in healthcare facilities and in community health centers, or physical therapy in the patient’s home. The Institute for Health Insurance maintains a detailed record of rehabilitation capacity and staff in the 10 most mine/ERW-affected counties, including the facilities and physiotherapists providing home-based assistance in each county.[32]

The Croatian Institute for Health Insurance also covers the costs of basic orthopedic and prosthetic devices and mobility for survivors and other persons with disabilities. Survivors often reported that the quality and/or frequency of orthopedic devices that they received were inadequate.[33]

Economic and social inclusion and psychological support

During 2014, MineAid implemented a project on empowerment and education for social inclusion of women in the mine/ERW-affected county of Sisak-Moslavina. The project included unemployed women aged 25–65 years, who are social welfare beneficiaries, living in underprivileged areas, and members of ethnic minorities and/or victims of domestic violence. The project provided psychosocial support while increasing the beneficiaries’ employment potential. The project involved local mobile teams, workshops, certified education opportunities, and volunteer activities in the community.[34]

The Ministry of Veterans Affairs continued to implement a national program of psychosocial and medical assistance to victims of war and persons affected by their participation in peacekeeping missions. It operated 21 interdisciplinary centers for psychosocial support, which also provided a mobile emergency service for crisis situations. There were also a central center in Zagreb and four regional centers for psychological support.[35] Despite the availability of these services, deminers also stressed the need for additional crisis intervention in cases of demining accidents, recognizing that all persons present at the time of the accident may require professional psychosocial support.[36]

The Ministry of Veterans Affairs initiated a pilot project, the House of Croatian Veterans in Lipik, Požega-Slavonia County, which is designed as accommodation and rehabilitation for war veterans, military personnel returning from peacekeeping missions, deminers, civilian victims of war, as well as other persons who have a need to use its services. The length of stay could be temporarily or permanent depending on the health needs and economic situation of the patient. The ministry was planning to open a series of similar fully staffed multi-disciplinary centers if European Union funding was available.[37]

The Zabok General Hospital and Hospital for Croatian Veterans exclusively provided medical services for Croatian war veterans, war disabled, and their family members.[38]

During the summer of 2014, the M.A.R.E. Center organized workshops for mine/ERW survivors and their family members. The workshops provided beneficiaries with psychosocial assistance through psychological support groups, creative work, and peer support.[39]

The Croatian Employment Service (CES) in cooperation with the town of Zagreb, the Institute for Disability Assessment and Professional Rehabilitation, and the Institution for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons through Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (URIHO[40]) implemented a new model of professional rehabilitation in line with the National Strategy of Equalization of Possibilities for Persons with Disabilities 2007–2015 to improve access to career management and develop new employment models for persons with disabilities.[41] The CES database of unemployed persons registered 37 unemployed mine/ERW survivors in 2014.[42]

A number of other organizations of persons with disabilities carried out activities that were relevant to people with similar needs as mine survivors in 2014. The Istrian Forum of Disabled Person’s Organizations and the Muscular Dystrophy Society of Istria produced a brochure in cooperation with the Police Office of Istria that informs police officers of which associations cover specific disability issues and where to find additional information to assist in the performance of their duties.[43] The Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities organized a Festival of Equal Opportunities in Zagreb to present the creative work of performers with disabilities and share the message that persons with disabilities should enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as others. Various sports groups for persons with disabilities also continued to provide social inclusion activities.[44]

Laws and policies

To better inform survivors of their rights and services, distribution continued in 2014 of the brochure “Options and rights for persons with disabilities—people affected by mines” (first issued in 2011).[45]

In reviewing Croatia’s initial reporting under the CRPD, the Committee of the CRPD recommended that the Croatia begins a comprehensive review of existing legislation and aligns legislation with the CRPD in accordance with the human rights model of disability. The CRPD Committee also noted the absence of a broad service providers’ network. In its absence, disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs) have been forced to assume this role, at the expense of their advocacy role. The CRPD Committee recommended that Croatia provide funding to enable DPOs to fulfil their role in the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the CRPD, and in other decision-making processes.[46]

Croatia reported that civil society organization were involved in drafting a new Act for the Protection of Persons with Mental Disabilities, which came into effect on 1 January 2015.[47]

The CRPD Committee expressed concerned that the majority of persons with disabilities in Croatia were either unemployed or have low-income employment. The Committee recommended that Croatia develop and implement a plan of action, in cooperation with DPOs, to increase employment of persons with disabilities in the open labor market. It further recommended the introduction of incentives for employers to hire persons with disabilities to complement the quota system, while disincentives to employment for persons with disabilities should be addressed.[48]

In 2012, the European Commission found that persons with disabilities continued to face discrimination in the labor market in Croatia, and that employment quotas in the public sector were not being met.[49] A new Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities was adopted at the end of 2013.[50] The Act entered into force on 1 January 2014 and changes were made to employment policies in April. An Institute for Expert Examination, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Employment of Persons with Disabilities was established along with vocational rehabilitation centers. The employment quota system was extended to the private sector and registers on employees with disabilities, as well as changes in the area of disabled-person employment incentives.[51] Every employer, including those in the private sector, with at least 20 employees is required hire a proportional number of persons with disabilities in appropriate working conditions.[52] This specific quota is contingent on a ratio to the total number of employees and the type of work; with a standard overall quota of 3%. Employers who do not comply with the quota of employment are required to pay a penalty. Incentives for employers were also introduced.[53]

The association Women’s Room–Center for Sexual Rights from Zagreb, in cooperation with the Ombudsperson for Persons with Disabilities organized training on the topic “violence and discrimination against women with disabilities in the labor market” in May 2014. The training examined the cases of discrimination and violence against women with disabilities in the workplace, and mechanisms for their protection. The group also adopted a number of specific recommendations:[54]

  • Encourage women with disabilities to participate in the education system;
  • Insist on adapting all educational institutions;
  • Make all laws, relevant documents, and public policy available to women with disabilities in all accessible formats;
  • Empower and encourage women with disabilities to gain employment;
  • Implement continuous training of employers;
  • Educate and inform women with disabilities about the forms and consequences of discrimination and violence and about ways of protection;
  • Inform women with disabilities about the work and powers of the Ombudsperson for Persons with Disabilities and the Ombudsperson for Gender Equality;
  • Organize a network of civil society organizations that work with victims of violence and disability organizations;
  • Ensure accessibility and availability of healthcare and medical services for women with disabilities;
  • Work on systematic training and sensitization of doctors and health professionals;
  • Raise awareness in the general public about specific problems and needs of women, including women with disabilities and mothers of children with disabilities.

At the end of the school year 2013/14, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport proposed a policy document for enrollment in the first grade of secondary school that was not consistent with ensuring that the rights of students with disabilities were upheld, or recognizing their abilities. The document describes impairments that would prevent children with disabilities from studying or gaining academic recognition; these included visual impairments, hearing difficulties, and motor disabilities. The Ombudsperson for disability rights requested that the Ministry withdraw the document and include the advice of people who understand the concept of the social model of disability. It was subsequently announced the document will be amended.[55]

The Government Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities established a working group to prepare a National Anti-Discrimination Plan 2014–2018, to follow the National Anti-Discrimination Plan 2008–2013. The plan should place emphasis on discrimination against persons with disabilities and incorporate measures to safeguard against discrimination based on disability and prevent the failure to make adjustments for reasonable accommodation.[56] In 2015, the CRPD Committee recommended that reasonable accommodation and universal design be regulated beyond the context of the Anti-Discrimination Act (2009), in areas such as education, health, transportation, and building.[57]

The CRPD Committee noted that distinctions were made between different causes of impairments, such as through war or accidents, in the allocation of entitlements to social services and benefits. It recommended that disability-based services and benefits are made available to all persons with disabilities irrespective of the cause of their impairment.[58] MineAid, in conjunction with the Office for Demining and CROMAC, called upon the government to ensure equal opportunities for all persons with disabilities regardless of the way that their impairments were acquired.[59]

In 2013, the law on the protection of military and civilian victims of war was changed, removing the right to a pension for victims with low incomes.[60]

In 2014, regulations on orthopedic and other devices were amended and supplemented 11 times. Some changes negatively affected the quality of life of persons with disabilities, particularly the restriction of eligibility for hearing aid components to only children and students.[61]

Croatia’s Office of the Ombudsperson for Persons with Disabilities’ main role is to promote rights, propose measures, make recommendations, and request reports on the actions taken to enforce the rights of persons with disabilities.[62] The CRPD Committee expressed concern that the ombudsperson for persons with disabilities, as the independent monitoring body, is not designated as such by law and that it has no outreach possibilities to rural areas. It also raised concerns that DPOs and other civil society organizations are not sufficiently supported by the government to participate in national implementation and monitoring.[63]

Croatia has strong legislation on building construction that requires the accessible adaptation of buildings for persons with disabilities. However, implementation was problematic because the relevant supervisory bodies did not enforce penalties in cases of violations.[64]



[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), Form J.

[2] Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC) casualty data in email from Hrvoje Debač, Office for Mine Action, 20 March 2014; Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form J; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form H.

[3] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2013), Form H.

[4] Email from Hrvoje Debač, Office for Mine Action, 20 March 2014; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), Form J.

[5] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2013), Form H.

[6] Handicap International (HI), Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007), p. 65; and CROMAC casualty data provided by email from Goran Gros, CROMAC, 23 April 2008. CROMAC recorded 32 casualties from incidents involving unexploded submunitions between 1993 and 2007. All known unexploded submunition casualties were included in CROMAC casualty data.

[7] See previous country reports and country profiles available on the Monitor website; and HI, Voices from the Ground: Landmine and Explosive Remnants of War Survivors Speak Out on Victim Assistance, Brussels, September 2009, p. 65.

[8] Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II, National Annual Report (for calendar year 2014), Form B, 3 April 2015; CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form C; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form H.

[9] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form H.

[10] EC, “Croatia 2011 Progress Report,” Commission Staff Working Document, Brussels, 12 October 2011, pp. 10 and 51.

[11] Association for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities, “Hrvatska dvadeset godina poslije – žrtve mina gdje su, što rade i što trebaju” (“Croatia Twenty years later – victims of landmines: where they are, what they are doing and what they need”), 2011, p. 37.

[12] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2014), Form H, paras.1–2.

[13] Email from Hrvoje Debač, Office for Mine Action, 23 March 2014.

[14] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2014), Form H, paras. 1–2.

[15] The Croatian title of the regulation is “Pravilnik o Načinu Vođenja Podataka Žrtava Mina i Eksplozivnih Ostataka Rata i Članova Njihove Obitelji.”

[16] Called the “Agreement on Cooperation in the Development and Exchange of Data Collection on Victims of Explosive Devices on the Mined, Mine Suspected and Shelled Areas of Croatian Territory.”

[17] Emails from Maja Dundov Gali, CROMAC, 7 April 2015; and Marija Breber, Project Manager, MineAid, 10 April 2015.

[18] Emails from Maja Dundov Gali, CROMAC, 7 April 2015; and Marija Breber, Social Worker, MineAid, 10 April 2015.

[19] Interview with Milena Čalić Jelic, Nives Jozić, and Božica Ciboci, Documeta, 4 March 2015.

[20] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2013), Form H.

[21] Emails from Marija Breber, MineAid, 21 April 2014.

[22] Interview with Milena Čalić Jelic, Nives Jozić, and Božica Ciboci, Documeta, 4 March 2015.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), Form J.

[25] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2014), Form H.

[26] CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report (for calendar year 2014), Form C, 3 April 2015.

[27] Interview with Milena Čalić Jelic, Nives Jozić, and Božica Ciboci, Documeta, 4 March 2015.

[28] Email from Marija Breber, MineAid, 15 April 2015; Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2014), Form H; Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2014), Form J; interview with Mato Lukić, President, KUŽM, 13 April 2014; and interview with Dalibor Juric, Coordinator, M.A.R.E. Center, Zagreb, 10 April 2015.

[29] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form H.

[30] Information provided by the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance, received via email from Marija Breber, MineAid, 11 March 2014.

[32] Information provided by the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance, received via email from Marija Breber, MineAid, 15 April 2014.

[33] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form H; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form H.

[34] Email from Marija Berber, MineAid, 1 April 2015.

[35] Interview with Mladen Loncar, Psychiastist, Ministry of Veterans, 12 December 2014.

[36] Interview with Marija Herceg and Dijana Pleština, Office for Mine Action, 10 April 2015.

[37] Interview with Miroslav Loncar, Ministry of Veterans, 12 December 2014; and email from Maja Dundov Gali, CROMAC, 7 April 2015.

[38]General Hospital Zabok,” 11 February 2015

[39] Interview with Dalibor Juric, M.A.R.E, Zagreb, 10 April 2015.

[40] Called in Croatian “Ustanovaza profesionalnu rehabilitaciju i zapošljavanje osoba s invaliditetom.”

[41] Data from CES received via email from Hrvoje Debač, Office for Mine Action, 20 March 2014.

[43] Email from Marija Berber, MineAid, 10 April 2015.

[44] Ibid.

[45] CCW Amended Protocol II, National Annual Report (for calendar year 2014), Form B, 3 April 2015.

[46] Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, “Concluding observations on the initial report of Croatia,” (CRPD/C/HRV/CO/1), 17 April 2015, paras. 5–6.

[48] Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, “Concluding observations on the initial report of Croatia,” (CRPD/C/HRV/CO/1), 17 April 2015, paras. 41–42.

[49] EC, “Monitoring Report on Croatia’s accession preparations (Final),” Brussels, 26 March 2013.

[50] Data from CES received via email from Hrvoje Debač, Office for Mine Action, 20 March 2014.

[51] Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, “National Social Report 2014,” Zagreb, August 2014.

[52] Interview with Marijana Senjak, CES, 12 December 2014.

[53] Email from Maja Dundov Gali, CROMAC, 7 April 2015; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), Form H.

[54] Womens’ Room, “Training on ‘Violence and discrimination against women with disabilities in the labor market,’” (Ženska Soba—Centar Za Seksualna Prava Ženska Soba, “Održan trening ‘Nasilje i diskriminacija prema ženama s invaliditetom na tržištu rada’”), 28 May 2014.

[55] Email from Marija Breber, MineAid, 10 April 2015 (Source: Report on the work of the Ombudsperson for persons with disabilities).

[56] Email from Marija Breber, MineAid, 10 April 2015.

[57] Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, “Concluding observations on the initial report of Croatia,” (CRPD/C/HRV/CO/1), 17 April 2015, paras. 5–6.

[58] Ibid., paras. 7–8.

[59] Email from Marija Breber, MineAid, 1 March 2015.

[60] Information from the Ministry for Veterans Affairs, 19 March 2014, received via email from Marija Breber, MineAid, 15 April 2014.

[61] Email from Marija Breber, MineAid, 10 April 2015 (Source: Report on the work of the Ombudsperson for persons with disabilities).

[62] Statement of Croatia, CCW Protocol V, Geneva, 12 April 2013.

[63] Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, “Concluding observations on the initial report of Croatia,” (CRPD/C/HRV/CO/1), 17 April 2015.

[64] Email from Marija Breber, MineAid, 13 March 2014.