- Published: May 21, 2014
Croatia: Support to the Reform of Criminal Proceedings
Project Leader: Jürgen Dehn
RTA: Dr. Marina Thode
Responsible at the IRZ: Beatrix Tatay, Petra Fortuna
Since 2011, the IRZ had been implementing this project, which ultimately continued for 25 months, to support the reform of criminal procedure together with the French junior partner "Justice Coopération Internationale". The Ministry of Justice was the recipient of the benefits on the Croatian side with overall management responsibility. It coordinated cooperation with the courts, the Office of the Public Prosecutor General and the police. The implementation phase of the project culminated with the concluding event on 12 July 2013. It has since then been in the settlement phase, which is still in progress. The main objective of the project was to familiarise the staff of these institutions with the new Code of Criminal Procedure, which has been in force for all criminal proceedings in Croatia since 1 September 2011. The investigation procedure in particular has undergone considerable change. As is the case in Germany, Croatia has opted to place investigations in the hands of the public prosecutor. It is following a European trend in doing so. Previously it was largely the investigating judge who was responsible for this. The activity of the public prosecutor is now under the control of the newly-created investigating judge, who is to guarantee the protection of the individual's freedom rights. The new role distribution between the public prosecution office and the court also requires a redefinition of the relationship between the public prosecution office and the police. All the activities of the project have been successfully implemented. The main focus was placed on training courses for judges, public prosecutors and police officers. The project implementation phase was extended by four months because the Croatian Constitutional Court had declared parts of the reform of criminal procedure law to be null and void. This related above all to the protection of the rights of the accused. A new fourth component was therefore introduced to focus on support for the renewed reform of criminal procedure law, in which the project partners cooperated on legislation. Furthermore, the successful training courses from the first three components were repeated and it was ascertained whether a "House of Youth Law" can be established in Croatia along German lines. Finally, IT cooperation between the police, the public prosecution office, the courts and the correctional services was analysed.