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news 07 Aug 13

EU Demands Croatia Change Arrest Warrant Law

Brussels wants Zagreb to adjust its law on the European arrest warrant in line with EU legislation amid claims that the country is trying to shield a former Croatian spy.

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Mina Andreeva, spokesperson for the European commissioner for justice, told Croatia’s Hina news agency on Tuesday that by August 23, Croatia must give the EU the exact date by which the Croatian law on the European arrest warrant will be brought into line with European legislation.

Late in June, Croatia passed a law on the European warrant, nicknamed ‘Lex Perkovic’, which limits the application of warrants to crimes committed before August 2002.

The law's nickname stemmed from suspicions that it was brought in to shield Josip Perkovic, a former operative with the Yugoslav state security agency and the Croatian secret services who is wanted by Germany for questioning in relation to the alleged murder of a Croatian businessman there in 1983.

In a letter sent to Croatian justice minister Orsat Miljenic in July, EU commissioner for justice Viviane Reding said Zagreb’s move was not in accordance with European legislation and must be corrected.

In June, German Chancellor Angela Merkel unexpectedly cancelled her trip to Croatia to join the EU accession celebration, which local media interpreted as a message of dissatisfaction with Croatia's reluctance to extradite Perkovic.

The Croatian authorities have insisted there is no possibility of extraditing Perkovic to Germany because the country’s judiciary has investigated the case and found no evidence to charge him.

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