Speaking to Hina, Malenica said that in a little over two years the ministry had sent 274 pardon applications to the President’s Office, enclosing reports prepared by the ministry based on the Pardons Act.
Until now, the president has not exercised his constitutional power to pardon someone and if this happens now, it would be a precedent in Milanović’s term, he added.
Malenica said that during his presidential campaign, Milanović said the pardon institute was a relict of the past which he would not use. “If this has happened now, it’s up to President Milanović to explain his political decision to pardon someone.”
Malenica went on to say that in taking over the sentences against Mustač and Perković, Croatian courts had acted in line with the law “because the proceedings were upheld at all levels of the judicial authority and the decisions are final.”
“This is the very early stage of serving a prison sentence for the gravest crimes,” he added.
Perković and Mustač, former Yugoslav and Croatian intelligence officials, were sentenced by a German court in August 2016 to life for assisting in the murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Đureković in Germany in July 1983. On Tuesday, their attorney Anto Nobilo announced pardon motions.
Explaining the procedure, Malenica said the motion was submitted to the Justice Ministry, which requested from the prison and the relevant judge all relevant information for writing a report on the motion.
According to the media, Nobilo’s motion is to be signed by retired generals Ante Gotovina, Ivan Čermak, Ljubo Ćesić Rojs, Pavao Miljavac, Davor Domazet Lošo, and Marinko Krešić, who has said he is considering withdrawing his signature, which general Krešimir Ćosić has already done.
The media have reported that the generals feel that Perković and Mustač deserve to be pardoned because of their contribution to the creation of the Croatian state and its defence.
Germany requested their extradition from Croatia as Croatia was entering the EU, which took place in July 2013, whereby Croatia assumed the obligation to execute the European Arrest Warrant.
After the warrant for them was issued, the Croatian parliament passed a law on judicial cooperation in criminal matters with EU member states, under which the EAW would not apply to crimes committed prior to 7 August 2002. This prevented the extradition of Perković, so the law was dubbed Lex Perković.
Despite that, Croatian courts extradited Perković and Mustač to Germany. Due to Lex Perković, as the then prime minister, Milanović suffered major political damage.
Under the Pardons Act, the president pardons persons convicted by Croatian courts or serving sentences in Croatia. The presidential pardon is not conditioned by the length of the sentence served.
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