News 22 Aug 13

Croatian PM Slates EU Extradition Demand

Croatia's Prime Minister has condemned EU demands for Zagreb to amend its extradition laws, calling them discriminatory.

T portal

Speaking about an EU request for Croatia to adjust its law on European arrest warrants in line with EU legislation - amid claims that it is trying to shield a former Croatian spy - Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said he found the EU demand "twisted" and "discriminatory".

"The same rules do not apply to Croatia and Slovenia, which negotiated accession to the EU a few years earlier [than Croatia], as they are subject to more stringent requirements than is Austria or France," he said.

"This is about the extradition of one's own nationals. We believe this is a topic for a separate talks," Milanovic told the national broadcaster, HTV.

He repeated that Croatia had introduced time limits for extradition to prevent the handover of Croats who might be charged by another country for crimes that occurred during the independence war of the 1990s.

Late in June, Croatia passed a law on the European warrant, nicknamed "Lex Perkovic", limiting the application of arrest warrants to crimes committed before August 2002.

The law's nickname reflects claims that it was brought in to shield Josip Perkovic, a former operative of the Yugoslav state security services and, later, of the Croatian secret services.

He is wanted by Germany for questioning over the murder of a Croatian businessman there in 1983.

Croatia has until August 23 to submit to the European Union the deadline by which it will adjust its laws on the European Arrest Warrant to those of the European Union.

In a letter to the Croatian Justice Minister, Orsat Miljenic, in July, the EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, said Zagreb’s move was not in line with European legislation and must be corrected.

The law adopted on 28 June by the Croatian parliament on judicial cooperation in criminal matters with EU member states drew criticism also from the opposition and a share of the public as well as dissatisfaction from the European Commission over the regulation limiting the warrant to crimes committed after August 2002.

Faced with the criticism, the governing Social Democratic Party, led by Milanovic, proposes changing the constitution so as to abolish the statute of limitations for politically motivated grave crimes, such as assassinations of Croatian dissidents who fled the former Yugoslavia, so that they might be prosecuted in Croatia.


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