After Receiving Slovenian Fines, Croatian Fishermen Meet with Justice Minister

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, February 2, 2018 – Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković informed Savudrija Bay fishermen during their meeting in Umag on Thursday evening that the Croatian authorities provided them with legal assistance and accordingly hired a law firm in Ljubljana that would on Monday lodge appeals against penalty notices sent to the fishermen for what Ljubljana treats as crossing the Slovenian border without permission.

After the hour-long meeting in the coastal town of Umag, Minister Bošnjaković said that he and the fishermen had discussed all the relevant issues.

There are several penalty notices sent to a certain number of the fishermen in Savudrija and we have provided them with legal assistance in line with our promise. The first important step is to lodge appeals against those penalty notices, the Croatian minister said adding that lawyer Miha Kozinc, who has the office in Ljubljana and who served as Slovenian justice minister in 1993, was proposed to the fishermen for the task of lodging the complaints.

Asked by the press what could be further expected given that hiring the law firm was just a stopgap measure, Bošnjaković said that Croatia was committed to talks and dialogue. “We are going step by step, now we are at the stage of lodging the appeals,” the Minister said.

As regards Slovenia’s threats to ban fishermen from entering the Slovenian territory, Bošnjaković said that Croatia “will launch constitutional and legal proceedings”.

Our lawyer will call for constitutional and legal remedies that show that such ban is “neither proportionate nor justified and is not in accordance with the European spirit,” the Croatian Minister said.

A representative of the local fishermen, Robert Momić, said after the meeting that the participants had been satisfied with the talks and that they would continue cooperating with the Croatian government.

One of the fishermen who received fines, Diego Makovac, said that the law firm had been hired on their behalf and the fishermen would not pay the lawyer’s costs, and for the time being the fishermen were satisfied.

Slovenia has started sending the first misdemeanour orders to Croatian fishermen it claims are fishing in its waters.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said earlier on Thursday said that Justice Minister Bošnjaković would visit Umag and Savudrija during the day to inform local fishermen of how they can get appropriate legal aid so that they would not be put in any unfavourable position as a result of not paying fines sent to them by Slovenia. “Fisherman can be at ease, the government will persist with its stance and the obligations it has taken on,” Plenković said.

Following Slovenia’s unilateral and unnecessary move and its unilateral implementation of the arbitration ruling, he continued, “we have responded reciprocally and Croatian police have issued several fines to Slovenian fishermen.”

“We will protect Croatian interests, territory and fishermen against this scenario but it is important to emphasise that this is all happening only because Slovenia embarked on unilaterally doing something that is neither in the spirit of good neighbourly relations nor in accordance with international law,” the Prime Minister said, adding that that certainly wasn’t the way of dialogue and agreement.

“The Slovenians are those who transferred a problem between countries onto the concrete lives of our fellow citizens, which is one of the unwanted and worst scenarios,” he underscored.


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