Twinning project to support the Croatian prison system: Dr. Peter Best, Project Leader; Katharina Tegeder, IRZ; Siegfried Löprick, long-term advisor (from left to right)
Twinning project to support the Croatian prison system: Dr. Peter Best, Project Leader; Katharina Tegeder, IRZ; Siegfried Löprick, long-term advisor (from left to right)

Legal Policy Situation

On 1 July 2013, Croatia joined the European Union as its 28th member. Accession took place after a lengthy period of Croatia’s approximation to the EU, which was intensively supported by various programmes, including those of the IRZ. The modernisation of the country and the continuation of reforms, such as the privatisation of government enterprises, continue to be Croatia’s main task.

Overall Concept

With Croatia’s accession to the EU, the focus of the IRZ’s activities has shifted according to its mandate from bilateral collaboration to cooperation within the framework of EU projects. In the period under review, the IRZ was involved as a partner in various EU projects in the region and thus provided advisory support during the reform process.

Projects financed by the European Union

EU Twinning Project: Support to further development and strengthening of the Probation Service in Croatia

This Twinning project, conducted by the IRZ and the Spanish partner institution FIIAPP (International and Ibero-American Foundation of Administration and Public Policies), the Secretariat General of the Prison Services in Spain (SGIP) and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia, was successfully concluded in 2017. The overarching goal of the project was to strengthen the efficiency of the judiciary of the Republic of Croatia in the criminal justice system. The total budget was EUR 700,000.

The project was implemented in the period from 15 April 2016 to 15 July 2017. The main components included:

  • Strengthening the probation system by improving the institutional capacity of the probation facilities
  • Further development of sustainable basic and further training in the probation service
  • Supporting the introduction of a pilot project for electronic monitoring
  • Improving the public perception of probation service (under consideration of financial and social aspects)

Training programmes for long-term needs were developed in 2017. Tried and tested practices and acknowledged principles of probation were exchanged in a large number of workshops, training measures, seminars and study visits in Germany and Spain.

The team consisted of experts from different member states: Spain, Germany, Romania and Belgium. They achieved the project targets in cooperation with Croatian experts from police authorities, the correctional and probation services, as well as judges and public prosecutors.

EU Twinning Project: Support to the prison system of the Republic of Croatia

This project, too, was conducted with the Spanish partner institution FIIAPP (International and Ibero-American Foundation of Administration and Public Policies) and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia. It commenced on 9 March 2016 and ended on 8 June 2017. The targeted goals were achieved in this period. The overarching goal of the project was to support the Croatian penitentiary system by increasing the qualification of the staff and improving management within the system. Furthermore, the implementation was to be supported of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Croatian prison system. The concrete project goal was to develop and implement a long-term system for the further training of prison officers.

The project consisted of two components: the first component examined the relevant legislation and proposed improvements. Additionally, the organisational structure of the training centre for the prison system was reviewed and adapted to EU standards. A training strategy was developed, as well as long-term training programmes and respective training materials. The strategy and these materials were published on the training centre’s website. Moreover, trainers were trained, who in turn trained prison staff. Furthermore, a study trip was conducted for five prison officers. In the second component, training programmes and corresponding materials for the juvenile penitentiary system were developed and published on the training centre’s website. A study trip was also carried out in this field. Here, special emphasis was placed on public relations.

Outlook

It is planned to provide continued support for the reforms in Croatia within the framework of EU projects and to implement projects with further partners.