Development of Civil-Military Relations in Croatia
erschienen in der Publikation "Civil-Military Relations in South-East Europe" (ISBN: 3-901328-54-8) - April 2001
Croatia still bears bitterness, reflecting the way the Yugoslav
federation broke apart and the perceptions to the Serbian neighbour. This is why for long Croatia stayed out of the regional initiatives and efforts to improve the stability of the broader region.
In the beginning of the process of reforming the Croat civil-military relations it was the existence of regular and paramilitary formations that prevented the establishment of democratic control over the military. It was not possible to clearly define the meaning of ‘military’. This has been a deficiency of the Croat civil-military relations that barred for some time the country’s acceptance by the other democratic states of Europe.
Many issues, connected with the war of independence remain on the
agenda of civil-military relations. The veterans’ privileges, the war crimes, Croatian military participation in the war in Bosnia are still causes of potential political disagreements and tensions. Another worrying fact of Croatia’s civil-military relations is that it is hard to say what is the real number of the military in the country.
Problems of the transition in the Croatian MoD persist, which is the reason for a continuing tense relationship with the Chief of the General Staff. Other issues as past sales of arms, drugs and war crimes still influence the work of the Ministry.
On a broader scale, the security and defence system of Croatia needs to clarify which are the fundamental national interests it is based on. Respectively, the defence planning process needs to find the right link to these interests.
The stabilising role of the international military presence for Croatian society and state is not doubted. However, persisting economic and social problems hamper the reform of the armed forces and the evolution of civil-military relations towards greater democratic civilian control over the military.