Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Commemoration Held For Three Women Killed at Zagreb Court 22 Years Ago

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Government officials and representatives of the judiciary on Wednesday attended a commemoration at Zagreb's Municipal Court for three women killed at that court 22 years ago. 

On 22 September 1999, during a divorce hearing, Mato Oraškić killed his wife Gordana, her attorney Hajra Prohić and judge Ljiljana Hvalec as well as wounding court reporter Sanja Cvetković.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said the perpetrator had been given a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and called for joint, strong and coordinated action in preventing violence against women.

"In partnership with civil society organisations we have enabled progress in the cooperation of all government agencies, introducing stricter penalties, improving procedural law, and ratifying international treaties such as the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which has made it possible for us to align our legal order and improve legislative and procedural frameworks for dealing with that phenomenon," said Plenković.

He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in an increase of violence but noted that the number of misdemeanor reports for violence had decreased while the number of criminal reports had increased.

Sanctions are now harsher and the message of the government and the entire society to abusers is that violence is unacceptable and that the victims are not alone, he said.

Attending the commemoration were also European Association of Judges President Đuro Sessa, Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica, and Supreme Court Deputy President Marin Mrčela, who all called for raising awareness of the problem and resolutely fighting and preventing violence. 

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Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Parliament Observes Minute's Silence For Women Victims of Violence

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - The Croatian parliament on Wednesday observed a minute's silence for all women victims of violence on the National Day of combating violence against women.

"On this day we also remember all the other women who lost their lives due to violence," Speaker Gordan Jandroković said, recalling that parliament declared 22 September National Day of combating violence against women after the murders which took place on this day in 1999.

On 22 September 1999, during a divorce hearing at the Zagreb Municipal Court, Mato Oraškić killed his wife Gordana, her attorney Hajra Prohić and judge Ljiljana Hvalec as well as wounding court reporter Sanja Cvetković.

By observing this day, we wish to additionally raise public awareness, point to this social problem and send a clear message about zero tolerance to violence and about the importance of protecting victims and punishing perpetrators, said Jandroković.

Special emphasis should be put on recognising and reporting violence, he added.

The crime of 22 September 1999 permanently obliges us to be loud in condemning violence and leaving a more tolerant society to younger generations, said Ljubica Maksimčuk of the ruling HDZ, adding that violence against women and girls was one of the most widespread forms of violence in the world, often going unreported.

This government is resolute in the fight against all forms of violence, she said, underlining the importance of education and prevention from the earliest age.

Ivana Posavec Krivec of the opposition SDP said the aim of observing this day must be to raise public awareness of the problem of violence and to send the message about zero tolerance.

It would be good if we introduced civic education, teaching from the earliest age that violence cannot be tolerated, she added.

Nothing is more pathetic than when a man hits a woman, than a man who commits any violence against a woman, said Marin Miletić of the opposition Most.

Violence against women is present in all societies and the low number of reports is a special problem, for which there are many reasons, he added.

Sexual violence is one of the least reported crimes and there are 15 to 20 unreported rapes to every reported one, he said.

Hrvoje Zekanović of the opposition Sovereignists said Croatia adopted the Istanbul Convention in April 2018, when Prime Minister Andrej Plenković assured that domestic and violence against women would go down.

"However, he lied, it hasn't decreased but has even increased," he said, adding that the convention was about something else, not protection from violence.

"The human species is divided into two sexes, male and female, and it is not divided into two genders. Gender is something fluid, subject to change when it crosses your mind. That's what the Istanbul Convention is about," he said.

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

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

National Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women Marked in Zagreb

ZAGREB, September 22, 2020 - The national day for the elimination of violence against women was marked on Tuesday outside the Zagreb Municipal Court where three women, killed at the court during divorce proceedings in 1999, were commemorated, with the message that any violence is unacceptable.

President Zoran Milanovic said at the commemoration that the tragedy at the Municipal Court would forever be "a stain and a painful reminder of what  happens when rage and hate get the better of a person, especially a man."

The responsibility of men is crucial, it starts in the family and at school, Milanovic said, adding that the situation had improved since he was a child as things that were once considered normal are no longer considered normal.

"We will never be like Denmark or Sweden, nor should we, but we must take care that boys are taught, while they are still little, that problems are not solved with fists and that they should channel their rage, energy and hormones into something acceptable and definitely non-violent," said the president.

Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said that the government worked continuously on amending the legal framework as well as on raising awareness of domestic violence and its prevention and of the need to send a message that it was unacceptable.

"We are all collectively and individually responsible and should not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to cases of domestic violence and violence against women and children," he stressed.

Supreme Court president Djuro Sessa, who also attended the commemoration, said that everyone witnessed violence on a daily basis, from verbal assaults to physical violence in public, and that people were starting to consider this as something normal, which was why it was up to judges not to accept it.

Zagreb Municipal Court president Jadranka Liovic Merkas warned that 20 years since the Municipal Court tragedy, despite a good legal framework, the number of women victims of violence was still high.

"By commemorating that tragedy every year we are trying to point to the problem of violence against women and send a message of zero tolerance to any form of violence," she said.

On September 22, 1999 Mato Oraskic killed Judge Ljiljana Hvalec, attorney Hajra Prohic, and his wife Gordana Oraskic and severely wounded court reporter Stanka Cvetkovic during his divorce proceedings.

Croatia observes September 22 as the national day for the elimination of violence against women in memory of the victims of that murder as well as all other women killed in violent crimes.


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