Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Plenković Says Request to Pardon Perković, Mustač Orchestrated Action

ZAGREB, 20 April 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday a request for the pardon of Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustač was an "orchestrated action" which had caused rifts among the generals, war veterans and "the Croatians in general."

"Croatia has seen many orchestrated actions, this is one of them," he said in parliament during Question Time.

Plenković recalled that President Zoran Milanović had said in his presidential campaign that he would not use the institute of pardon and that he had not responded to any of the 275 pardon requests forwarded by the Justice Ministry.

Plenković said the government had no authority over the pardon requests for Perković and Mustač, former Yugoslav and Croatian intelligence officials. He said his HDZ party was against pardoning them.

"This is a big weakness of the one who had to submit the request, that's the legal representative or the family, and perhaps mostly the weakness of the one who has been silent all the time and waiting to see what we will all say about it, that the one who, under the Constitution, is the only one authorised to grant pardons," Plenković said, alluding to the president.

Commenting on MP Hrvoje Zekanović's remark that Milanović was "the spokesman for the Kremlin," Plenković said the Russian invasion of Ukraine began 56 days ago and that he sent a letter to Milanović on 24 February, requesting a session of the National Security Council.

"There has been no answer", he said. "Croatia is the only EU member state whose National Security Council has not met since the aggression began".

OECD accession

Responding to HDZ MP Gari Cappelli's question about Croatia's bid to join the (OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said it was one of the strategic priorities alongside joining the Schengen and euro areas.

"Joining the OECD would mean a lot for Croatia, first and foremost for national reform, for improving the investment climate and corporate management of state-owned companies, and for the fight against corruption in international business transactions".

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

FinMin: Keeping Jobs Is A Priority

ZAGREB, Sept 2, 2020 - Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Wednesday after an inner cabinet meeting that keeping jobs is a priority and that support measures for sectors affected by the coronavirus crisis, such as hospitality and transport, will be made known in the next few days.

Maric made the statement while responding to reporters' questions about the continuation of measures for the hospitality sector, which Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac had announced earlier, saying that they were on the table and being taken care of.

He said that internal consultations were ongoing and recalled that the government had generously financed support for the economy, however, he noted that everything has its fiscal repercussions and fiscal possibilities.

"This year the budget result is not a priority, however, in these circumstances it is necessary to find funds and ensure budget sustainability for this year and the years to come," said Maric.

Keeping jobs is a priority, he said, recalling that the government had presented a shorter working week and that the recently approved SURE program would provide a little more than €1 million in loans for Croatia.

Intensive talks are underway regarding the generous envelope that is part of Europe's recovery plan, Maric said, adding that testing was already underway regarding the use of support in hospitality.

Maric added that he understands the problems faced by the occasional transport sector whose representatives earlier in the day handed out leaflets to lawmakers listing their problems.

We have embarked on horizontal measures and have continued to support tourism and transport and everything will be made known in the next few days, he said. 

Our priority is to keep jobs and we are willing and ready to do the best we can, he added.

Maric explained that there had not been any money in the budget for the first round of support either, however, the money was eventually found and efforts would be made to continue to preserve jobs.

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Friday, 29 November 2019

Mustač Extradited to Croatia, Taken to Remetinec Prison

ZAGREB, November 29, 2019 - Former Yugoslav and Croatian intelligence official Zdravko Mustač, who was sentenced by a German court with another Croatian intelligence official, Josip Perković, for involvement in the murder of dissident Stjepan Đureković, was extradited to Croatia on Thursday afternoon.

Mustač arrived in Zagreb aboard a regular flight from Munich around 12:45 and around 14:15 he was admitted to the diagnostics centre of Zagreb's Remetinec Prison. After a medical check-up, he will be transferred to a penitentiary where he will serve the rest of his 40-year prison term.

In late October, Croatia's Supreme Court rejected Mustač's last appeal and his attorney said then that she expected that he could be transferred from Germany to a Croatian prison in about 30 days.

The Supreme Court had rejected as inadmissible Mustač's appeal against its decision upholding an earlier ruling by a Velika Gorica court that Mustač should serve a 40-year prison term to which his verdict by a German court, sentencing him and his associate Perković to life imprisonment for the 1983 murder of Stjepan Đureković, was converted.

The Supreme Court ruled that Mustač's last appeal was inadmissible because the procedure in question concerned the recognition and execution of a foreign court's verdict in line with a special law.

Together with the 77-year-old Mustač, the 74-year-old Perković, too, was convicted by the German court for the same crime and he was transferred to Croatia on July 11.

Even though the German court delivered the same verdict for the two former intelligence officials, the Zagreb County Court, which was in charge of Perković as his residence was in Zagreb, ruled in line with national legislation that he should serve a 30-year prison term. Perković is currently behind bars in Glina.

In August 2016 a Munich court sentenced Perković and Mustač to life imprisonment for their roles in the murder of Đureković, who was killed by as yet unknown perpetrators in Wolfratshausen outside Munich in July 1983.

They both pleaded not guilty and after the German court's verdict they turned to the European Court of Human Rights which they expect to order a new trial.

Mustač's attorney Lidija Horvat recalled that in July 2019 the defence had also filed a complaint of unconstitutionality against the Velika Gorica court ruling and the Supreme Court ruling which imposed and upheld a 40-year prison term against Mustač.

Horvat said they believed that the Croatian courts erroneously applied European law and had therefore asked the Constitutional Court to address the European Court of Justice on the matter of application of the principle of mutual recognition of rulings in criminal cases, to see if by converting the German court's verdict the Croatian courts should have borne in mind that the punishment should not be harsher than it would be if the accused served it in the country where the verdict was handed down.

She recalled in that context that in Germany, where they were sentenced, Mustač and Perković would be granted a so-called obligatory conditional release after 15 years in prison.

More news about the case can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Mustač Sues Croatia at ECHR over Extradition to Germany

ZAGREB, April 13, 2019 - As Yugoslav-era Croatian intelligence agents Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustač await transfer to a Croatian prison from Germany, which convicted them for participating in the assassination of Croatian dissident Stjepan Đureković, Mustač's defece has sued Croatia at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over his extradition to Germany on a European arrest warrant they claim should not have been executed in April 2014 because of the statute of limitations.

Mustač's attorney Lidija Horvat has told Hina that at the time of the extradition the law was not entirely clear and that there was no standardised court practice, so Perković and Mustač could not have assumed what would happen to them.

"Under the law in force at the time, the statute of limitations was an obligatory reason not to grant the handover. It really was to be expected that Croatian courts would reject the European arrest warrant," she has told Hina.

Horvat says an ECHR ruling in Mustač's favour would be mere satisfaction to him, but that it would be of great importance for the legal certainty and equality of all citizens as well as states, regardless of their size and international influence.

In August 2016, a Munich court sentenced Perković and Mustač to life, finding them responsible for the Đureković murder near Munich in 1983. The perpetrators remain unknown.

The Zagreb County Court has modified Perković's sentence into a 30-year sentence he is to serve in a Croatian prison. Mustač is still waiting for the Velika Gorica County Court to modify his German sentence.

The modification is required for the two to return to Croatian prisons as they were extradited to Germany on the condition that, after being convicted, they would serve their sentences in Croatia.

Perković's attorney Anto Nobilo says he doesn't know when they will return to Croatia, although at the end of last year one could have concluded that this would happen in January.

Late last year, Perković and Mustač sued Germany at the ECHR, alleging that the Munich court did not give them a fair trial. Their lawyers believe that, based on this suit, the ECHR might quash the German ruling against them.

More news about human rights in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Leaders of Communist-Era Intelligence Service Found Guilty for Assassination of Croatian Emigrant

Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustač took part in organizing the assassination of Croatian emigrant Stjepan Đureković in 1983.