ZAGREB, January 11, 2020 – Chief State Prosecutor Dražen Jelenić sent a letter to the government on Friday in which he expressed his displeasure with the seating arrangement during a concert at the Croatian National Theatre held on the occasion of Croatia’s EU presidency, his office (DORH) said. Jelenić was caught on camera sitting in a box next to Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, against whom DORH has filed a number of indictments which have been upheld.
In a press release on its website, DORH referred journalists to putting questions about protocol and the seating arrangement to the organiser of Thursday night’s event.
DORH said that since Jelenić confirmed that he would attend, the organiser “could have made a seating arrangement that would not bring into doubt the independence and impartiality” of Jelenić or DORH.
Jelenić believes that staying in the box he was put in by the government’s Office for Protocol, without knowing the seating arrangement, was an appropriate reaction at an event of such high international standing, DORH said, adding that in response to the inappropriate seating arrangement, Jelenić sent the government a letter to express his displeasure.
DORH also noted that sitting at such an event next to a guest who is under criminal prosecution in no way influenced DORH’s actions.
Mayor Bandić said he did not feel bad about having sat next to Chief State Prosecutor Jelenić at yesterday’s concert. “Justice wins in the end. The presumption of innocence applies to the Zagreb mayor too,” he told reporters.
Asked if he knew he would be sitting next to Jelenić, Bandić said he was sitting in a box in which the government’s Office for Protocol placed state officials, including him as a co-host.
The Office for Protocol placed the mayor where it should have and the mayor goes where he is invited and where they sit him, he added.
The seating arrangement at the HNK concert was prepared by the Office for Protocol according to the order of precedence and respecting the fact that a high number of international guests attended the event, the government said on Friday after photos appeared of the chief state prosecutor and the Zagreb Mayor in the same box.
More news about Milan Bandić can be found in the Politics section.