The Croatian Constitutional Court rules on the verdicts against former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader.
The Constitutional Court of Croatia has decided to revoke two verdicts against former prime minister Ivo Sanader. The verdicts concern the Hypo and INA-MOL cases. The decision has been announced earlier today on the court’s official website. In both cases, the original verdicts were issued by Zagreb County Court judge Ivan Turudić. However, Sanader will not be released from prison, because the ruling against him in another case still stands.
In the case of Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank, the Constitutional Court has concluded that the County Court had not checked whether the statute of limitations had passed for the crime that Sanader allegedly committed before the statute of limitations was revoked by the amendments to the Constitution adopted in 2010. The Court ruled that the repealing of the statute of limitations for war profiteering can only be applied to crimes for which the statute of limitations had not already passed when the amendments were adopted.
Also, Sanader was tried in accordance with the Criminal Codes of 2011 and 1997, none of which was in force at the time when the alleged crimes were committed. The law that was in force at the time is not even mentioned neither in County Court verdict, nor in the Supreme Court appellate judgement.
In the case of INA-MOL, the County Court did not explain on what basis can the prime minister be considered an official who can be tried for crimes against official duty. The Criminal Code of 1997 contains a list of people who are consider to be officials, and the prime minister is not included in that list.
Also, according to the Constitutional Court, the assessment that the agreement between the government and MOL is harmful to the Republic of Croatia cannot be considered as a proof that there was corruption. It was necessary to prove that Sanader received a bribe or was promised one.
Importantly, the Constitutional Court did not consider whether Sanader is guilty for any of the crimes for which he was accused, but just whether the verdicts were in accordance with the Constitution and other laws.