Final Verdict of the ECHR: Croatia Responsible for Death of Madina Hosseini

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Photo: Marko Lukunic/PIXSELL
Photo: Marko Lukunic/PIXSELL reports that, in the tragic death of six-year-old Madina Hosseini, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) last year found the Republic of Croatia responsible for numerous human rights violations under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: the right to life, the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment, the prohibition of the collective expulsion of aliens, the right to security and liberty and the right to institute legal proceedings. The Republic of Croatia requested a reconsideration of the case, but the court rejected the request on Monday. The Center for Peace Studies reported on its Facebook page, stating that the case of little Madina Hosseini is finally over.

”The Grand Council of the European Court of Human Rights rejected the request of the Republic of Croatia to reconsider the case of little Madina’s family and thus reaffirmed the verdict that the Republic of Croatia violated Madina’s right to life, treated children inhumanely, kept the whole family illegally, and part of the family was collectively expelled from Croatia, and after all that, they were denied access to lawyers”, Center for Peace Studies shared on their Facebook page.


Madina Hosseini (Photo: Hosseini family)

The Office of the Croatian Representative before the European Court of Human Rights also informed that the verdict had been passed and that it had become final by rejecting the Croatian request.

”On April 4, 2022, a committee of five judges of the Grand Council of the European Court of Human Rights rejected the request of the Republic of Croatia to submit the case of MH to the Grand Council. Thus, the judgment of the Council of 18 November 2021 became final and the procedure of its execution will follow”, the Office said in a statement.

The full verdict of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of little Madina Hosseini on 18 November 2021 can be read (in Croatian) in Tportal’s original article.

This judgment of the ECHR confirms various problems that many actors have been pointing out for many years and about which we report to the Croatian Parliament, the competent authorities, and the public. This primarily refers to the lack of an effective investigation into allegations of human rights violations of migrants, which is necessary in order for the authorities to dispel suspicions or confirm the allegations, Ombudsman Tena Simonovic Einwalter said in November last year.

In this case, it also referred to the work of the police, the State Attorney’s Office, and the judiciary, with the ECHR assessing the effectiveness of the investigation in a different way than the Constitutional Court and, among other things, the way in which the effectiveness of the investigation was examined was indicated in a separate opinion by three judges. To maintain the rule of law in which no one, especially the police, can be above the law, an effective investigation is crucial, taking into account information provided by the mother and police officers about the tragic event, which includes all available information to establish the factual situation (including recordings of thermal imaging cameras, data on the movement and location of police officers by recording the signals of their mobile devices, police vehicles via GPS devices or members of the Hosseini family via their mobile devices), said Ombudswoman Simonovic Einwalter. According to the judgment of the ECHR, and as we ourselves warned, the competent authorities failed to do so, she added.

In the part related to the restriction of freedom of movement of Madina’s family with eight children, they warned that it was not clear which procedures were used during the individual assessment of whether other measures, alternatives to detention, could have served the same purpose. In doing so, the proceedings themselves were conducted in the English language, which M. Hosseini’s mother did not understand.

How has the Croatian Interior Minister responded?

The Center for Peace Studies issued a statement today stating that “after this strong and final confirmation of the verdict, the Government of the Republic of Croatia and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković can no longer turn their heads, but must urgently dismiss those responsible led by Interior Minister Davor Božinović”.


Minister of Interior, Davor Božinović, at the US-Croatian Forum in Zagreb which began yesterday. (Photo: Igor Soban/PIXSELL)

Following the ECHR ruling, Božinović said today that “his resignation is not on the table”, N1 reports.

“As a minister, I can say, as I said, that it is a tragedy. That it affects us all. Certain investigative actions have been carried out, the court has concluded what it has concluded and we need to take measures to improve the system. My resignation is not on the table.”

He said the responsibility in such cases is on the system.

“We have to see what are all the things that can and should be corrected. This was the case in other cases as well. The point of these judgments is to actually fix the system and it is always a matter of correcting what is stated as a defect. Either through certain solutions when it comes to regulations or by changing some practices. The function of the court is precisely to point out such shortcomings”, said the Minister.

Journalists also asked the minister if his position was “on ice” because of this verdict.

“Reconstruction is something the prime minister will decide on.”

For more, check out our politics section.


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