Organisation of the judicial system

Judicial cooperation

General description of the national system for international judicial cooperation in criminal matters

Please note the difference when communicate in framework of mutual legal assistance and in framework of judicial cooperation.

-judicial cooperation: competent authorities for receveing and executing of the decisions of foreign judicial authorities and domestic authorities competent to issue and transmitt decisions enforced via judicial cooperation are courts and state attorney’s offices. All communication with foreign judicial authorities regarding judicial cooperation is direct.

The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia is a central coordinative authority that provides help to the domestic competent authorities as well as to the competent authorities of other member states in cases of judicial cooperation. The Ministry is also a central authority for receiving and forwarding decisions on financial penalties.

-mutual legal assistance: depending on the applicable legislative framework, sometimes we use diplomatic channels (through Ministry of Foreign Affairs) or the correspondence goes through central authorities (Ministries of Justice).

Text in original language, English and/or other available languages of the relevant national laws/provisions of the Criminal procedure codes on judicial cooperation in criminal matters:

Links to some EJN website sections

Links to the relevant sections of the Council of Europe and United Nations Treaties Offices websites containing information on the conventions to which Croatia is party

National case law relevant for judicial cooperation in criminal matters

Information on the organisation of the EJN

There are 20 contact persons for the European Judicial Network in Criminal Matters in the Republic of Croatia. They are  designated in the Ministry of Justice, County Courts and State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia.

Useful national links

Recent national developments on judicial cooperation in criminal matters

The Act on amendments of the Act on Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters with Member States of the European Union entered into the force in March 2015. By this Act, the Republic of Croatia has implemented the Directive on European Protection Order in its domestic law. Investigative judges at the County courts are the competent issuing and executing authorities in the meaning of the Article 3 of the Directive on the European Protection Order.

Financial penalties are handled by the municipal and misdemeanour courts, as specified in the amended provisions. Certificate from Article 16 of the Council Framework Decision 2005/214/JHA on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to financial penalties has to be sent to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia, the central authority for receiving and transmitting these certificates.

The biggest challenge regarding judicial cooperation is the fact that Croatia is still not part of the Schengen area. Therefore, it does not have access to the Schengen Information System (SIS) and, consequently, does not receive alerts. In practice, this means that Croatia needs to receive the EAW within 48 hours after the arrest (with a possibility for prolongment of another 36 hours by the investigative judge). This temporary solution would be in place until Croatia joins the Schengen.

In the case of EAW requests to Croatia, the Croatian Contact Points should preferably be contacted in order to increase the chance of the warrant getting through.

If a European Arrest Warrant is issued for the purpose of execution of a custodial sentence and the requested person is a citizen/resident of the Republic of Croatia or is staying in the Republic of Croatia, he /she has the possibility to express his/her will to serve the sentence in the Republic of Croatia. In that case, the Court shall postpone the execution of the European arrest warrant and request additional documentation from the issuing State (the documentation from the Article 6 of the Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA on the application of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty for the purpose of their enforcement in the European Union or applicable international agreement if the issuing state has not implemented the mentioned Framework Decision). This documentation has to be sent to the Croatian Court within 15 working days.

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia has taken an opinion that in the cases where the issuing state has not sent the requested documentation within the mentioned deadline, the Court should refuse the execution of the European Arrest Warrant.