Mustač Sues Croatia at ECHR over Extradition to Germany

By 13 April 2019

ZAGREB, April 13, 2019 - As Yugoslav-era Croatian intelligence agents Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustač await transfer to a Croatian prison from Germany, which convicted them for participating in the assassination of Croatian dissident Stjepan Đureković, Mustač's defece has sued Croatia at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over his extradition to Germany on a European arrest warrant they claim should not have been executed in April 2014 because of the statute of limitations.

Mustač's attorney Lidija Horvat has told Hina that at the time of the extradition the law was not entirely clear and that there was no standardised court practice, so Perković and Mustač could not have assumed what would happen to them.

"Under the law in force at the time, the statute of limitations was an obligatory reason not to grant the handover. It really was to be expected that Croatian courts would reject the European arrest warrant," she has told Hina.

Horvat says an ECHR ruling in Mustač's favour would be mere satisfaction to him, but that it would be of great importance for the legal certainty and equality of all citizens as well as states, regardless of their size and international influence.

In August 2016, a Munich court sentenced Perković and Mustač to life, finding them responsible for the Đureković murder near Munich in 1983. The perpetrators remain unknown.

The Zagreb County Court has modified Perković's sentence into a 30-year sentence he is to serve in a Croatian prison. Mustač is still waiting for the Velika Gorica County Court to modify his German sentence.

The modification is required for the two to return to Croatian prisons as they were extradited to Germany on the condition that, after being convicted, they would serve their sentences in Croatia.

Perković's attorney Anto Nobilo says he doesn't know when they will return to Croatia, although at the end of last year one could have concluded that this would happen in January.

Late last year, Perković and Mustač sued Germany at the ECHR, alleging that the Munich court did not give them a fair trial. Their lawyers believe that, based on this suit, the ECHR might quash the German ruling against them.

More news about human rights in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.