ZAGREB, December 18, 2018 – The Peace Studies Centre (CMS) on Tuesday filed with the prosecutorial authorities (DORH) a criminal report accusing unidentified police officers of behaving unlawfully towards migrants at Croatia’s border with Bosnia. The police have allegedly conducted unlawful migrant expulsions.
The criminal report, lodged with DORH on International Migrants Day observed on 18 December, was prompted by a video footage released by the international organisation Border Violence Monitoring purportedly corroborating the suspicion that Croatian police systematically expel groups of migrants on the external border of the European Union back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Croatian Ministry of the Interior dismissed the claim, insisting that border police were applying the principle of deterrence.
The CMS and the Welcome initiative insist that DORH should conduct an effective investigation that will result in the penalisation of the perpetrators.
They also insist that Interior Minister Davor Božinović, the national chief of police, Nikola Milina, and the head of the border police, Zoran Ničeno, should resign, claiming that they failed to ensure the conduct of the police in compliance with law.
Activist Sara Kekuš told a news conference Tuesday that numerous testimonies of refugees and warnings made over two years about the unlawful police behaviour, as well as the latest footage were sufficient to corroborate the claims that it was necessary to launch an investigation.
Kekuš said that it was of utmost importance that the police cease behaving unlawfully and violently at the border.
Police chief Milina on Sunday dismissed accusations against Croatian police over their treatment of migrants, saying that no cases of beating have been found. “Police guard the state border in accordance with the law and their professional standards. We have checked all recent reports of illegalities and have found no cases of beating,” Milina told public broadcaster HRT in a prime-time news programme on Sunday evening.
More news on Croatia’s policies towards migrants can be found in our Politics section.