Wednesday, 6 October 2021

President Zoran Milanović Supports Ruling Majority's Decision on Supreme Court President

ZAGREB, 6 Oct, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Wednesday he supported the announcement that the parliamentary majority will select Radovan Dobronić, his candidate, for Supreme Court president, adding that they could have done this last spring.

Speaking to the press, he said they could have done that "last spring at least" instead of "haggling" over it for seven months as it was clear that he would not recommend any current Supreme Court member for that position.

Appointment of new ambassadors "dramatically late"

He denied that it had anything to do with agreeing on new ambassadors, saying their appointment, "which is important, is dramatically late. I don't know why. We started talking and then it stopped at the will of the (foreign) minister. I hope he will get in touch now."

The president said he had not noticed that it was a question of bargaining and wondered "what's the point of this splitting of hairs" since they must reach an agreement eventually.

Initial conflict of interest law imposed from Brussels

Asked to comment on Reformists leader Radimir Čačić's statement that a new conflict of interest law would give the Conflict of Interest Commission deep access to Tax Administration data, Milanović said the initial law from 2011, adopted as part of the negotiations on EU accession, was completely imposed from Brussels.

He said Brussels "experimented" on Croatia, which had to adopt a model that was "not good."

"It's used for political manipulation," he said, adding that some of the Commission's past members "were brought to that Commission as so-called experts and became politicians from the bushes. Undercover politicians one minute, and later politicians. That's unfair."

He said the system in which MPs were overseeing conflict of interest through peer control was not perfect but was more correct.

Nobody has the right to check people's accounts, only courts

The president said nobody had the right to check people's accounts unless it was done under the Criminal Procedure Act. "No commission, nobody. No commissaries, police officers, solely the courts.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Judiciary Committee: Unanimous Support to Dobronić, Mrčela Get Seven Votes

ZAGREB, 6 Oct, 2021 - The parliamentary Judiciary Committee on Wednesday gave a positive opinion on judges Radovan Dobronić and Marin Mrčela as candidates for Supreme Court president while Dobronić, whom the President already announced as his recommendation to the Sabor, received unanimous support from the committee.

The committee that interviewed candidates at the start of September unanimously supported Judge Dobronić with 11 votes while Mrčela received seven votes in favour, one against (Nikola Grmoja) and three abstentions.

The Judiciary Committee will forward its opinion to President Zoran Milanović, who then recommends his candidate to the Sabor. The President has previously said that his candidate will be Zagreb Commercial Court Judge Dobronić, known in public as the judge who presided in the case against banks over Swiss francs.

This means the end of the crisis in appointing the highest position in the judiciary.

The selection of a new president for the Supreme Court has gone through three public calls, with five candidates applying in the last one - Judge Dobronić, Supreme Court acting president Marin Mrčela, Judge Lana Peto Kujundžić, and attorneys Šime Savić and Barbara Gundić. 

The president of the Supreme Court is appointed and relieved by the Sabor following a previous opinions by the court's general assembly and the parliamentary Judiciary Committee, at the recommendation of the President. The court president is appointed for a term of four years and can be reappointed for only one more four-year term.

Judge Mrčela was given 29 votes from judges on the Supreme Court general assembly in early September, while Judge Dobronić was given four votes.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: Ruling Coalition Supports Dobronić, Mrčela For Supreme Court President

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday the ruling coalition would back the candidacies of Radovan Dobronić and Marin Mrčela at tomorrow's meeting of the parliamentary judiciary committee on the selection of the president of the Supreme Court.

Speaking to the press after a meeting of the parliamentary majority, the prime minister said Dobronić presented a good programme and that Supreme Court judge Mrčela's programme was good too, so both deserved a positive assessment.

Dobronić meets the terms of the public call for applications, he delivered an important decision in the case of loans pegged to the Swiss franc, and submitted his candidacy as stipulated by law.

He is a man of integrity who is not inclined to corruption, so it is unlikely that someone better might apply in the future, Plenković said.

In this way, the parliamentary majority wants to bring to an end the saga of the selection of the Supreme Court president, and it is good for the Croatian judiciary for this process to be finished.

The parliamentary committee will vote on the five candidates, the president of the republic will be informed of the outcome and recommend one candidate to parliament. If President Zoran Milanović recommends Dobronić, the parliamentary majority will vote for him, Plenković said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Justice Minister Ivan Malenica: Obliging Judicial Officials to Declare Memberships to be Considered

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - Justice Minister Ivan Malenica said on Tuesday amendments to the laws on courts and the State Attorney's Office would soon be put to public consultation, adding that obliging judicial officials by law to say if they were members of any organisations was being considered.

He was asked by the press about the possibility of introducing that obligation for judges and state attorneys following the case of former attorney general Dražen Jelenić.

Jelenić resigned from that post in February 2020 after it was discovered that he was a member of a Masonic lodge. His successor Zlata Hrvoj Šipek requested disciplinary action against Jelenić and that he be suspended as her deputy.

"There is no such obligation now. There is a code of ethics which sets certain principles. State attorneys and judges should certainly remove any possibility which might influence their impartiality or jeopardise their independence," said Malenica.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 10 September 2021

Parl. Committee Postpones Vote on Candidates for Supreme Court Head

ZAGREB, 10 Sept 2021 - The parliamentary Judiciary Committee will vote at a later date on candidates for the Supreme Court president due to a dispute over disciplinary proceedings launched before the State Judicial Council (DSV) against President Zoran Milanović's candidate for the post, Judge Radovan Dobronić.

After five candidates presented their programmes and answered questions from members of the Judiciary Committee for seven hours on Thursday, Committee members decided to postpone the vote at the proposal of MP Krunoslav Katičić of the ruling HDZ party, who said that before taking the vote the Committee should have all information regarding disciplinary proceedings against Dobronić.

The Committee, whose decision is non-binding on the constitutional proposer of the candidate for the Supreme Court head, President Zoran Milanović, on Thursday interviewed Dobronić, Barbara Gundić, Marin Mrčela, Lana Petö Kujundžić and Šime Savić.

Dobronić: Judiciary has lost minimum trust of citizens

In his address to the Committee, Dobronić said that the judiciary has lost the minimum trust of citizens but that it is not true that judges are lazy and that the system is being blocked by a large number of cases.

Between 200,000 and 300,000 cases are related to the state or state-owned companies, he said, noting that the situation could be improved significantly by improving governance at the central and local levels.

Asked by HDZ MP Dražen Bošnjaković how he would deal with the problem of corruption in the judiciary, Dobronić said that more than 90% of judges work in good faith but that the judiciary, as a branch of government, should be 100% vetted.

"No judge must make an omission. The corruption rate among judges is not even 1-2%, but that undermines trust in the system," he said, adding that Croatian judges are also EU judges and their decisions have far-reaching consequences.

Asked by HDZ MP Damir Habijan which measures he would introduce if he was elected Supreme Court president, Dobronić cited reorganisation of the judiciary, education for business people, changes to the system of public notaries, and the reorganisation of work regarding complaints, which, he said, would reduce the number of cases by 30-50%.

Dobronić says learned about disciplinary proceedings from reporters

HDZ MP Marija Jelkovac wanted to know about disciplinary proceedings launched against him for "lack of due diligence in performing his duties as a judge". Dobronić said that he had been informed about the proceedings by reporters and that in 2019, the year in question, he worked on old cases, appeals and other judges' cases and that the time spent on that type of work was not taken into account.

"I do not feel affected by it (disciplinary proceedings) because it is completely beside the mark and wrong," he said, noting that there is an awareness of this problem in the judiciary and that he intends to deal with it by introducing controls of the quality of performance.

Asked by Bridge MP Nikola Grmoja to assess the system of allocation of cases to judges, Dobrinić said that judges themselves do not understand the criteria under which they are given individual cases.

"I do not know if that is abused in individual cases, but the system can be better programmed," he said.

Asked by HDZ MP Ljubica Lukačić what he could do to make the judiciary available to everyone, Dobronić said that the practice of judges writing complaints for citizens free of charge on certain days is a good legacy of the previous, Socialist system and that it could be reintroduced.

Judges must focus on merits of case

Social Democrat MP Vesna Nađ asked Dobronić where he saw resistance and where allies in the implementation of reforms, to which he said that resistance can happen at any level. 

He also noted that enforcement judges should focus "on the merits of a case rather than nitpick over every single kuna."

Zlata Đurđević, President Milanović's previous candidate for Supreme Court president and external member of the Judiciary Committee, raised the issue of the State Judicial Council's work.

"It should definitely be defined in a different way. It has never been discussed what to do when someone constantly writes reasonings of judgements that make no sense," he said.

Speaking of uneven court practice, which he considers one of the main issues, Dobronić said that it happens because judges make a large number of decisions, but he recalled that departments have been established to monitor case law and warn a judge if their predecessor has already made a ruling in a similar case.

"Judges should discuss their cases more with one another and share their experience," he said.

Asked by Homeland Movement MP Stephen Nikola Bartulica if he believed that in Croatia the process of lustration had been carried out, Dobronić said that some judges had been treated unfairly in both systems.

Mrčela: Belittling of judges comes from politicians

Presenting his programme, the acting President of the Supreme Court, Marin Mrčela, said that the head of the highest court in the country is neither a radical nor a revolutionary but that he or she can initiate steps to improve the situation in the judiciary.

Noting that his programme contains 39 such measures, he said that there are 22 key problems in the judiciary, singling out the length of proceedings, public perception of the judiciary and the atmosphere in which it is normal to belittle judges' decisions.

In that regard, he also mentioned insufficient economic and human resources, too broad jurisdiction of courts, the platitude about the existence of a judicial clique and the autism of judges, and judges' affiliation to political groups, which he said is untrue.

Mrčela said that the belittling of judges comes from politicians, including high-level ones, and that messages in the media saying that "judges and politicians should be killed" should be taken seriously. "The problems of the judiciary, the length of proceedings, immorality and even corruption, should not be cause for political influence on the judiciary."

Asked by Dražen Bošnjaković (HDZ) whether the legal provision on legal protection and allowing the Supreme Court to standardise case law of criminal courts should be changed, Mrčela said that he does not agree with the proposal by former Supreme Court President Đuro Sessa that it should be changed. "We only need to leave open the possibility for the Supreme Court to standardise case law using extraordinary remedies, as has been the case so far."

Independent MP Karolina Vidović Krišto was interested in Mrčela's opinion on civil society organisations that protect victims of paedophilia, which claim that sentences handed down by the Supreme Court against paedophiles are too lenient. "I will personally advocate for all criminal cases to be analysed. Punishment must not be an expression of anger, but of careful thinking on the part of judges in deciding on a sentence," Mrčela said.

Speaking of the length of proceedings, Mrčela said that court presidents have the authority to order a case to be dealt with within the shortest time possible, and that such deadlines should be instructive. He concluded by saying that it would be good if politicians did not comment on specific cases.

High Criminal Court Judge Lana Petö Kujundžić said while presenting her programme that the Supreme Court must be efficient, fast and expeditious in dealing with cases and that it must use its authority to make this possible for other courts as well. She stressed the importance of all courts having equal technical equipment, and added that courts must be more open to the public in order to change public perception of the judiciary. She expressed concern about judicial administrative staff being underpaid.

Presenting his programme, Zagreb lawyer Šime Savić commented on the assessment made by the general session of the Supreme Court that he is insufficiently competent for the post of Supreme Court President. He said that with his election the Supreme Court would get the best president. As the only candidate to have responded to all three public calls for applications, at the end of the marathon hearing he said that they would meet again for a forth time.

A candidate for Supreme Court President is proposed by the President of the Republic after a prior advisory opinion from the parliamentary Judiciary Committee and a general meeting of the Supreme Court. At the Supreme Court's general meeting held early this month, Mrčela received 29 votes, Dobronić received four, while the other candidates did not receive any votes.

Milanović has said earlier that Dobronić, who is known for his judgment against banks in the case of CHF-denominated loans, is his candidate, while the parliamentary majority has announced that they will decide on the candidates after the decision by the Judiciary Committee and the general meeting of the Supreme Court.

For more on politics in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Franak Association Supports Judge Dobronić's Election as Supreme Court President

ZAGREB, 7 Sept, 2021 - The Franak association on Tuesday called on its members to send emails to members of parliament ahead of a parliamentary vote on President Zoran Milanović's candidate for Supreme Court president, Radovan Dobronić, expressing support for his election.

Franak brings together former holders of loans pegged to the Swiss franc whose loans were converted to euro-denominated loans.

On 4 July 2013, the Zagreb Commercial Court delivered a ruling in favour of the Consumer Protection Association which had sued eight banks with regard to the Swiss franc foreign currency clause and their unilateral decision to increase interest rates.

The judgement was handed down by Judge Dobronić, who said at the time that the banks had violated consumers' rights by failing to fully inform them about all the parameters necessary to decide on taking loans.

The ruling on the legal nullity of the currency clause in contracts on loans pegged to the Swiss franc was later upheld by the High Commercial Court.

Eight years ago, Judge Dobronić gave hope to all holders of CHF-indexed loans, the Franak association said today.

"We believe that we do not have to explain in great detail the reasons why we are confident that Judge Dobronić is the only candidate who can launch the necessary changes in the judiciary. We believe that by expressing our support for him we can send a message to members of parliament and let them know who is the citizens' choice," Franak said.

In a draft message of support for Judge Dobronić, which can be sent by citizens to members of the parliamentary Judiciary Committee, which is to interview candidates for Supreme Court president, and their party groups, Franak says: "By supporting Judge Dobronić for Supreme Court President you will restore citizens' hope and faith in judicial autonomy and a just Croatia."

The Judiciary Committee is to interview the candidates on 9 September.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Supreme Court upholds sentence for Briton convicted of Zrće murder

ZAGREB, 26 July, 2021 - The Croatian Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by British national Douglas Cane, upholding a ruling sentencing him to 24 years in prison for murder and attempted murder at the Zrće beach on the northern Adriatic island of Pag in June 2018.

Without revealing the identity of the accused, the Supreme Court said that the sentence by the appellate court was appropriate given the accused's profile and the circumstances of the crime.

The Supreme Court said that the sentence was neither too harsh nor too lenient, recalling that Cane was sentenced to 17 years in prison for murder and to eight years for attempted murder and that he was given a combined sentence of 24 years.

The court cited his earlier convictions in the UK and his attempt to flee Croatia after the crime. He had shaved his head in an attempt to disguise his identity, police said at the time.

Early in the morning of 27 June 2018, after an argument with three persons, Cane attacked and stabbed Briton Ugo Wilson to death. The other victim, also a Briton, rushed to help Wilson but Cane stabbed him as well, using a sharp object resembling a knife. The man was rushed to the hospital and survived.

The media said at the time that it was most likely a showdown of drug dealing gangs.

For more about news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Justice Minister Ivan Malenica: Croatia Hasn't Disgraced Itself by Not Appointing Supreme Court Head

ZAGREB, 21 July, 2021 - Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said on Wednesday that Croatia has not disgraced itself before Europe by failing to appoint a Supreme Court president, adding that he expected the best candidates to apply for the post and the president to recommend a new candidate as soon as possible.

"The European Commission clearly said in this year's rule-of-law report on Croatia that there are certain controversies and that there is a certain disparagement of some judges. We know who that comes from, it certainly didn't come from the government," Malenica told the press.

He said the Commission's report was measured and that, to a large extent, it provided a fair overview of the situation, recognising certain shortcomings and confirming certain improvements.

Malenica said the shortcomings concerned the length of proceedings and backlogs.

"However, the report says that certain progress has been made in that area by shortening court proceedings and gradually reducing backlogs," he said, adding that the Commission highlighted as improvements an increase in transparency via the publication of officials' declarations of assets, further investment in the digitalisation of the justice system, and the gradual strengthening of judicial bodies' capacities.

The investigation and prosecution of corruption crimes have also been highlighted as an improvement, the minister added.

After last year's report, he said, the Justice Ministry undertook certain activities to amend legislation with a view to reducing backlogs and the length of proceedings.

Croatia has no problem with rule of law, but there is room for progress

"Croatia is not ranked among countries that have problems with the rule of law and it is not being discussed in the European Parliament nor has it been exposed to special resolutions being adopted, as is the case with Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia," Malenica said, adding that room for progress existed.

"We are confident that, through the National Resilience and Recovery Plan, in which we envisaged 13 reforms and six investments, the image of the situation in the Croatian judiciary will additionally improve."

Asked about the dismissal of SLAPP lawsuits against journalists, Malenica said they should be viewed in a broader context.

"The Culture and Media Ministry has formed a task force to deal with that issue... This government and the Culture and Media Ministry are willing to consider the issue of SLAPP lawsuits in a wider task force."

He said that last year there were 250 of these lawsuits but he could not say how many were upheld.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Supreme Court: Sessa Replaced By Deputy President Mrčela, No Constitutional Crisis

ZAGREB, 20 July, 2021 - The Supreme Court said on Tuesday that the term of office of Supreme Court President Đuro Sessa had expired and he would be replaced by Deputy President Marin Mrčela, adding there is no constitutional crisis and that judges continue to exercise the judicial power as determined by the Constitution and law.

"Until the new president is elected, the affairs of the court administration will be performed by the deputy president, whose powers are determined by the law adopted by the Croatian parliament. There is democratic legitimacy because the law was adopted by democratically elected representatives," the press release said.

The length of court proceedings is the biggest problem, it was underscored, so further action will be taken in terms of court administration to continue reducing the number of cases and resolving them more quickly.

"There is no constitutional crisis. Judges did not 'produce' this situation nor do they want to be part of daily political confrontations," the Supreme Court said.

Sessa was Supreme Court President since 20 July 2017. He also applied for a new term in office in the first public call issued by the State Judicial Council this year, but President Zoran Milanović did not recommend him or anyone else who applied to the parliament.

The State Judicial Council issued the second public call after the Supreme Court had concluded that the president could only nominate a candidate who applied to the public call. Sessa did not apply, saying that President Milanović, who recommended Zlata Đurđević for Supreme Court President, clearly did not want to recommend him to the parliament for that position.

On 7 July, the State Judicial Council issued the third public call for the appointment of a new Supreme Court President, and Milanović said he would nominate his candidate, after Zlata Đurđević did not receive the support of a majority of MPs.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 5 July 2021

Zagreb Gay Pride 2021 Analysis: Issues Still Exist, Pride Celebrates History and Present Equality

July 5, 2021 - Gay rights in Croatia still have challenges ahead, but even if all problems are resolved, Pride should remain a commemorative event. A look at the history of gay culture in Croatia and the current climate in this Zagreb Gay Pride 2021 Analysis by TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac.

Zagreb Pride is the oldest pride in Croatia. First held in 2002, it attracts more and more people every year, from LGBTQ members, straight people that support gay rights to NGOs, human rights activists, and even politicians from the left and liberal specter. Over the years, the event grew from a one-day pride to Pride month, full of educational and entertaining events regarding LGBTQ issues and a chance for people with the same preferences to meet and celebrate who they are.

Pride month is marked in June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.

„The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets, and in nearby Christopher Park. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world“, reminds History.com.

When it comes to LGBTQ in Croatia, as you can expect with the ideological divide Croatians generally experience, there are mixed feelings on the issue.

From street violence to a family event  

Participating in the first Pride in 2002 required that if you are a man loving a man ready to openly admit it, you had to have balls.

The attacks by skinheads and other „morally concerned citizens were fierce and violent. Participants truly needed police protection which was provided but also needed to be careful to not get hit by the incoming rocks that were thrown among the participants.

skin_arrest.jpg

Police arresting violent skinhead at the first Zagreb Pride in 2002, screenshot / Zagreb pride

But, at least for Zagreb, the situation got better and more open. Today, pride is the forthcoming celebration of love and freedom, and entire families can be seen to join the picnic at Ribnjak park to teach their children tolerance and that people are not sick or different from others because of their sexual preference. Other larger cities in Croatia, such as Split, slowly but surely, do follow that path too, and Rijeka, the pinnacle of liberal Croatia, is also a very gay-friendly city.

Of course, a political counterstrike is expected and quite strong. The first most notable one was the 2013 referendum, where it was voted that the Croatian constitution declares marriage as a „community between a man and woman“. The goal was to deny LGBTQ couples the same rights as enjoyed by straight people.

However, the bill on life partnership outplayed that attempt.

In the meantime, LGBTQ couples can also adopt children in Croatia, as Constitutional Court concluded that gay couples fostering children is not against the Croatian Constitution.

That decision and along with the general openness of Croatia towards LGBTQ was followed by a controversial carnival in Imotski where an effigy of a gay couple was burned. President Zoran Milanović demanded an apology from the organizers, and SDP's MP Arsen Bauk filed charges against the organizers.

Counting pluses and minuses, the report on Croatia being the 39th best country for LGBTQ visitors still seems to uphold. No changes for the better, but at least Croatia is still in the top third for this category of tourists.

 Haters strike back

2020 and 2021 sadly saw the uprise of violence towards LGBTQ in the Croatian capital. Apart from the occasional tearing down or burning of the rainbow flag, Croatia was shocked with an attempt of burning a man in Maksimir Forest Park as well, with his sexual preference being the sole motive for the attack.

 On the other side, this year's pride felt to start stronger than ever. The newly elected mayor Tomislav Tomašević joined the parade, along with stating that Zagreb is a city that is open to everyone. This year arranged a bit differently to adhere to corona measures; around 2500 participated in the event.  

„Twenty of our prides made our city and our republic a better, more democratic, and joyous place for the life of all citizens“, was the main message of the 20th edition of Zagreb Pride.

As reported by Index.hr, the Zagreb Pride association representatives stated that the Croatian LGBTIQ community „became a powerful, responsible and self-aware part of the country, but that the fight isn't over“.

„Our constitution and our laws still do not include in a complete and fair way. Our streets and squares are still not free of hate. We didn't forget nor we will forget victims of homophobic and fascist rampage in this year and all previous years“, stated Zagreb Pride.  

Sadly, while Pride itself went without issues, participants of the pride who walked the streets of Zagreb after pride with rainbow flags faced a series of physical attacks on several locations in Zagreb.  

A week ahead of Pride, conservative MOST Party parliament member Nikola Grmoja complained that commercials displayed during EURO 2020 commercials were LGBTQ propaganda and that kids need to be protected from it and announced that he might include it in his anti-pedophile package. Grmoja's statement caused strong disagreements among the Croatian public, with several people (including celebrities) teasing him that if he wants to start battling pedophilia, he should start from church (as Grmoja is quite clerical). Božo Petrov, president of the MOST party, added more fuel to the fire when he supported Grmoja, stating that „minorities can't dictate what my children can learn in school“. He added that minorities need to be aware that they are minorities and that „we tolerate that," sparking more enrage from the public, with many comparing MOST to the controversial Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Zagreb Pride linked the post-Pride physical attacks with Petrov and Grmoja's public statements, and Petrov and Grmoja announced they would sue Zagreb Pride for slender.

 Nikola_Grmoja_lgbt_article.jpg

Nikola Grmoja, screenshot N1

The Law: "Gay is OK". Popular opinion: "Do it in your homes, not on the streets".

In this political escalation, what does the average Croatian think? Looking at the comments on social networks, it seems the majority of Croatians don't mind gays being gays and living how they like (even if they are not always happy with legal rights the LGBTQ community received). But, one sentiment in that „tolerance“ is particularly worrying.

„Live in your house however you want it. You don't have to wave around, like its a best thing ever“, said one of the online comments on Index.hr beneath the news on Petrov and Grmoja.

So it seems the public does not understand why Pride is important. First of all, as evident, the political climate is such that the battle for equality truly isn't over in Croatia, and Pride is the best way for the community to express what issues LGBTQ still face in Croatia. Additionally, pride month is also educational and supportive, and public presence show to other people who feel the same that they are not alone, as they might feel lonely and unable to find people who feel the same in everyday life.

zagreb_pride_fotka_druga.jpg

© Zagreb Pride

But, even if the law and constitution give the same rights and solves the problem of intolerance of LGBTQ people completely, does that mean that Pride should then be canceled? Well, Croatia won its independence and the war in the nineties. Does that mean we should stop commemorating the Homeland War? Or is it nice to honor and celebrate the victory and triumph over all obstacles Croatia had to face in its independence? Pride is a cultural, commemorative event honoring those who were or still are victims and oppressed for their sexual preference, either in Croatia or in the world. Croatia is a democratic country. Every group, national, ethnical, racial, religious, etc. should have the right to gather and honor its heroes. The right to gather and honor its tragedies and their dates and connect with other people who feel the same. If political elites are so concerned with keeping Croatians in Croatia, then they can't afford to discriminate or attack part of Croatian society solely based on their sexual preference. A preference that, unlike being violent or intolerable, can't be chosen.

Learn more about LGBT rights in Croatia and what LGBT tourists should know on our TC page.

For more about LGBT in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

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