On 8 October 1991, the Croatian Parliament declared independence from Yugoslavia.
Croatia is marking the Independence Day, remembering 8 October 1991, the day when the Croatian Parliament unanimously passed the Decision on the Termination of Links Between the Republic of Croatia and Other Republics and Provinces of the Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Parliament found that the Republic of Croatia would no longer consider as legitimate any institution of the former Yugoslavia and would not recognise any legal act of any such institution acting on behalf of the former federation, reports Jutarnji List on October 8, 2017.
The parliamentary decision was passed after a three-month moratorium on the Constitutional Declaration of Independence and Sovereignty, which was adopted by the Parliament on 25 June 1991. The entry into force of this declaration was postponed for three months on the basis of the Brijuni Declaration signed on 7 July 1991, at the request of the European Community, in order to try to resolve the Yugoslav crisis peacefully.
On the same day when the moratorium on the Independence Declaration expired, the Yugoslav National Army fighter jets attacked the historic centre of Zagreb and the Banski Dvori palace, which housed the offices of the then state leadership, headed by President Franjo Tuđman. Due to these circumstances and possible new airstrikes against Zagreb, the historic session of the Parliament on 8 October was held in the basement of the INA building in Šubićeva street in Zagreb.
The decision by which the Parliament declared the end of the dissolution process of Yugoslavia confirmed that Yugoslavia as a federation of states no longer existed. “The Republic of Croatia, on 8 October 1991, terminates its links on the basis of which it had, together with other republics and provinces, comprised the former Yugoslavia.”
The Croatian Parliament then stated that the Republic of Croatia would no longer recognise any legal act of institutions acting on behalf of the former federation. The Parliament noted in separate conclusions that the Republic of Croatia was hit by an armed aggression by the Republic of Serbia and the so-called Yugoslav National Army (JNA) and therefore the Republic of Croatia was forced to defend itself with all available means.
The JNA was proclaimed to be an aggressor and an occupation army which must without delay leave the Croatian territory, which it temporarily occupied. The Parliament also called on all the states, especially members of the European Community and the United Nations, to establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Croatia. At the same parliamentary session, the Parliament also passed 15 laws required for the independence and sovereign of the Republic of Croatia to be realised.
The Independence Day was first marked in Croatia in 2001 when it was introduced as a national holiday at the initiative of politician Ivo Škrabalo.
In 1990, the first democratic elections were held in April and May when the ruling communist party was defeated. On 22 December 1990, the then ruling HDZ led the adoption of the first multi-party constitution of the Republic of Croatia – the Christmas Constitution, which is still in force. The following year, in April, a decision was made to call a referendum on the status of the Republic of Croatia. On 19 May 1991, the referendum was held, and the vast majority of the Croatian people demonstrated their wish for a free, independent and the sovereign Republic of Croatia.
The results of the referendum and the will of the people were respected by all Croatian bodies, so the Parliament adopted the Constitutional Declaration of Independence and Sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia on 25 June. Shortly after that, the Serbian aggression against Croatia began. The Brijuni Declaration was signed, by which the JNA was supposed to withdraw to the barracks, while Croatia and Slovenia, which had declared independence on the same day as Croatia, agreed to postpone the implementation of the dissolution process in order to resolve the crisis peacefully.
After the moratorium had passed, on 7 October 1991 the JNA fighter jets bombarded the historical core of the Croatian capital Zagreb, including the Banski Dvori palace, which was the seat of the state leadership. One person was killed in the attack, but the highest government officials were unhurt.
Due to these circumstances and the possible new airstrikes against Zagreb, the session of the Croatian Parliament on 8 October 1991 was held at the then-undisclosed location, which was later discovered to have been the basement of the INA corporate building in Šubićeva street in Zagreb, where the Decision on the Termination of Links Between the Republic of Croatia and Other Republics and Provinces of the Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was passed.
About three months later, on 15 January 1992, in the midst of the Homeland War, the 12 member states of the European Community decided to recognise the independence of Croatia and Slovenia. In the following months, similar decisions were made by Russia, China, the United States and many other countries, while in May Croatia became a member of the United Nations.
Translated from Jutarnji List.