Fugitive Football Mogul Zdravko Mamić Sues Croatia for Violating Right to Fair Trial

Fugitive Football Mogul Zdravko Mamić Sues Croatia for Violating Right to Fair Trial
Armin Durgut/PIXSELL

May 11, 2022 - Former Dinamo leader and fugitive football mogul Zdravko Mamić, who was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in Croatia for illegally extracting 52 million kuna from the Zagreb club, filed a lawsuit with the European Court for human rights.

Telegram finds out that the lawsuit was sent to Strasbourg, from which Mamić expects to establish that the court proceedings against him at the Osijek County Court were not fair. Instead, he sued Croatia precisely for violating the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence and illegally confiscating property from his wife. Lawyers Lidija Horvat and Sandra Markovic filed a lawsuit on his behalf with the European Court of Human Rights, reports Telegram.

Among the arguments, Mamić wants to prove the unfairness of the trial and the fact that the judges who conducted the proceedings against him are now under investigation for accepting bribes. Recently, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia rejected Mamić's lawsuit on the grounds that he had corrupted the judges himself, so he could not complain about their bias since he had not done anything against them before. In a lawsuit sent to Strasbourg, Mamić explains that seeking the disqualification of those judges would have been meaningless in the past. It says that out of six requests to disqualify judges submitted to the court in Osijek in 2020, all were rejected, and in Zagreb, for example, only one of 33 requests was accepted after an appeal to the Supreme Court. That is why Mamić maintains that this is not an effective legal remedy for him as a defendant.

He also reminds that he pointed out corruption before the final verdict and not after everything was over, as suggested by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia. Namely, Mamić submitted the famous USB stick with criminal charges against Osijek judges to USKOK on October 8, 2020, and at that time, the appeal procedure was still ongoing. The director of USKOK, Vanja Marušić, confirmed at the time that the stick had indeed arrived at USKOK. Despite everything, Mamić states that USKOK did not inform the Croatian Supreme Court about the details of the report, i.e., suspicions of corruption.

Citing further doubts about the judges' bias, Mamić said some judges had multiple roles in his case. Thus, the Osijek County Court judge, Miroslav Rožac, was also a member of the trial chamber and later an investigating judge in the case against Dejan Lovren due to suspicions of giving false testimony.

Osijek judge Ninoslav Ljubojević was also linked to Mamić, as Mamić was his son's manager, and the trial chamber eventually refused to examine him as a witness. The case of Judge Darko Kruslin, president of the Trial Chamber, who is under investigation for receiving an expensive watch from Mamić, was also cited. Can the verdict passed by the judges whose impartiality has been called into question remain in force, Mamić asks in the lawsuit against Croatia. He also points out that all these judges did not satisfy either an objective or a subjective test of impartiality. Therefore, he believes they all had to exclude themselves from his case.

He also resents the Croatian judiciary for delegating his procedure from the Zagreb court to the Osijek court. He said this made it difficult for him to prepare his defense and take part in the proceedings. He also points out that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled several times that the defendant must be allowed to comment on such decisions, but he was not allowed to do so. Namely, the delegation was formed in one day at the request of the Chief State Attorney.

Mamić considers that his removal from the Osijek County Court building several times was a violation of his right to access the court. Furthermore, he was not present at 16 sequels of the main hearing because he was immediately removed due to the noise in the courtroom, without having been warned or fined before, as he points out.

Mamić believes that he was also deprived of the right to equality of arms. Namely, the court read two thousand documents submitted by USKOK and examined over 90 USKOK witnesses, while most of the evidence was rejected. He also states that his wife's property was illegally confiscated within extended forfeiture. The lawsuit also alleges that some high-ranking state officials made statements about him, prejudging his guilt, which, he believes, violated his right to the presumption of innocence. 

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