Domovinski rat! The Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995 between Croat forces loyal to the government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY)—and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and local Serb forces, with the JNA ending its combat operations in Croatia by 1992. In Croatia, the war is primarily referred to as the Homeland War (Domovinski rat) and also as the Greater-Serbian aggression (Velikosrpska agresija). In Serbian sources, War in Croatia (Rat u Hrvatskoj) is the most commonly used public term.
A majority of Croats wanted Croatia to leave Yugoslavia and become a sovereign country, while many ethnic Serbs living in Croatia, supported by Serbia, opposed the secession and wanted Croatia to remain a part of Yugoslavia. Most Serbs effectively sought a new Serb state within a Yugoslav federation, including areas of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina with ethnic Serb majorities or significant minorities, and attempted to conquer as much of Croatia as possible. In 2007, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) returned a guilty verdict against Milan Martić, one of the Serb leaders in Croatia, for having colluded with Slobodan Milošević and others to create a "unified Serbian state". Between 2008 and 2012, the ICTY had prosecuted Croatian generals Ante Gotovina, Mladen Markač and Ivan Čermak for alleged involvement in the crimes related to Operation Storm. Čermak was acquitted outright, and the convictions of Gotovina and Markač were later overturned by an ICTY Appeals Panel. The International Court of Justice dismissed Croatia and Serbia genocide claims in 2015. While it reaffirmed that serious crimes against civilians were committed by both sides and that these acts constitute some basic elements of genocide, it ruled that the genocidal intent was not present.
The JNA tried to keep Croatia within Yugoslavia by occupying all of Croatia. After they failed to do this, Serbian forces established the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) within Croatia. After the ceasefire of January 1992 and international recognition of the Republic of Croatia as a sovereign state, the front lines were entrenched, the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was deployed, and combat became largely intermittent in the following three years. During that time, the RSK encompassed 13,913 square kilometers (5,372 sq mi), more than a quarter of Croatia. In 1995, Croatia launched two major offensives known as Operation Flash and Operation Storm, which would effectively end the war in its favor. The remaining United Nations Transitional Authority for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) zone was peacefully reintegrated into Croatia by 1998.
The war ended with Croatian victory, as it achieved the goals it had declared at the beginning of the war: independence and preservation of its borders. 21–25% of Croatia's economy was ruined, with an estimated US$37 billion in damaged infrastructure, lost output, and refugee-related costs. A total of 20,000 people were killed in the war, and refugees were displaced on both sides. The Serb and Croatian governments began to progressively cooperate with each other but tension remains, in part due to verdicts by the ICTY and lawsuits filed by each country against the other.