ZAGREB, September 22, 2020 – The national day for the elimination of violence against women was marked on Tuesday outside the Zagreb Municipal Court where three women, killed at the court during divorce proceedings in 1999, were commemorated, with the message that any violence is unacceptable.
President Zoran Milanovic said at the commemoration that the tragedy at the Municipal Court would forever be “a stain and a painful reminder of what happens when rage and hate get the better of a person, especially a man.”
The responsibility of men is crucial, it starts in the family and at school, Milanovic said, adding that the situation had improved since he was a child as things that were once considered normal are no longer considered normal.
“We will never be like Denmark or Sweden, nor should we, but we must take care that boys are taught, while they are still little, that problems are not solved with fists and that they should channel their rage, energy and hormones into something acceptable and definitely non-violent,” said the president.
Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said that the government worked continuously on amending the legal framework as well as on raising awareness of domestic violence and its prevention and of the need to send a message that it was unacceptable.
“We are all collectively and individually responsible and should not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to cases of domestic violence and violence against women and children,” he stressed.
Supreme Court president Djuro Sessa, who also attended the commemoration, said that everyone witnessed violence on a daily basis, from verbal assaults to physical violence in public, and that people were starting to consider this as something normal, which was why it was up to judges not to accept it.
Zagreb Municipal Court president Jadranka Liovic Merkas warned that 20 years since the Municipal Court tragedy, despite a good legal framework, the number of women victims of violence was still high.
“By commemorating that tragedy every year we are trying to point to the problem of violence against women and send a message of zero tolerance to any form of violence,” she said.
On September 22, 1999 Mato Oraskic killed Judge Ljiljana Hvalec, attorney Hajra Prohic, and his wife Gordana Oraskic and severely wounded court reporter Stanka Cvetkovic during his divorce proceedings.
Croatia observes September 22 as the national day for the elimination of violence against women in memory of the victims of that murder as well as all other women killed in violent crimes.