Renéo Lukic et Jean-François Morel

In contrast to most of Eastern and Central European countries that underwent their post-communist transition peacefully, Croatia had to undergo its transition during wartime. The outbreak of the Serbo-Croatian war in Spring 1991 forced Croatia to build rapidly an army to protect its territory. However, at this time, Croatia was an emerging democracy and after the European Community recognised its independence on January 15, 1992, the parliamentary institutions were unable to exert their authority over the Croatian army (Hrvatska vojska, HV). The Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, and the political party he presided, the HDZ, dominated the HV by way of political penetration. Tudjman, who led Croatia to independence, benefited from a triple legitimacy (political, constitutional and charismatic) that allowed him to exert his power over the HV, much the same as the legitimacy Josip Broz-Tito enjoyed over the Yugoslav National Army in Communist Yugoslavia. The result is that the civil-military regime in Croatia after 1990 suffered from a democratic deficit. After the death of President Franjo Tudjman in December 1999 and the change of majority in the January-February 2000 elections, the new Croatian leadership, particularly President Stjepan Mesic, tried to establish democratic control over the armed forces. However, this aim clashed with the opposition of the Ministry of Defense and of numerous officers still committed to the HDZ. For these reasons, a democratic civil-military regime in Croatia is not yet a reality. However, Croatia has made some progress toward the establishment of a democratic civil-military regime. By trying to join some international organizations (NATO), or by being compelled to cooperate with others (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY), Croatia is now in the process of interiorizing the norms concerning the civilian and democratic control of the armed forces upon which these organizations are based. Being a member of the Partnership for Peace (PfP), and wishing to join as soon as possible NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP), Croatia is obliged to move in this direction.