Interior Minister Explains His Recent Attacks on Constitutional Court

By 10 December 2016

Minister Orepić claims he did not try to influence the Court.

Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić said on Saturday that his criticism of members of the Constitutional Court was meant to bring into focus the message which the court sends with the way its members are elected, “especially one of them”, emphasizing that in no way did he want to influence the work of the Constitutional Court or the judiciary, reports Index.hr on December 10, 2016.

“I spoke about the message sent by the Constitutional Court and the way its individual members are selected, especially one of them. This is a message of no confidence in the Constitutional Court and the judiciary. Everybody is well-aware of this message, both the people and politicians. At no point did it occur to me to try to influence the work of the Constitutional Court, or the judiciary”, said Orepić to reporters in Parliament.

He added that everything which he said in a recent interview about the Constitutional Court had as a goal an attempt to try and remove the public distrust in the judiciary, “which is something that all citizens are aware of”.

“I would not comment on Prime Minister’s comments, because they were clear and I understand them”, said Orepić, referring to the statement by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who on Thursday at the session of the government distanced himself from Orepić’s statements, saying that it was an inappropriate attack which undermined the confidence of citizens in the highest constitutional authority of the country. That is why, said Plenković at the time, that he had a meeting with Minister Orepić, during which he warned him that such statements must not come from members of the government.

“Messages sent by everybody else and other comments should be compared with their interests, so it will be interesting to identify who and which structures want to make further democratic breakthroughs in Croatia, and who does not want to do that”, concluded Orepić.

In his interview, Interior Minister Orepić said that "the current members of the Constitutional Court are the greatest threat to the national security of Croatia”. “That is a direct consequence of clientelistic politics. Give me an example of a state in which someone can be appointed to the Constitutional Court although he carries such a heavy burden of doubt that he is corrupted as is the case with Davorin Mlakar. That is impossible”, said Orepić, referring to one of the Constitutional Court members.

According to media reports, Mlakar is under suspicion for taking bribes from a bank in Austria.