Monday, 25 October 2021

Supreme Court Head: Parl. Parties Shouldn't Have Problem With Ustasha Insignia Ban

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - Supreme Court president Radovan Dobronić told the Homeland Movement on Monday that no parliamentary party should have a problem with condemning symbols associated with the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (NDH).

"All parties, on the left and on the right, which participate in parliamentary life, must not have any problem with condemning symbols associated with the system that was in place during the NDH. That had nothing to do with Croatia," Dobronić told the press.

Ustasha salute

He was asked to comment on the opposition Homeland Movement's response to his stand that the "For the homeland ready" salute is unacceptable, which the party condemned and asked him who was he to judge "the insignia of fallen HOS knights."

Dobronić said he was the president of the Supreme Court and reiterated that the question of banning the Ustasha salute and insignia was a civilizational and value question, while whether someone could accept that or not was another.

He said the ban on the salute and insignia should not be additionally regulated by law because "everything is clear" and that there was no dilemma as to what the constitution and the decisions of the Constitutional Court stipulate.

Enforcement

As for an upcoming Supreme Court General Convention meeting on enforcement, Dobronić said he would propose that Enforcement Act provisions on the issuance of enforcement decisions based on verified documents should not apply to consumer agreements.

"The Supreme Court can deliver at the General Convention two, three positions proposing another procedure instead of that one and the matter will be solved," he said, reiterating that the current practice is in contravention of EU rights.

Dobronić said his proposal would be that when big systems such as telecoms or utility companies decide to sue citizens for failure to pay their debts, a judge would have to see the original bill and agreement so that they can check the terms of the agreement in the context of consumer law.

Public verdicts

Dobronić went on to say that he would see that all court verdicts be made public.

"So far about 60 to% of verdicts have been available and the explanation why 100% have not been available is that they've had problems with anonymization, which takes time," he said, adding that this is only a technical problem.

As for restoring people's trust in the judiciary, Dobronić said there was no quick fix and that it would occur gradually and be achieved when the public had the justified impression that the same criteria applied to all.

The availability of verdicts and a uniform court practice will certainly contribute to that, he added.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

New Supreme Court President Says Wants Stronger Rule of Law, Fair System

ZAGREB, 23 Oct 2021 - The newly appointed Supreme Court President Radovan Dobronić has said in an interview with Hina that he wants to advance the justice system "in such a way to create a feeling among citizens and business people that the rule of law is stronger and the system is functioning fairly."

"At the same time, I also want to improve working conditions for judges and other staff in the judiciary," Dobronić said in the interview a few days after he was sworn in as president of the highest court.

His appointment put an end to a months-long disagreement over candidates for that post between the president as the constitutional proposer and the prime minister, who holds the majority in the parliament.

Known to the public as the Commercial Court judge who ruled in favor of holders of loans denominated in the Swiss franc, Dobronić was appointed after receiving support from a broad spectrum of political parties at a time when the judiciary is often mentioned as the weakest link in the Croatian society.

Rulings should be justified, reasonable and fair 

"The image of the judiciary will improve when courts create a well-founded feeling with their rulings that they try evenly and treat all parties equally and when rulings are not only formally legal but also justified, reasonable and fair," Dobronić said, adding that so far that had not been the case to a sufficient degree.

The Supreme Court president, who also chairs the State Election Commission, believes that he will cooperate well with all judges, the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor, and other stakeholders in the judiciary.

"The system could be described as a coalition of allies and I will act accordingly," said Dobronić, whose program was not supported by the Supreme Court General Convention,  made up of all Supreme Court judges, while the parliament supported it with 120 votes in favor and 3 against.

Judges with job norm - judicial clerks

"Judges are primarily motivated by their responsibility and not by meeting the job norm because a judge with a job norm is not a judge but some sort of judicial clerk. It seems that this is not entirely understood, that is, there is a fear that without a job norm, judges would not be doing anything," said Dobronić, for whom it transpired during the nomination period that the State Judicial Council had launched disciplinary proceedings against him for not meeting the job norm in 2019.

Depicting judges as poor workers is unacceptable and the truth in most cases is quite the opposite, he said, adding that in the short time that he had held the office he had noticed "a very small number of cases in which judges have concluded main hearings but have not made and forwarded rulings within the legally prescribed deadline."

"Such situations should definitely be avoided. Not only is there no reason for the parties not to be sent the judgment, but such conduct is contrary to the principle of immediacy," he said.

"I will insist that such situations do not recur... they create an impression of irresponsibility, which is not good," he said.

In the current atmosphere of dissatisfaction with the judiciary, he noted, it is being forgotten that a part of judges and court clerks, too, are dissatisfied with the situation in the system.

Computerization or new bureaucracy

Dobronić believes that the quantity and quality of judges' work are affected adversely by three facts - poor spatial conditions, the degree and form of IT support, and the job norm.

He noted that in terms of the physical condition of courts, Croatia has started lagging behind not only old EU members but new, Eastern European ones as well.

It is justified to insist on the computerization of the system to increase its efficiency and transparency, but if the system, instead of working better and faster, becomes slower as more users connect to it, computerization will not facilitate work but rather cause more red tape, he said.

In that context, he called for significantly and promptly improving and simplifying the system, also to make certain types of decisions immediately publicly available.

As for the job norm, Dobronić said that it was not right to deal with the problem of backlogs by continually increasing the norm, "which is unacceptable and contrary to the standard European practice."

He said that he expected support from the executive authority in removing those systemic problems, noting that the state, as the owner of numerous companies, local government units, institutes, and agencies, as well as public municipal companies do not need to engage in numerous litigation cases.

"I expect the executive authorities in that regard to make action plans for next year to withdraw at least 10% of lawsuits... and I expect court presidents to focus more on work organization in a way that will be in line with the type of cases their judges work on," he said.

In that context, he said that he would see to it that the assignment of cases was reduced to the minimum.

Dobronić supported a better model of hiring legal secretaries and pointed to the problem of court reporters and other judicial employees leaving courts because of demanding work and low salaries.

Asked about judicial appointments in line with political criteria, Dobronić said that he could not answer that question because it refers to something he has no experience with.

"It is possible that it has happened, but I do not think the model of appointment itself is so much the problem... the main problem in the way judges are appointed is that... the main criterion is evaluating their work is the number of resolved cases, that is, expediency and other statistical data. That type of evaluation does not exist in most EU countries and it has resulted in the system being fully bureaucratized, with judges thinking more about meeting the job norm than about the quality of their rulings," he said.

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Saturday, 16 October 2021

Milanović: You Won’t Hear Me Say That HDZ Is a Criminal Organisation

ZAGREB, 16 Oct, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Saturday that he did not consider today's HDZ to be a criminal organisation due to the Supreme Court's ruling in the Fimi Media case, but he noted that PM Andrej Plenković's statement, in which he linked the ruling with Milanović's rhetoric, was "silly".

"I think that it is irresponsible to link the ruling, whereby the Supreme Court actually upheld a lower court's ruling, with my statements. The idea that my rhetoric had influence on the Supreme Court's decision is silly," he told reporters during a visit to Samobor, a town west of Zagreb, where he attended a ceremony marking the town's day.

The Supreme Court last Wednesday partly upheld the verdict following the retrial in the Fimi Media corruption case, under which the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was fined HRK 3.5 million while the former PM and HDZ chief Ivo Sanader had his prison sentence cut from eight to seven years.

Sanader and his co-defendants were charged with siphoning around HRK 70 million (€9.3 million) from state-owned companies and institutions through the Fimi Media marketing agency into the HDZ's slush funds from 2004 to 2009.

Commenting on Plenković's statement of Friday, Milanović said that he had indeed criticised the Supreme Court but that Plenković had confused the cause with the consequence.

Plenković on Friday said, among other things, that he did not know if some judges worked under the pressure of Milanović's rhetoric.

"And then the Supreme Court does what? It takes revenge on the HDZ by listening to me, who had criticised it. I think such statements are for the Logic Olympiad," Milanović said.

He noted that he did not consider Plenković responsible for crime in the HDZ and did not claim that today's HDZ was a criminal organisation.

"You won't hear me say that the HDZ is a criminal organisation. Not all people there are clean today, but today's HDZ has that, too, in its past. Just as the SDP has in its past the fact that it is the successor to the Communist Party," he said, adding that those things should be left to the past and that new people were emerging and answering to voters.

He said that he had been the first in the country to raise the issue of criminal liability of legal entities.

"There was a law from 2003 which envisaged for the first time that kind of legal responsibility. I raised that issue in the parliament, I was not Prime Minister at the time, and, to my surprise, the Public State Attorney launched the procedure and the (Fimi Media) ruling is a result of that. So in a way, I am responsible for the ruling," he said.

Protesters should not rally outside office-holders' homes

Asked to comment on protests held outside the homes of members of the national coronavirus management team, Milanović said that protesters should not do that.

"They are free to disagree with what those people do, but to protest now, after a year and half? They could have done it earlier if they had objections, and they should especially not be doing it outside (COVID-19 response team's members') homes because that way they disturb their neighbours," Milanović said, calling on the protesters to end the protests.

Speaking about the prosecution of crimes committed in the 1991-95 Homeland War, Milanović said that the Croatian judiciary had done its best, notably with regard to the prosecution of members of the aggressor forces.

"Evidently some things are no longer possible due to the passage of time. I am sure the Croatian judiciary does not have an agenda to help the enemy. There are real limitations regarding time, place and facts. I am not satisfied, but on the other hand, a lot has been done so I can say that I am also satisfied," he said.

We have no relations with Belgrade and Serbia

As for people gone missing in the war, Milanović said that Belgrade was familiar with the destiny of close to 2,000 missing persons.

"We will insist on that, we won't let the matter rest just like that," he said, adding that Croatia currently has no relations with Belgrade.

"Relations with all the others are good or very good, they are not good only with Belgrade and those currently in power there," he said.

Milanović announced that he would attend this year's commemoration of the fall of the eastern city of Vukovar.

"This year is different, last year the way things were organised was wrong," he said.

He welcomed the government's decision to limit fuel prices but noted that it would cost.

"The government has the instruments, naturally all of that costs, and one should be aware that producers and distributors who have fixed costs will have to be compensated somehow," he said, estimating that prices of energy products should go down in a few months.

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Friday, 15 October 2021

Radovan Dobronić Becomes New Supreme Court President

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - Radovan Dobronić, a Commercial Court judge, was appointed by the Croatian Parliament on Friday as new Supreme Court President.

The legislature voted 120 to 3 to approve his appointment, ending the months-long imbroglio about the selection, nomination and confirmation of the new chief justice.

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said that Dobronić would be sworn in on Monday.

The Supreme Court President also serves as the head of the State Election Commission (DIP).

Dobronić, who was nominated by President Zoran Milanović, was given a positive assessment by the parliamentary Judiciary Committee. Judge Marin Mrčela, too, was assessed positively, however, Dobronić received the Committee's unanimous support while seven committee members voted in favour of Mrčela, one voted against, and three abstained.

Dobronić graduated from the Law School of the University of Zagreb. After his graduation, he got a job with Zagrebačka Banka and later worked at the state stockpiles agency. Since 1996 he has been a judge of Zagreb Commercial Court. He is known for ruling against banks in the Swiss franc case.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Saturday, 7 August 2021

Five Applications for Supreme Court President Submitted, One Invalid - Večernji List

ZAGREB, 7 Aug, 2021 - Five applications for president of the Supreme Court have arrived at the State Judicial Council in a third round of the selection process, Večernji List daily said on Saturday.

They have been submitted by Zagreb Commercial Court judge Radovan Dobronić, Supreme Court judge Marin Mrčela, Zagreb attorney Šime Savić, High Criminal Court judge Lana Peto Kujundžić, and Požega master of law Daniel Mejer, who does not meet the requirements, the paper said.

President Zoran Milanović, who recommends a candidate to parliament, said before the deadline for the submission of applications expired that Dobronić was his candidate and that they had agreed that he should apply for the post.

Savić applied in the previous two rounds and Peto Kujundžić did so in the second, but neither received a positive opinion either from the Supreme Court General Convention or the parliamentary Judiciary Committee.

Applications in the third round could be submitted by midnight on Friday, but only on Monday will it be known if there are more candidates as applications could also be sent by post.

Although Milanović did not know that disciplinary action was initiated against Dobronić last October--- the president said that would not affect his decision to recommend him to parliament.

Under the State Judicial Council Act, a judge against whom disciplinary action has been taken cannot be appointed to another court from one to four years of the decision on the punishment becoming final. If elected Supreme Court president by parliament, the State Judicial Council would have to appoint Dobronić a Supreme Court judge as well.

A court president's term in office ends on the day the decision on disciplinary action against them becomes final. But regulations on the Supreme Court president do not state that disciplinary action is an obstacle to their appointment or a reason for their dismissal.

Disciplinary action against Dobronić was demanded in October 2020 and the question is whether it should be taken now, before parliament votes on his candidacy, and how that would be interpreted if he were punished, Večenji List said.

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