Friday, 20 September 2019

Croatia Ratifies Protocol on Prevention of Terrorism

ZAGREB, September 20, 2019 - The Croatian parliament on Friday ratified the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism which aims at facilitating mutual cooperation between member states and ensuring the efficient prevention and combatting of terrorism.

The protocol makes a number of acts, including taking part in an association or group for the purpose of terrorism, receiving terrorist training, travelling abroad for the purposes of terrorism and financing or organising travel for this purpose, a criminal offence.

By ratifying the protocol each party obliges to undertake the necessary steps for the timely exchange of all available and relevant information regarding persons travelling abroad for the purposes of terrorism.

With this protocol Croatia joins in international cooperation to prevent and sanction terrorism which today is a problem of global extent and is a direct threat to the freedom and lives of individuals.

Parliament adopted a report submitted by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković regarding meetings of the European Council over the past few months with 77 votes in favour.

The prime minister considers that the practice of informing parliament of these meetings is important for lawmakers and the public in general particularly considering that Croatia will be chairing the European Union in the first half of next year.

Plenković welcomed the fact that the new President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen chose Croatia as the third country to visit after she was elected to that position.

More political news can be found in the dedicated section.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Terrorism is One of Greatest Security Threats, Božinović Says in Israel

ZAGREB, September 10, 2019 - Opening a conference at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said that terrorism was one of the greatest security threats and that there were not many indications that the situation would change any time soon.

All the more so because terrorist groups and their ideologists have demonstrated an exceptional ability in embracing new trends on social networks and technology, he added.

"Empowered by the internet and social media, terrorist groups have managed to attract new followers and encourage individual terrorist acts in seemingly distant locations. Recently both right-wing and left-wing extremists have used similar digital platforms," Božinović said in his address at the conference called "Terrorism 2020: Understand the Present, Prepare for the Future."

Božinović signed a cooperation agreement with ICT's executive director Boaz Ganor which will enable Croatian police officers to participate in innovative training programmes in the field of homeland security and in combating terrorism.

In a statement to Hina, Ganor said he was very proud that he had signed the agreement with the Croatian Ministry of the Interior.

We all here believe that this is a growing global phenomenon that we can oppose only through international cooperation, said Ganor.

Božinović told Hina that he was honoured with the fact that he was able to open the conference that has gathered more than 1,000 experts from 60 countries. "I am certain that this agreement reflects our common values, above all, democracy and our readiness to defend them from contemporary challenges with terrorism being very high on the agenda," said Božinović.

During his visit to Israel, Božinović will be accompanied by Croatia's Ambassador Vesela Mrđen Korać during a meeting with Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Gilard Erdan and Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi.

Božinović said that the EU is particularly concerned lately because of the influence of terrorist groups in radicalising citizens who even decide to go abroad to become terrorist fighters.

"Now, following ISIL's failure on the battlefield, focus is being shifted to returning fighters. Their number varies in European countries," Božinović said, adding that an estimated 5,000 fighters have returned to the EU from Syria and Iraq.

Europe is struggling with ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorist groups but also with right-wing extremists who have exploited public concern over the perception of excessive migration trends in Europe, said Božinović.

That, however, has strengthened solidarity and improved cooperation between countries, he added.

Our intelligence agencies are exchanging information and working together like never before. In the meantime, we are witnessing more and more foiled terrorist plots, the minister said.

Božinović said that joint preventative operations include new directives and legislation, distribution of funds and more resources but also improved supervision of external borders, information exchange and cooperation between the private and public sectors. In particular, efforts to implement harsher laws throughout the EU which now cover a broad spectrum of terrorist acts.

As far as Southeast Europe is concerned, Božinović said that the region is particularly vulnerable even though there have not been any serious terrorist attacks there.

This is mostly due to ethnic tensions and unresolved political problems following the armed conflicts in the 1990s, migration routes across the Balkans to Western Europe, terrorists returning but also "external actors" who are trying to prevent countries in the region from joining the EU and NATO.

More news about relations between Croatia and Israel can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Christchurch Gunman Recently Visited Croatia

ZAGREB, March 16, 2019 - According to intelligence information, the alleged Christchurch shooter visited Southeast Europe, including Croatia in December 2016, Bulgarian state prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarev said on Friday.

Bulgarian authorities are investigating possible contacts the Australian man suspected of killing 49 people in two New Zealand mosques may have had when he recently visited the Balkans.

The shooter posted a video of the attack in which a Serb nationalist song from the Bosnian war in the 1990s can be heard. He also wrote the names of historical figures and places from Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro on his weapons.

During his stay, the accused man reportedly visited several towns of historic significance, then travelled to Bucharest, the capital of Romania, on November 15. There he rented a car and drove to Hungary.

According to Bulgarian intelligence, the man visited Serbia, Bosnia Montenegro and Croatia in December 2016.

The Croatian Ministry of the Interior on Saturday confirmed that the main suspect of killing 49 people in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday visited Croatia in late 2016 and early 2017.

"The Croatian Ministry of the Interior has information about movements of the said person in Croatia in December 2016 and January 2017," spokeswoman for the ministry Marina Mandić told Hina.

 A "right-wing extremist" armed with semi-automatic weapons, the 28-year-old suspect rampaged through two mosques in the quiet New Zealand city of Christchurch during afternoon prayers on Friday, killing 49 worshippers and wounding dozens more.

The attack, thought to be the deadliest against Muslims in the West in modern times, was immediately dubbed terrorism by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, as she led a shocked nation on one of its "darkest days."

More news on the relations between Croatia and New Zealand can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Croatia and EU Discuss Fight against Terrorism

ZAGREB, January 29, 2019 - Croatia very quickly recognised that the fight against terrorism is a pledge of the stable development of the contemporary world, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Monday after a meeting with the European Union's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove.

"From the very start, Croatia has been very active in that process. It very quickly recognised that the fight against terrorism is a pledge of a stable development of the contemporary world, completely aware that that is, above all, the responsibility of national states. However, regional cooperation too, particularly through EU membership, can bring some added value, given that along with a majority of other security challenges today, not one state can deal with that on its own," Božinović said.

He noted that this is De Kerchove's first visit to Croatia although he had met with him in Brussels on several occasions, as this is an issue of common interest, particularly regarding the current issue of the EU's comprehensive approach to the fight against terrorism through external and internal aspects.

Božinović added that the talks with the EU coordinator focused on the main objectives considering the EU's Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy that started immediately after the 9/11 attack in the USA, when the first strategy was adopted based on UN Resolution 13/73.

Europe adopted its strategy in 2005 in several areas above all related to protecting public spaces, improving preparedness against chemical-biological and radiological challenges and suppressing financial terrorism.

"Unfortunately, terrorist attacks haven't stopped in Europe and those committed in 2015 additionally motivated the EU to take action for further and faster solutions primarily aimed at protecting EU residents. One of the contributions of those enhanced activities led to the establishment of a special position in the European Commission – the counter-terrorism commission which is tasked with the implementation of the European security programme related to issues concerning the security of citizens, preventing radicalisation and protecting national values as well as strengthening international cooperation in this region," Minister Božinović underlined.

As far as Croatia is concerned, he added, as part of its preparations to enter the Schengen Area, it has achieved a certain level of cooperation that has been recognised in the EU.

Also, the directives and regulations that Croatia has implemented are the direct result of the implementation of the European security programme.

"Naturally, we are all faced with the challenge of improving the interoperability of our systems. We are faced with a challenge and Croatia sees that as a challenge for itself and its own institutions as well as a new challenge as part of our preparations to chair the Council of the EU in issues will be at the top of the agenda of matters that are discussed in the EU," Božinović added.

He claims that Croatia is developing a third dimension that is related to international cooperation and not only with countries in the region but intensively with 'third partners' particularly the USA, "where we have achieved a unique, intense cooperation and have signed a memorandum of entering the USA's international terrorist data base."

That memorandum was signed last year in Dubrovnik, Božinović recalled. Croatia also had very intensive cooperation with Israel and a Croatian delegation, led by Božinović, is travelling to Turkey where cooperation in the fight against terrorism will also be one of the essential issues in bilateral talks.

Gilles de Kerchove said that he sees Croatia's chairmanship of the Council of the EU as a challenge, saying he would be pleased to be able to assist. I do not think it is a secret that I believe that security issues are one of the greatest concerns for the new commission, he said.

As a member of the EU, Croatia has to be a member of certain agencies, given the fact that it has neighbours, some of which have been faced with challenges. I think that of more than 100,000 people who went to Iraq, some have joined ISIL, violated the law by joining Jihad and their return is still questionable. The question of how to stop the spreading of Jihad is also important, he underscored.

The EU anti-terrorist coordinator said that the EU had taken big steps over the past three or four years with regard to security issues within the Union's borders but also regarding the Schengen borders. It is good that we don't have growing terrorism in Croatia, De Kerchove said.

De Kerchove believes that, because Croatia is familiar with the region, it can be of assistance to countries in the Western Balkans in meeting their obligations, as security is one of the most important issues for accession to the EU.

More news on the security issues in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

President Visits Anti-Terrorist Unit Command

ZAGREB, September 8, 2018 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović visited on Friday the Anti-Terrorist Unit Lučko (ATJ Lučko) and said that its development is strategically important for Croatia's security and the safety of all citizens.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Croatia to Send Warship to the Mediterranean Sea to Fight Terrorism

The crew will include 50 sailors and soldiers.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Court Approves Extradition of Bosnian Wanted by Tunisia for Terrorism

ZAGREB, May 9, 2018 - A panel of judges at County Court in Velika Gorica has approved the extradition of Bosnia and Herzegovina national Alen Čamdžić to Tunisia where he is wanted in connection with the murder of Tunisian citizen Mohammad Zouari, an engineer with alleged ties to Hamas.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Croatian Court to Consider Extradition of Bosnian “Assassin” Wanted by Tunisia

ZAGREB, May 7, 2018 - The County Court in the Croatian town of Velika Gorica is supposed to decide on Tuesday whether to hand over a Bosnia and Herzegovina citizen, Alen Čamdžić, to Tunisia where he is wanted, according to media reports, due to his alleged involvement in the 2016 assassination of Mohamed Zouari, a Tunisian engineer and reportedly a member of one of The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Greatest Security Threat to Croatia Coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Croatian security services are worried about extremists living in close proximity.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Jihadist Flag Raised in Croat-Majority Village in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The flag was raised a few days ago in front of an abandoned house near the Catholic church in the centre of the largest Croatian community in Ljubače.

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