State Secretary Martinović presented Croatia’s 4th Periodic Report on Civil and Political Rights in Geneva

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The defence of the Report of the Republic of Croatia on the Application of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights before the UN Human Rights Committee took place in Geneva on 2 and 3 July 2024.

The Croatian delegation was headed by State Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Public Administration and Digital Transformation Juro Martinović, and the delegation comprised 17 members from competent ministries and government offices, Permanent Chargé d'Affaires at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Croatia to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva Gordan Markotić and Deputy State Attorney General Dražen Jelenić.

State Secretary Martinović emphasized it was an honour and privilege to present the Fourth Periodic Report of the Republic of Croatia under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as it was a result of a process in which all relevant state bodies had participated.

"Croatia, as a member of the United Nations, the European Union and the Council of Europe, is committed to improving human rights, including, in particular, civil and political rights", the State Secretary pointed out, recalling that during 2018 Croatia chaired the Council Working Group on Situations, handling complaints about gross human rights violations, and thus further contributing to the concrete protection of human rights - which is the core of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

"In this regard, we would also like to point out the continuous role of Croatia within the Universal Periodic Review of human rights, as it participates in the reviews of other countries with recommendations and is among the UN members that regularly prepare interim reports, and the latest report partly represents an update to this report", he added.

In addition to the rights of national minorities, the issues of human trafficking, migration, hate crimes, war crimes and the issue of persons gone missing in the Homeland War - one of the most important humanitarian issues for Croatia - State Secretary Martinović particularly touched on the need to strengthen the legislative framework for the promotion and protection of human rights through the adoption of international instruments, and highlighted the progress achieved in the field of criminal legislation through the introduction of femicide.

“The criminal offence of aggravated murder of a woman was introduced, to recognize murders known as femicides, while sexual harassment, which was until recently treated as a misdemeanor, was moved exclusively into the criminal sphere. The sanctioning policy for the criminal offence of rape has been tightened, while amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act have improved the legal framework for protection from domestic violence”, explained State Secretary Martinović.

State Secretary Martinovic argued that Croatia was actively working on addressing challenges within the prison system, at the same time strengthening the probation service and the electronic monitoring service.

"Croatia has taken decisive steps towards modernising the prison system, demonstrating its commitment to improving conditions for persons deprived of liberty. Key areas of focus include continued financial investment, modernisation of infrastructure and processes, and harmonisation with international standards and recommendations. This comprehensive approach is designed to ensure that the prison system in Croatia is humane, fair and in line with global best practices", said the State Secretary, adding that a number of reform activities had also been implemented in the judiciary over the past five years.

"A number of laws have been amended, among other things, to improve criteria for the appointment of judicial officials; also, to improve citizens' access to justice, create better conditions for reducing the backlog of cases,  ensure specialisation of judges for specific types of cases, and to  make public disclosure of anonymised court decisions mandatory, in order to ensure the transparency of the work of courts and strengthen public trust in the judiciary", State Secretary Martinović concluded.

On behalf of the Ministry of Justice, Public Administration and Digital Transformation, State Secretary Martinović was accompanied in Geneva by Advisor to the Minister Dragana Milunić Pakozdi, Director General for Human Rights, National Minorities and Ethics Danijela Gaube and Head of Sector for European Affairs and International Cooperation Tomislav Boršić.

The Government of the Republic of Croatia had adopted the Fourth Periodic Report on the Application of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights at its session of 18 February 2022.

The Fourth Periodic Report of the Republic of Croatia was submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee in accordance with Article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and it covers the period after 2015.

The report contains answers to 22 questions of the UN Human Rights Committee under two thematic chapters:
A. General information on the human rights situation from a national perspective, including new measures and developments related to the implementation of the Pact 
B. Specific information on the implementation of Articles 1-27 of the Pact, in particular in light of the Committee's previous recommendations.