Whether military service is obligatory in Croatia; if so, who is obligated to perform military service; do members of the Orthodox religion serve in the Croatian military; whether the situation differs for Orthodox and Catholics [HRV38868.E]

According to information received during separate telephone interviews on 2 April 2002 with officials of the embassies of the Republic of Croatia in Ottawa and Washington, DC, males in Croatia are obliged to perform six months of military service. Both officials said that people of the Orthodox religion as well as Catholics are obliged to perform military service, and that there is no discrimination based on religion.

The official of the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Washington, DC stated that those who do not wish to bear arms have the option to serve in non-combat situations by performing civilian service. This information is corroborated in an undated report published by the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO n.d.).

An article originating in Zagreb and published by the Paris-based Alternativna Informativna Mreza (AIM, Alternative Information Network) indicated a two-year moratorium on Serbs entering the Croatian army ended in mid-January 2000, and that now Serb males are required to enlist for military service "like all the young men of their age" (18 Jan. 2000). However, the article stated that as a result of a proposal that the moratorium be extended up to five years to "free the generation which participated in the war or still has fresh memories of it" from the obligation of military service in the Croatian army, the Ministry of Defence would allow Serb men who wished to postpone their military service following the expiry of the moratorium to submit a "personal demand" to enable them to avoid conscription for at least another year (ibid.). In the meantime they would be recruited, registered, and sent for a physical check-up (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Alternativna Informativna Mreza (AIM) [Paris]. 18 January 2000. Drago Hedl. "Serbs in the Croatian Army." http://www.aimpress.org/dyn/trae/archive/data/200001/00131-009-trae-zag.htm [Accessed 2 Apr. 2002]

Embassy of the Republic of Croatia, Ottawa. 2 April 2002. Telephone interview with official.

Embassy of the Republic of Croatia, Washington DC. 2 April 2002. Telephone interview with official.

European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO). n.d. "Conscription and CO in Croatia." http://www.terra.es/personal/beoc.ebco/COoverview/croatia.htm [Accessed 28 Mar. 2002]