Minister Malenica receives President of the European Court of Human Rights O'Leary

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On 16 February, Minister of Justice and Public Administration Ivan Malenica met with the President of the European Court of Human Rights Síofra O'Leary as part of her official visit to Croatia at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Croatia. 

This is President O’Leary’s first official visit to a CoE member state since taking office as President of the European Court of Human Rights.

The topics discussed at the meeting included the work of the ECHR, secondment of judicial officials at the ECHR and the need to increase internship possibilities for young lawyers, improvement of the training system for judicial officials on issues related to the application of the European Convention on Human Rights and the incorporation of the Court’s judgements in the national case law, prison capacities and the possibility of signing Protocol 16 of the Convention.

Protocol 16 of the Convention entered into force on 1 August 2018 and introduced the advisory function of the ECHR with regard to the interpretation of the Convention and case law.

Minister Malenica pointed out that Croatia is currently analysing the legislative framework in order to identify the legislative amendments required for the application of this institute into the Croatian legal system and to designate the courts that could make such requests to the Court.

President O'Leary welcomed Croatia’s progress in enforcing the judgments of the ECHR and pointed to the need for improving the effectiveness of the judiciary, since most of the applications from Croatia refer to Article 6 of the Convention and the length of proceedings.

Minister Malenica expressed his awareness of the issue of lengthy proceedings and presented the activities undertaken by the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration to increase the efficiency of the work of the courts: amendments to procedural laws — the Civil Procedure Act and the Criminal Procedure Act – to introduce electronic communication and sound recording, and the implementation of the action plans for improving the effectiveness of the judiciary, in which the emphasis was placed on resolving cases older than 5 years.

Furthermore, there was a brief discussion of the capacities of the prison system and the number of cases received by the ECHR concerning the violation of the Convention in this regard. The ECHR Delegation welcomed Croatian efforts to expand the capacity of penal institutions, introduce electronic surveillance for conditional release and pre-trial detention, and pointed to the need for improving and speeding up the procedure of enforcing prison sentences.

The meeting was attended by Prof. Dr. Davor Derenčinović, a judge of the European Court of Human Rights, Prof. Dr. Bosiljka Britvić Vetma, Special Adviser to the Minister, Prof. Dr. Iris Goldner Lang, Vice-Rector of the Zagreb Faculty of Law, Štefica Stažnik, Agent of the Republic of Croatia before the ECHR, Kristina Bekavac, Director of the Judicial Academy and Dr. Laura Valković, President of the Bar Academy of the Croatian Bar Association.