Croatia is today observing Independence Day in memory of 8 October 1991 when the first Croatian legislative assembly decided to sever all ties with the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).
Twenty four years ago, the first Sabor made that decision in dramatic circumstances, after it had to be relocated from the parliament headquarters in St. Mark’s Square in Zagreb’s historical centre due to an air-strike by SFRY army planes on the residence of the first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman opposite the parliament on 7 October 1991. During the air-strike, which was an attempt on Tudjman’s life, one person was killed and four were wounded and buildings in St. Mark’s Square were damaged.
The lawmakers, relocated to the INA building in Subiceva Street, downtown Zagreb, on 8 October 1991 made the historic decision on exiting the Yugoslav federation. The decision was adopted after the expiry of a three-month moratorium on the implementation of Croatia’s Independence Declaration, adopted by the parliament on 25 June 1991. Croatia’s parliament adopted the declaration of independence and launched the procedure for disassociation from the other SFRY republics. That same day Slovenia, too, declared its sovereignty and independence from the former Yugoslavia.
With mediation from the international community, in order to facilitate negotiations on disassociation from the former Yugoslavia, the Brijuni Declaration was adopted, establishing that the enforcement of the 25 June 1991 constitutional decision should be postponed for three months. When the moratorium expired on 8 October 1991, Croatia severed all ties with the other Yugoslav republics, becoming a free democracy. October 8 is observed as Independence Day, and June 25 is observed as Statehood Day.(Hina