Croatia. According to
CountryAAH, Former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babić
committed suicide in March in his cell at the UN War Crimes
Tribunal in The Hague. Babić had ordered ethnic cleansing of
Croats in the then Serbian-controlled outbreak state Krajina
in Croatia 1991-92. He surrendered himself to the court in
2003 and was sentenced to thirteen years in prison for
crimes against humanity. Babić had pleaded guilty and
expressed great regret. During the war, Babić cooperated
with Serbia's leader Slobodan Milošević, but in 2002 he
testified against his former ally before the UN tribunal.
After his own verdict, he requested to serve his sentence in
secret because he feared revenge actions from Milošević's
followers. At the time of his death, he was back in The
Hague to testify against his successor in Krajina, Milan
In May, MP Branimir Glavas, a former member of the
Nationalist Party HDZ, formed a new right-wing party, HDSSB,
together with supporters.
In September, Parliament asserted Glava's prosecution
immunity and he was subsequently arrested, suspected of war
crimes. He himself claimed that the charges were politically
motivated and had to do with his break with the government
party. According to the suspicions, Glavas would have
ordered torture and murder of civilian Serbs in the city of
Osijek during the war in the early 1990s. Glavas embarked on
a hunger strike and was released from custody after just
over a month when his life was considered in danger.
Six former soldiers were also arrested in September,
suspected of war crimes in Osijek during the same period.
President of the Yugoslav Federal State Slobodan
Milosovic stated that if the UN lifted its sanctions against
Yugoslavia, it would be just a matter of months before peace
would be restored in the Balkans. An agreement between
Franjo Tudjman and the United States allowed the presence of
an international force and its gradual withdrawal, assisted
by NATO forces.
The Serbs suffered their worst defeat in early August
following the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. The
Krajina enclave is conquered by the Croats, forcing Serbian
civilians and military to flee.
There were charges of torture and assault against the
Croats who occupied Krajina. Around 250,000 Serbs joined the
already more than 700,000 Balkan refugees. The occupation of
the Krajina by the Croats was considered to be one of the
biggest "ethnic cleansing" of the war. Until May 1996, only
8 Croats had been prosecuted at the Criminal Court in The
Representatives of the Croatian government and East
Slavonic leaders agreed in October on the principles of
restoring peace in the area. Tudjman won the election on
October 29, but did not achieve the 2/3 majority he needed
to introduce a new constitution and thus confer more powers
to the president.
The drafting of an agreement between the presidents of
Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, at an air base near
Dayton, in the US, marked the cessation of direct war
actions, although there were still confrontations between
the people and UN and NATO soldiers.
Negotiations between Zagreb and Belgrade at the end of
August 1996 opened for the return of refugees. Tudjman, who
was accused of obstructing the deal, accepted that a limited
number of Serbian Croats could re-establish themselves in
his country. He was re-elected in June 1997 with 61.4% of
the vote. At the end of 1997 and early 1998, new accusations
were made of attacks by Croats during the counter-offensive
that led to Krajina's fall.