UDC 341.222(497.11:497.5)(282.243.7)
Biblid: 0543-3657, 61 (2010)
Vol. 61, No 1138, pp. 5-19

Izvorni naučni rad
Received: 12 Apr 2010
Accepted: 01 Jan 1970


Dimitrijević Duško (Viši naučni saradnik, Institut za međunarodnu politiku i privredu, Beograd), dimitrijevicd@diplomacy.bg.ac.rs

This study represents an attempt of author to describe the question of possible territorial delimitation between Croatia and Serbia on Danube River. After the demarcation of administrative line between former Yugoslav republics in 1945, the Danube had altered its’ riverbed, withdrawing Westwards from the East, thus de facto incorporating large areas of fertile land in territory of Vojvodina, Serbian northern province. Nowadays, Croatia requests the return of territory of approximately 11000 acres that had been “transferred” to Serbia due to alternation of Danube’s riverbed. Croatia bases this claim on so-called “historical rights” and measurements from cadastral survey register that had been carried out by the AustrianHungarian Empire’s officials. Those mainly went along the main current of Danube, and partially along Danube tributaries. On the other side, Serbia follows the changes of current of Danube and insists on the application of general rule for delimitation of border at Danube river along the main current (Thalweg) that proved to be the best in regards to downstream transport when the water altitude is at lowest point. On basis of the report of the Badenter Arbitration Commission, UN Security Council had adopted Resolution No. 777 and accepted the former inter-republics borders in former Yugoslavia as international borders, thus the Danube became border between Croatia and Serbia. However, in the case of delimitation on Danube River the application of the decolonization principle of uti possidetis has the limited effect of freezing the territorial status quo existing at the moment of independence of states. Because the clear legal title has not existed in the former Yugoslavia, the international law principle could be understood only in retrospective historical context which not precludes the parties from citing the contents of any indicia of title. From there, if the both states accept that the boundary follows a course of the Danube River at a certain point in history that may not coincide with the position of the river today. The application of the Thalweg as a general rule of delimitation preserves to each limitrophe State equality of right in the beneficial use of the Danube which may be important to unravel the actual confused boundary stands.

Keywords: Danube River, delimitation, internatnional law, succession of SFR Yugoslavia, principle of uti possidetis, Serbia, Croatia