By Igor Ilic and Slavoljub Leko

UNPROFOR is the biggest, the most expensive and the most complex peace operation in the history of the United Nations. Its goals were both of a military and civilian nature: to keep the peace and build confidence between the warring sides to help achieve a final political solution and restore normal life to Croatia, where it was deployed. The annual costs of the UNPROFOR operation have been estimated at US$1.2 million.

Since the beginning of the UNPROFOR mandate, the number of UN peace-keepers in Croatia has increased to currently include 15,479 men. The military contingent includes troops from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Ukraine, Poland, Jordan, the Czech Republic, Kenya, Canada, Belgium, Russia, Argentina and Nepal.

During the UNPROFOR mandate in Croatia 56 peace-keepers have been killed and 506 wounded. An advance party led by the first Force Commander, Gen. Satish Nambiar of India, arrived in Croatia March 8, 1992. to prepare the deployment of the UN Protection Force.

On April 7, 1992, the Security Council passed Resolution 749 on the full deployment of the UN Protection Force. The number of UNPROFOR personnel, including military, police and civilian staff, totaled about 14 thousand people from 29 countries. The arrival of UN peace-keepers marked the end of the spread of hostilities in Croatia. The arrival also played an important role in the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army (JNA) from Croatia and allowed humanitarian agencies to carry out their work. UN forces were deployed in three specific UN Protected Areas in Croatia which were sub-divided into four sectors: East, West, North and South.

Headquarters were originally in Sarajevo. When war broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina, headquarters was transferred first to Belgrade and then, to Zagreb in August 1992. The first UN Secretary-General's Special Representative was Cyrus Vance from the United States, whose Plan was taken as a basis for the UN peace-keeping operation.

In August 1993, the International Peace Conference on Former Yugoslavia (ICFY) took over from the London Conference. The ICFY was headed by two co-chairmen, Lord David Owen representing the European Union (and who took over from Lord Peter Carrington) and Cyrus Vance on behalf of the United Nations. In May 1993, Norway's Thorvald Stoltenberg replaced Cyrus Vance as co-chairman of the Peace Conference and the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative in former Yugoslavia.

In January 1994, the UN Secretary-General appointed Japan's Yasushi Akashi as Special Representative, he had established a reputation as a successful peace-keeper after the Cambodia operation.

The first UN Force Commander was Gen. Satish Nambiar from India, who had served from March 1992 to March 1993. He was succeeded by Gen. Lars Eric Wahlgren of Sweden, who held the post for just three months before learning of his discharge in the media.

Then there were three consecutive French commanders. The first was Gen. Jean Cot (June 1993 - March 1994), followed by Gen. Bertrand de Sauville de Lapresle (March 1994 - March 1995) and the current commander, Gen. Bertrand Janvier (March 1995 - ) The UNPROFOR command in Croatia existed from Feb 1, 1994, pursuant to UNSC Resolution 871. The first UN Commander in Croatia was Jordanian Gen. A. Ghazi Tayyeb. He was replaced by a fellow-countryman, Maj. Gen. Eid Kamel Al-Roldan on January 19, 1995.

The UNPROFOR Civil Department deals with political, legal and humanitarian issues. Its chief tasks include mediating between the sides, dealing with economic issues, helping prisoners and refugees, organizing exchanges of POWs and securing the unimpeded passage of relief convoys. First to head this department was Cedric Thornbery of Ireland, followed by Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil and Michel Moussali of Switzerland, who currently holds the post.

Besides UNPROFOR's civil and military departments, several relief and other international agencies took part in the UN peacekeeping operation in Croatia. They include the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Culture and Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Program (WFP), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the European Union Task Force (ECTF).