ZAGREB, September 9, 2019 – Statistical data by the Interior Ministry, the Human Rights Ombudswoman and the Serb National Council (SNV) do not support the argument that ethnic violence in Croatia is on the rise, Vecernji List daily said on Monday.
Last year, the police registered 33 hate crimes, the State Prosecutor’s Office (DORH) prosecuted 53 and eight convictions were handed down. In 2013, under the Zoran Milanović cabinet, the Interior Ministry registered 35 cases and DORH prosecuted 57, while in 2016, under the Tihomir Orešković cabinet, the Interior Ministry registered 35 cases and DORH prosecuted 37.
Taking population size into account, it is evident that Croatia is ranked among those countries with fewer hate crimes, the daily said. It could also possible thought that there is a higher number of crimes reported in some Western countries and fewer in others, including Croatia, as a consequence of the trust, or lack thereof, in the authorities or the ability, or failure, to identify hate crimes.
But in DORH’s annual report, the higher number of dismissed reports is seen as a result of the fact that frequently unacceptable, impassioned and uncivil public statements are interpreted as hate speech, resulting in criminal complaints although they are “just” a case of slander or insult, misdemeanour, sometimes even non-punishable behaviour.
The human rights ombudswoman’s data on discrimination complaints on racial or ethnic grounds do not support the argument that violence is on the rise either. There were 66 such complaints last year, up from 47 in 2017, but down from 117 in 2016. Sixty such complaints were filed in 2012 and 68 in 2015.
SNV data on incidents involving intolerance towards Serbs show that 82 were reported in 2014, 189 in 2015, 331 in 2016, 393 in 2017 and 381 in 2018 but, Vecernji List said, the SNV noted that it had changed its methodology.
Interior Ministry data on crimes prosecuted ex officio show they decreased by 32% between 2011 and 2018, with an increase recorded only in 2015.
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