“The European Commission clearly said in this year’s rule-of-law report on Croatia that there are certain controversies and that there is a certain disparagement of some judges. We know who that comes from, it certainly didn’t come from the government,” Malenica told the press.
He said the Commission’s report was measured and that, to a large extent, it provided a fair overview of the situation, recognising certain shortcomings and confirming certain improvements.
Malenica said the shortcomings concerned the length of proceedings and backlogs.
“However, the report says that certain progress has been made in that area by shortening court proceedings and gradually reducing backlogs,” he said, adding that the Commission highlighted as improvements an increase in transparency via the publication of officials’ declarations of assets, further investment in the digitalisation of the justice system, and the gradual strengthening of judicial bodies’ capacities.
The investigation and prosecution of corruption crimes have also been highlighted as an improvement, the minister added.
After last year’s report, he said, the Justice Ministry undertook certain activities to amend legislation with a view to reducing backlogs and the length of proceedings.
Croatia has no problem with rule of law, but there is room for progress
“Croatia is not ranked among countries that have problems with the rule of law and it is not being discussed in the European Parliament nor has it been exposed to special resolutions being adopted, as is the case with Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia,” Malenica said, adding that room for progress existed.
“We are confident that, through the National Resilience and Recovery Plan, in which we envisaged 13 reforms and six investments, the image of the situation in the Croatian judiciary will additionally improve.”
Asked about the dismissal of SLAPP lawsuits against journalists, Malenica said they should be viewed in a broader context.
“The Culture and Media Ministry has formed a task force to deal with that issue… This government and the Culture and Media Ministry are willing to consider the issue of SLAPP lawsuits in a wider task force.”
He said that last year there were 250 of these lawsuits but he could not say how many were upheld.
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