Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia
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The Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia (Croatian: Hrvatska Republika Herceg-Bosna) was an entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina that existed between 1991 and 1994 during the Bosnian War. It was proclaimed on 18 November 1991 under the name Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, and claimed to be a separate or distinct "political, cultural, economic and territorial whole" in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Herzeg-Bosnia never proclaimed secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina nor declared such a goal in any official statement, officially recognizing the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
However, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) concluded[when?] that Herzeg-Bosnia was founded with the intention to secede from Bosnia and Herzegovina and unite with Croatia. According to the ICTY, these aspirations, supported by the Republic of Croatia, were manifest, among other things, by Herzeg-Bosnia's use of Croatian currency and Croatian language and the granting by the Republic of Croatia of Croatian citizenship to Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia illegal on 14 September 1992. Herzeg-Bosnia officially ceased to exist in 1994 when it was joined to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina upon the signing of the Washington Agreement by the authorities of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The official capital city of Herzeg-Bosnia was western Mostar. However, as Mostar was a war zone, the effective control centre was in Grude.
The term Herzeg-Bosnia appeared at the beginning of 20th century in some intellectual circles replacing the name Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some Croatian historians used exclusively term Herzeg-Bosnia for whole Bosnian territory, some other intellectuals using this term were Hamdija Kreševljaković, Vladko Maček and King of Yugoslavia Alexander I Karađorđević. Mladen Lorković and Dominik Mandić used both terms.
During the early 1990s, the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina used the term Herzeg-Bosnia to refer to all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the proclamation of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, the term was only used to mark this community (later Republic). After the Washington Agreement was signed in March 1994 and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was created, one of its cantons carried the term "Herzeg-Bosnia". In 1997 its name was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and officially renamed "Canton 10".
The ruling party in the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), organized and controlled a branch of the party in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZBiH). By the latter part of 1991, more extreme elements of the HDZBiH, under the leadership of Mate Boban, Dario Kordić, and others, with the support of Franjo Tuđman and Gojko Šušak, took effective control of the party. On 12 November 1991, numerous leading members of the Bosnian HDZ drafted a document that stated, among other things, that "[...] the Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina must finally undertake a decisive and active policy that should bring about the realization of our centuries-old dream: a common Croatian state." It was signed by Boban, Kordić and others.
On 18 November 1991, they proclaimed the existence of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, as a separate "political, cultural, economic and territorial whole", on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. An ICTY indictment alleged this was achieved through the use of ethnic cleansing against the non-Croat population and crimes against humanity as well as war crimes committed by the Croatian and Bosnian Croat authorities against Bosniak civilians.
Following Herzeg-Bosnia's establishment in November 1991, and especially from May 1992 forward, the Herzeg-Bosnia leadership engaged in continuing and coordinated efforts to dominate and "Croatise" (or ethnically cleanse) the municipalities which they claimed were part of Herzeg-Bosnia, with increasing persecution and discrimination directed against the Bosniak population. In January 1992, Tuđman arranged for Stjepan Kljuić, president of the Bosnian branch of the HDZ who favored cooperating with the Bosniaks towards a unified Bosnian state, to be ousted and replaced by Mate Boban, who favored a Croatian annexation of Croat-inhabited parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Croatian Defence Council (HVO), the military formation of Croats, took control of many municipal governments and services, removing or marginalising local Bosniak leaders. Herzeg-Bosnia authorities and Croat military forces took control of the media and imposed Croatian ideas and propaganda. Croatian symbols and currency were introduced, and Croatian curricula and the Croatian language were introduced in schools. Many Bosniaks were removed from positions in government and private business; humanitarian aid was managed and distributed to the Bosniaks' disadvantage; and Bosniaks in general were increasingly harassed. Many were deported to concentration camps: Heliodrom, Dretelj, Gabela, Vojno, and Šunje.
On 9 May 1992, Karadžić and Boban met in Graz and formed an agreement on the partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the same month Major General Ante Roso declared that the HVO was only legal military force in Herzeg-Bosnia (what the HVO referred to areas under their control) and stated that "all orders from TO [Territorial Defence] command (of Bosnia and Herzegovina are invalid, and are to be considered illegal on this territory. This subsequently broke Croat-Bosniak relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and between the states of the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The local HDZ leadership was included in Geneva peace talks which intended to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina into three ethnic republics; this was not accepted by Bosnian side, and on 28 August 1993, the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia declared itself the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia. (This entity, whether as the "Community" or "Republic," is referenced hereafter as 'Herceg-Bosna') Neither the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina nor the international community ever recognised Herzeg-Bosnia. The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared Herzeg-Bosnia illegal, first on 14 September 1992, and again on 20 January 1994.
The Herzeg-Bosnia leadership Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Corić, and Berislav Pušić were convicted by the ICTY for being part of a joint criminal enterprise which included mass war crimes against Bosniaks and other non-Croats during the creation of the ethnically pure Croatian quasi-state Herzeg-Bosnia on the territories of internationally recognized state of Bosnia and Herzegovina in an effort to join these areas as part of a "Greater Croatia". According to the indictment, numerous persons, including Franjo Tuđman, participated in this joint criminal enterprise. Each participant, by his or her acts, omissions, practices or conduct, both individually and in concert with or through other persons, substantially contributed to carrying out the enterprise and accomplishing its purpose. According to IWPR, transcripts from secret conversations between Franjo Tuđman and Herceg-Bosna leadership show that there was a clear intention to completely break up Bosnia-Herzegovina, and divide the territory with Serbia.
On the territory which was declared to be a part of Herzeg-Bosnia, according to the 1991 census, there were 1,238,512 people, of which:
- Croats - 556,274 (44.91%)
- Bosniaks - 398,092 (32.14%)
- Serbs - 203,612 (16.44%)
- Yugoslavs - 56,092 (4.53%)
- Others - 24,505 (1.98%)
The Bosnian War made negative effect on the population of whole Bosnia and Herzegovina, and war effect made so-called leopard fur on the ethnic maps. The mass ethnic cleansing that occurred during the war forced populations to move on the territory held by other armies. Croats moved to territories held by the Croatian Defence Council, Bosniaks to territories held by the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbs to territories held by the Army of Republika Srpska.
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In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was the poorest republic of the SFR Yugoslavia, along with Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Infrastructure and industry were poorly developed. The economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina totally faded during the Bosnian War. Many companies, which were successful before the war, were robbed and destroyed just at the beginning of the war. There weren't any economical activities, and because of the war circumstances, nobody thought of them. Agricultural output was diminished, the traffic infrastructure was in collapse, construction was almost non-existent, and unemployment was very high. As a result of the wars, between 1992 and 1995, industrial production declined by 80% and an already poor infrastructure declined further. Croats left the war the most prosperous. Former Yugoslav companies were left without headquarters which were located on the territory of Herzeg-Bosnia. All banks were based in Sarajevo.
After the proclamation of the Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, the Bosnian Government requested from the Presidential Council of Herzeg-Bosnia that a bank be established for financing the newly founded community of municipalities. In November 1992, the Croatian Bank of Mostar was founded to finance the Community and later Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia and Croatian Defence Council. In the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the official currency was the Bosnia and Herzegovina dinar, but Herzeg-Bosnia used the Croatian dinar and later the Croatian kuna and Deutschmarks.
Starting in 2005 there has been an initiative to restore Herzeg-Bosnia by creating a new third entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was started under the leadership of Ivo Miro Jović, as he said "I don't mean to reproach Bosnian Serbs, but if they have a Serb republic, then we should also create a Croat republic and Bosniak (Muslim) republic". The Croat representative on the federal Bosnian Presidency, Željko Komšić, opposed this, but some Croat politicians advocate for the establishment of a third (Croatian) entity.
Dragan Čović, president of one of the main Croatian parties in Bosnia, Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that "all Croatian parties will propose that Bosnia and Herzegovina be divided into three ethnic entities, with Sarajevo as a separate district. Croatian politicians must be the initiators of a new constitution which would guarantee Croats the same rights as to other constituent peoples. Every federal unit would have its legislative, executive and judiciary organs”. He claimed the two-entity system is untenable and that Croats have been subject to assimilation and deprived of basic rights in the federation with Bosniaks.
Petar Matanović, president of the Croatian National Council, opposed creating a third entity, claiming that the division of Bosnia into four federal units would lead to a new war. He further said that "we have to establish the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina in accordance with European standards and then regulate entities. It seems to me that this agreement entails an intention to strengthen entities and weaken the country."
Stjepan Mesić, former president of Croatia, has opposed the creation of a third entity, stating that: “if the current division of Bosnia Herzegovina into two entities does not function, it will not function with divisions into three entities”.
In 2009, Miroslav Tuđman, the son of Franjo Tuđman, called for the establishment of a Croatian entity. Čović stated, “We want to live in Bosnia-Herzegovina where Croats will be equal to the other two peoples according to the Constitution.”
18 November is celebrated as the holiday in West Herzegovina County as the day of Herzeg-Bosnia's foundation. One of the cantons of the Federation used the name "Herzeg-Bosnian Canton", but this name was deemed unconstitutional by the Federation Constitutional Court, and it is officially referred as Canton 10. A memorial plaque in honor of Herzeg-Bosnia and Mate Boban was placed in downtown Grude.
The official website of Herzeg-Bosnia contains a section, Nation Building, which states that the "Croatian counties" will seek a referendum of leaving Bosnia-Herzegovina.
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Having considered all the evidence on this topic, the Trial Chamber rejects that given on behalf of the Defence and finds that the weight of the evidence and all the circumstances point to the conclusion that the HZ H-B was founded with the intention that it should secede from Bosnia and Herzegovina and with a view to unification with Croatia.
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the authorities created a radio station which broadcast nationalist propaganda
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|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia.|
- Text of Washington Agreement
- Herzeg Bosnia Canton/County
- War in BiH from Croatian point of view
- Offical website
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