Ending The Armed Conflict In Slovenia

Ending The Armed Conflict In Slovenia

Year(s): 1991.

Location: Slovenia.

UN Regional Group: Eastern Europe.

Type of Conflict: Vertical (state-based) Intrastate Conflict with Foreign Involvement, Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Mediation of a peace agreement and an observation mission.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The EC.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: The mediation efforts of the European Community and the deployment of the European Community Monitoring Mission helped to end the armed conflict in Slovenia after ten days of fighting, preventing a much larger conflict.

Description of Case 

Slovenia was a constituent republic of socialist Yugoslavia from its creation during the Second World War. Faced with ongoing constitutional crises and, from 1989, the efforts of Serbian President Slobodan Milošević to centralise power in Yugoslavia, Slovenian leaders prepared for independence throughout 1990. Their efforts included amending the Slovenian constitution to declare the republic to be a sovereign state and placing Slovenian components of the Yugoslav armed forces under the command of the Slovenian administration, rather than the federal authorities in Belgrade.[1] In a December 1990 referendum, almost 90 percent of the electorate favoured independence. Six months later, on 25 June 1991, the Slovenian and Croatian parliaments announced the independence of their respective republics from Yugoslavia. The following day, the Yugoslav authorities dismissed the declarations as illegal and deployed the Yugoslav military to secure Slovenia’s 137 international border posts in a show of force intended to make the Slovenian leadership back down.[2] On 27 June 1991, the Slovenian armed forces began launching attacks on Yugoslav units across Slovenia.[3]

International efforts to contain the crisis began immediately. The European Community (EC), which had previously declared that it would not recognise unilateral declarations of independence from the republics of Yugoslavia, began mediating negotiations on 28 June, the day after the fighting began.[4] An initial agreement to halt the fighting and suspend Slovenia’s independence declaration until a negotiated settlement could be found was partially successful, however fighting continued across the republic. On 3 July 1991, Yugoslav forces withdrew to their barracks and the ceasefire finally came into force. Four days later, the EC hosted delegations from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Yugoslavia on the Adriatic island of Brioni. The talks culminated with a Joint Declaration which ended the conflict in Slovenia and created a framework for the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from the area.[5] The Declaration also established the European Community Monitoring Mission, which arrived in Slovenia on 15 July to supervise the disengagement process and the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from Slovenia.[6] Although the rest of the Yugoslavia was subjected to years of war, the armed conflict in Slovenia was over.

[1] Laura Silber & Allan Little. The Death of Yugoslavia. (London: Penguin, 1996) p.77

[2] Ian Traynor. “Military alert as Slovenia goes it alone.” The Guardian. (1991) Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/1991/jun/26/eu.politics (Accessed 10/12/2020); James Gow. The Serbian Project and its Adversaries. (London: Hurst, 2003) p.146

[3] Silber & Little. The Death of Yugoslavia. p.158

[4] Ibid. p.159

[5] Joint Declaration of the EC Troica and the Parties directly concerned with the Yugoslav Crisis (Brioni Accord), 1991. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/croatia-slovenia-serbia-brioni91 (Accessed 10/12/2020)

[6] Government of Canada. European Community Monitoring Mission in the Former Yugoslavia (ECMM). (Government of Canada, 2018) Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/past-operations/europe/bolster.html (Accessed 10/12/2020)