Judiciary Committee to Interview All Candidates For Supreme Court President

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This may be a consequence of a lack of experience and knowledge that is acquired through work in courts or the absence of a complete understanding of the work of judges, as well as of the wish of protagonists in the public life to gain popularity in their political community, counting on the fact that the professional status of judges requires from them to refrain from conflicts that happen in the public sphere, the Supreme Court says in its statement.

Expedient and rigid opinions on functioning of judiciary

“The media space is occupied by individuals with minimum or no experience who express expedient and rigid opinions on the functionality of the judicial authorities and the ethical deficit allegedly prevailing among judicial officials,” the Supreme Court warns.

The Court says that such arbitrary attitudes, which are not based on serious and comprehensive analyses, could be heard from the President of the Republic (Zoran Milanović), some parliamentary deputies and some members of the academic community and lawyers.

Encouraging and promoting general intolerance towards judges, by branding them as “an isolated hedonistic community which exists per se and does not answer to anyone” is unacceptable, says the Supreme Court.

The work of judges is exposed to public scrutiny and is also liable to disciplinary and criminal proceedings as established by the law, the Court says.

It also dismisses claims made by law professor Zlata Đurđević, an applicant  for the position of the new Supreme Court president, about the judicial authorities having become “an autonomous and isolated professional organisation” that elects and dismisses judges on its own, according to criteria it defines on its own.

The Supreme Court says that ideas about the need to reduce the acquired independence and autonomy of the judicial authorities are contrary to the Croatian Constitution and the EU acquis.

CCEJ: Politicians should not use simplistic or demagogic arguments

The Croatian Supreme Court recalls that the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCEJ), a body of the Council of Europe, has stated in its opinion on safeguarding the independence of the judiciary that “politicians should not use simplistic or demagogic arguments to make criticisms of the judiciary during political campaigns just for the sake of argument or in order to divert attention from their own shortcomings.”

“Neither should individual judges be personally attacked. Politicians must never encourage disobedience to judicial decisions let alone violence against judges, as this has occurred in some member states,” the CCEJ said in its press release in 2019, as quoted by the Croatian Supreme Court in its statement issued after its meeting on 18 May.

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