The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia) was established after World War I and consisted of land that had been taken from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Yugoslavia contained numerous ethnic groups concentrated into six individual republics: Serbia (plaintiff), Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Slovenia (defendants). In 1991, Slovenia and Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia, with Macedonia and Bosnia following suit shortly thereafter. However, Serbs living in Bosnia and Croatia rebelled against separation from Serbia, and in 1992, Serbia declared its own independence as the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In response to the unrest and violence occurring in Croatia and Bosnia, the European Community (EC), a 12-member international organization, called the Conference on Yugoslavia (the Conference) to resolve disputes in the region. The Conference set up the Arbitration Commission, consisting of the heads of five European constitutional courts, to answer legal questions arising from the transformation of the region. One of the main issues before the Arbitration Commission was the issue of self-determination of national groups in the area. The president of the Conference posed numerous questions to the Arbitration Commission, first asking whether the situation in Yugoslavia constituted a dissolution of Yugoslavia itself, which the Arbitration Commission answered in the affirmative in Opinion No. 1, 31 I.L.M. 1491 (1992). Shortly thereafter, the Arbitration Commission faced the question of whether the Serbian population in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina had a right of self-determination.