Details/Information for Canadian Forces (CF) Operation BOLSTER

CF Overseas Operations have most often operated within the construct of an international mandate. As such, the International Information is presented first in order to provide the context of the Canadian Operation (displayed second). Eventually, all rotations associated with the particular Canadian operation will also be displayed.

International Information

International Operation Name: European Community Monitoring Mission in the Former Yugoslavia

International Mission Name: European Community Monitoring Mission in the Former Yugoslavia (ECMMY)

Mandating Organization: United Nations

Region Name: Europe

Location: Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia

Mission Date: 15 July 1991 - 31 December 2000

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Canadian Forces (CF) Information (BOLSTER)

The break up of Yugoslavia began on 25 June 1991 when the representatives of the republics of Slovenia and Croatia declared independence in the Yugoslavian National Assembly. Two days later the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) marched into Slovenia in an attempt to maintain control of Slovenian border stations. Fierce fighting ensued over the next two weeks, by the end of which Slovenia's territorial militia had defeated the JNA.

On 7 July 1991, during a third visit to Yugoslavia by European Community (EC) representatives, a Cease Fire Agreement was negotiated between Slovenia and the remaining Yugoslav Republic. The Agreement, known as the Brioni Accord, established a cooling-off period of three months, while Federal (JNA) troops were to return to their barracks, and local Slovenian militia were deactivated. It also called for observers to monitor the ceasefire agreement and the withdrawal of JNA forces from Slovenia. With this agreement, the European Community Monitoring Mission (ECMM) was established.

The staff of the ECMM was recruited from twelve EC countries as well as some member countries of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) (Canada, Sweden, Poland, Slovak Republic and Czech Republic). On 15 July 1991, the first twenty EC Monitors arrived in Slovenia and by 1994 the mission had grown to approximately 160 monitors, or monitor equivalent positions. By then the mission was operating from seven Regional Centers (RC): Zagreb, Knin, Zenica, Belgrade, Szeged (Hungary), Sofia (Bulgaria), and Tirana (Albania).

Dressed completely in white and driving unmarked white vehicles, each monitor team consisted of two monitors, a driver, and a translator. Their role was to collect information about the military situation in their area of responsibility; facilitate contacts between the different factions and participate in negotiations; work with humanitarian organizations, to monitor the human rights situation; and report violations of the no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Name: BOLSTER

Date: 9 September 1991 - 31 August 1994

Canadian Task Force Mission Statement:

To help stabilize the ceasefire [by]:

Also to:

CF Mission/Operation Notes:

Canada's participation in the ECMM was called Operation BOLSTER, and began on 09 Sept 1991 with the arrival of the first three of the contingent's officers, followed by the remainder of the team by the middle of November, bringing the initial deployed strength to eleven. Their mission was to "provide CF support to the EC Monitor Mission in Yugoslavia". Following the initial deployment, the mission became known as the Canadian Contingent to the European Community Monitoring Mission in the Former Yugoslavia or CCECMMY.

Canadian officers occupied a disproportionate number of supervisory positions within the ECMM, including Chief of Operations at ECMM headquarters in Zagreb; heads of three Regional Centers; three Senior Operations Officer positions in Regional Centers, and two in the Headquarters cell. Between September 1991 and late August 1994, Canada provided six deployments of ten officer monitors and two support staff to the ECMM.

In July of 1994, the Government of Canada began to make enquiries about withdrawing from the mission. By the early August it had made the decision, based on an increasing number of UN commitments, to terminate its commitment to the ECMM and by the end of August the last members of the team were repatriated to Canada.