Participation of CAF members in the UN peacekeeping missions from 1999 to 2009

The Republic of Croatia even during the Homeland War (1993) made the first step closer to participating in peacekeeping operations. Then we tried to send 50 members of the Armed Forces (engineer platoon for demining, military observers and staff officers) in the peacekeeping operation in Azerbaijan, under the auspices of the then Conference on Security and Cooperation (CSCE). Although Croatian soldiers were eventually not sent to the aforementioned peacekeeping operation, because the same was never established, it was worth effort, both in terms of international affirmation of the Republic of Croatia and its policy of resolving disputes through peaceful means and in terms of affirmation of the CAF as the armed forces of adaptive to modern circumstances and needs.

Chronological overview of the CAF members' involvement in the UN peacekeeping missions

Currently (October 15, 2009), 455 members of the Croatian Armed Forces have been deployed in 12 peacekeeping missions and operations, out of whom 142 have been deployed in UN peacekeeping missions, 311 in NATO led operations (ISAF - Afghanistan - 291, KFOR - Kosovo - 20) and 2 in the EU peace support operations.

Since the beginning of participation, from 1999 to the end of September 2009, over 2500 members of the Armed Forces have been engaged in the UN, NATO and EU missions.

UNAMSIL (United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone) - September 1999

Croatia began its participation in peacekeeping operations by sending 10 military observers in peacekeeping operation under the auspices of the UN in Sierra Leone - UNAMSIL, in September 1999. Since 1999 until 2003 Croatia implemented the annual rotation of 10 officers, and in 2004 the number of Croatian military observers was reduced to 6. Members of the Croatian Armed Forces took part in this peacekeeping mission to its successful completion in December 2005.
Total of 57 CAF officers participated in the mission.

UNMEE (United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea) - March 2001

After UNAMSIL, in March 2001, 5 military observers were sent in Ethiopia and Eritrea - UNMEE. CAF continued to participate in this mission until the 31st of July 2008 when the mandate ended. In fact, during 2005 there was a deterioration of the peace process, after which Eritrea has sent a request for UNMEE members from the United States, Canada and European countries, including Russia to withdraw from its territory. The inability to achieve an acceptable solution to the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Security Council passed a unanimous decision to end UNMEE mission after eight years of operations.

UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan) -August 2002

In 2002, CAF members were sent to the UN observer group in India and Pakistan - UNMOGIP. The first two Croatian military observers were sent to UNMOGIP mission in August 2002. Since then, in regular rotations of officers, which typically followed after a one-year of duty, Croatia was constantly increasing the number of Croatian officers in the mission, in which currently have been deployed 9 Croatian military observers. Since December 2005 until December 2007 the Commander of the mission was Croatian Major General Dragutin Repinc, which was also the highest duty a Croatian representative at the United Nations served.

MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) - December 2002

In December 2002, two military observers were sent in the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara - MINURSO. The same as in the UNNMOGIP mission, the number of Croatian officers increased each year and currently eight Croatian military observers have been deployed in the mission.

UNMISET (United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor) - July 2003

Since July to December 2003, 2 military physicians participated as part of the Slovak Republic medical contingent in East Timor - UNMISET. This expanded the structure of Croatian participation in the UN peacekeeping missions, in which until then were only officers as military observers, and created an opportunity to acquire experience from the international operations of the Croatian military experts. After returning of two Croatian military physicians from the mission in December 2003, CAF completed participation in the mission in East Timor.

UNMIL (United Nations Mission in Liberia) - October 2003

Participation of the first three CAF officers in this difficult UN mission began in October 2003, and since it was about specific duties in the Mission Command, it was necessary for officers to have previous experience in peacekeeping missions. By participating in the UNMIL peacekeeping mission, members of the armed forces have proven themselves on very complex and responsible tasks (deputy head of military air operations in the mission, on operational tasks and in the organization of training in the Command Mission). Three Croatian staff officers have been currently participating in the UNMIL mission.

MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) - June 2004

First CAF staff officer was sent to the UN mission in Haiti – MINUSTAH in June 2004 on the duty of military psychologists. His role in the mission was to provide psychological support to members of the mission under traumatic stress, to train mission command members on the issue of stress control and preventive activities to control stress in the contingents. In addition to the position of military psychologists, since 2007 CAF had another two officers in MINUSTAH mission, one on operational duty in the Mission Command, and the other on the duty of public relations officer. Since June 2009, CAF stopped sending military psychologist in the MINUSTAH mission and by the end of the mandate of the two remaining officers in the mission (in October and November 2009), members of the Croatian Armed Forces will not continue to participate in this mission.

UNOCI (United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire) - August 2004

In August 2004, CAF members were sent for the first time to Côte d'Ivoire UNOCI mission as military observers. Until August 2007 three Croatian military observers participated in the mission, and since then, according to the request of the UN Peacekeeping Operations Department, only two officers. By returning of the two CAF officers from the mission in August 2009, Croatia has ended its participation in the mission.

UNFICYP (United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus) - September 2004

In September 2004, 2 staff officers incorporated in the Slovak-Hungarian contingent were sent in the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus - UNFICYP. In April 2006, number of Croatian officers in the mission was increased and currently four members of the Croatian Armed Forces have been deployed to the UNFICYP mission.  Although of reduced risk in terms of security, the mission is very demanding from the professional point of view due to the dynamic cooperation, frequent visits and demanding position of liaison officer.

UNOMIG (United Nations Mission in Georgia) - March 2005

In 2005, Croatian officers have begun to participate in the UN mission in Georgia - UNOMIG. First Croatian military observer was sent in the UNOMIG mission in March 2005. Number of military observers each year increased and from October 2007 three Croatian military observers have been deployed in the mission area. After Russia vetoed the decision of the UN Security Council to extend the UNOMIG mandate, all activities ended. Mission ended on the 16 of June 2009, and the remaining two Croatian officers returned from the mission in July this year.

UNMIS (United Nations Mission in Sudan) - April 2005

Croatia accepted to participate in the UN mission in Sudan - UNMIS, since its establishments in 2005. The first three members of the Croatian Armed Forces were sent to the duty of staff officers at the UNMIS Headquarters in Khartoum in April 2005. At the end of that year another two officers were sent to the mission, which makes total of 5 CAF officers assigned to the staff officers duties.

Inclusion in the new missions were particularly intensified in 2007, when Croatian participation began in the UN mission in Nepal - UNMIN, at the Joint UN office in Sierra Leone - UNIOSIL, Lebanon - UNIFIL, and in Burundi - BINUB. Finally, in 2008, first CAF unit was sent to the UN mission on Golan Heights - UNDOF, as a result of efforts for inclusion in the composition of the Austrian contingent, that begun back in 2005.

UNIOSIL (United Nations Integration Office in Sierra Leone) - June 2007

The Republic of Croatia, which was included from the very beginning in the peacekeeping efforts in Sierra Leone, sent in June 2007 one liaison officer to the Joint UN Integration Office in Sierra Leone on the duty of military advisor in the Department of Civil and Military Police Support in Freetown. His term ended in December 2007 when there was a reduction of the mission in two segments, in military part and in the area of human rights. In the status of military observer, the officer ended his participation in the mission in the end of December 2007.

UNMIN (United Nations Mission in Nepal) - July 2007

Two Croatian officers as military observers were sent to the area of the UN peacekeeping mission in Nepal – UNMIN in July 2007 for a period of one year. Upon completion of their mandate, Croatia did not receive an invitation to make a substitution.

UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon) - July 2007

First Croatian officer sent to the mission in July 2007 was assigned to the staff officer's duty in the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura (southern Lebanon). CAF continues to participate in the mission with one officer.

BINUB (United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi) - September 2007

The first Croatian officer was sent to the Integrated Office in Burundi in September 2007. His mandate was extended until the beginning of June 2009. Since September 2009 CAF member will not participate in BINUB.

UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) - May 2008

The first two Croatian officers were sent to the mission in May 2008. First CAF unit was deployed in the area of peacekeeping mission in early June 2008. Since June 2009 third Croatian contingent has been deployed on the Golan Heights.

MINURCAT (United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad) - January 2009

The first officer of the Croatian Armed Forces was sent to the area of the mission in January 2009 on the staff officer's duty, and since March 2009 the other CAF officer was sent to the mission. Since April 2009, 15 CAF Special Operation Battalion members, who until then had acted within the EUFOR mandate, continued to operate under the UN mandate in the Central African Republic and Chad. Their participation will end in October 2009.

UNMOVIC (UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission)

Since December 2002 until March 2003 two Croatian experts participated in the UNMOVIC work, established in December 1999 to replace the previous UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and continued with a mandate to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biological weapons and missiles of range greater than 150 km) and with the implementation of systematic monitoring and verification of Iraqi compliance with the obligations that imposed the UN Security Council. One of them was a member of the Croatian Armed Forces and the other was from the Rudjer Boskovic Institute.
UNMOVIC has suspended its inspection activities since the 18th of March 2003, following decisions of the UN Secretary General to withdraw all UN personnel from Iraq.

Since 1999 until today, the participation of the CAF members in the UN peacekeeping missions constantly increased, both, in the number of peacekeeping operations and in the number of participants.

Participation of the CAF members in other missions

In addition to participation in the UN peacekeeping missions, the Republic of Croatia has been participating in a NATO led peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan (ISAF), participated in the EU operation (EUFOR) in Chad and Central African Republic, and since 2009 has been participating in KFOR (Kosovo) and ATALANTA (European Union peacekeeping operation in the Gulf of Aden) operations.

Participation in the ISAF began in February 2003 by sending 50 members of the CAF military police, staff officers and NCOs. Since then the number of members has been constantly increasing. Considerable enlargement was in 2006 when we substantially increased diversity of capabilities in the mission. Today in Afghanistan we have nearly 300 Croatian soldiers.

From October 2008, for the first time, Croatian Reconnaissance Team (15 members) was deployed in the EU (EUFOR) operation in Chad and Central African Republic for 6 months. The operation ended its mandate on the 15th of March 2009 when it was continued under the UN mandate.

First Croatian contingent, composed of 20 members of the Croatian Armed Forces and 2 Mi-171-Sh transport helicopters, was sent on the 1st of July 2009 to the NATO peacekeeping operation in Kosovo (KFOR). The basic task of the Croatian contingent is hauling people and cargo.

Participation of the CAF members in the "EU NAVFOR Somalia - ATALANTA" peacekeeping operation has began since April 2009 by sending the first member of the Croatian Navy to the "Aconit" French frigate engaged in the Gulf of Aden. Another naval officer was sent in August 2009 to the Belgium frigate "Marie Louise".

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