ZAGREB, November 22, 2018 – In her first appearance before the press since her appointment, the new director of the Office for the Suppression of Organized Crime and Corruption (USKOK), Vanja Marušić, pointed out the need for legislative amendments so that USKOK can work more efficiently on the most complex cases, adding that one of her first steps would be to meet with crime police heads to discuss the directions of their joint work.
Marušić said that she could not specify which legislative amendments might be made because this was something that isn’t dealt with by the Chief State Prosecutor’s Office alone, but also by the courts, the Justice Ministry and other institutions and experts.
Those amendments need to make sure that USKOK can work on the most complex corruption cases in the public and private sectors and on the most complex forms of organised crime. However, this does not mean backing down from the fundamental principle of zero tolerance to corruption, Marušić said.
She said that she expected support from the chief state prosecutor with regard to logistics, including the provision of adequate premises and hiring of IT and financial forensic experts.
In addition to good cooperation with the police, Marušić pointed out the importance of citizens’ trust and support. “USKOK has always been and will be open to anyone who has information on corruption and are prepared to cooperate in proving criminal acts. Naturally, that doesn’t mean that citizens should do USKOK’s job, but the reality is that USKOK can’t be present in all institutions and social spheres and have direct knowledge of all illegal activities,” Marušić said.
She added that USKOK required good and checkable information that can be transformed into quality evidence and result in convictions.
Asked whether she was satisfied with USKOK’s work so far and its image in the public, Marušić said that the public perception of the work of the judiciary generally isn’t positive and that it is gauged by successes in “big cases.” However, the greatest problem is the long duration of cases before the courts which USKOK isn’t satisfied with either, and in that regard it is necessary to amend legislation to ensure efficiency and to expedite procedures, she concluded.
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