Professor Davor Derenčinović Elected as New European Court Judge of Human Rights

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Boris Scitar/Vecernji List/Pixsell
Boris Scitar/Vecernji List/Pixsell

Jutarnji List quoted professor Davor Derenčinović, who will take up the position of European judge for human rights on January 2, 2022, as saying: ”It is a great thing to be elected a judge of the European Court of Human Rights. It is an honorable and responsible function. I am the third judge from Croatia. Professors Nina Vajić and Ksenija Turković, whose term is expiring, were the first Croatian jurists to be elected for the position. This is also a recognition for the Faculty of Law in Zagreb because all three of us have come from that Faculty.”

As reported by Jutarnji List, Derenčinović points out that the positive thing is that the Council of Europe assessed that the list of Croatian candidates is of very high quality, since all three passed the first filters. Namely, in addition to Derenčinović, the candidates were Lovorka Kušan, a judge of the Constitutional Court, and Marin Mrčela, a judge of the Supreme Court. The final election was put to a vote by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Out of 207 votes, 4 were invalid, and of the remaining Derenčinović received the most, 133 votes, followed by Lovorka Kušan with 65 and Judge Mrčela with only 5 votes.

When asked what his expectations are for his new position, Derenčinović said that these are advocacy for the rule of law, for human rights, which is the focus of the Council of Europe, and noted that the European Union, which has 830 million inhabitants, is fraught with many challenges. About whether she expects almost all cases related to the right of women to abortion, about which there are current controversies in the European Parliament and divisions after the Croatian MEP Predrag Fred Matić presented a resolution on the general right to abortion, Derenčinović gave a principled answer that the European Court of Human Rights deals with all topics, according to all relevant articles of the Convention. 

”I cannot take any position on anything, because everything can be the subject of a decision in the Court”, said Derenčinović, who, he says, is not sorry to leave the Department of Criminal Law because he does not leave it forever. Namely, after the expiration of his nine-year term in Strasburg, he intends to return to lectures at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, and Judge Turković, whose term expires, is returning to the same chair.

Derenčinović was born in 1970 in Zagreb, where he also graduated from the Faculty of Law and received his doctorate in 2000. He studied in the USA, Germany, and Great Britain. He lectured at postgraduate studies in Croatia at the Faculties of Law in Rijeka and Osijek, then in Sarajevo, Mostar … His rich biography also states that he was an invited lecturer in the USA, Slovenia, and Great Britain.

He was the president of the Croatian Association for Criminal Sciences and Practice, participated in legislative work, and wrote legal comments. He is the Vice-President of GRETA, the Council of Europe’s anti-trafficking expert body. He has been an ad hoc judge at the Court of Human Rights for almost ten years, has been a member of expert groups at the Council of Europe for the fight against terrorism and corruption, and has been a member of the Ethics Election Commission on several occasions. In his CV, he also mentions membership in the Commission of Iustitia et pax of the Croatian Bishops ‘Conference and in the Legal Committee of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the EU (COMECE). He is the President of the Croatian Academy of Legal Sciences.

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