Branko Hrvatin was sworn in on Monday before Croatian President Ivo Josipovic for his third consecutive four-year term as president of the Supreme Court.
At the ceremony, President Josipovic congratulated Hrvatin expressing confidence he would be successful as he had been during his past terms. They both underlined the importance of judicial independence.
I wish you a term marked by reforms, judicial independence, and an increase in quality of court decisions, Josipovic told Hrvatin, underlining that the fact that his reappointment was unanimously supported spoke of the trust in his work so far. Josipovic also said that Hrvatin deserved credit for changes in the Croatian judiciary over the past several years, adding however that there was a certain amount of “dissatisfaction in many aspects of the judiciary and that one must not turn a blind eye to it.”
Josipovic stressed that the most important and the most serious political challenge in every society was “a subtle relationship between the three branches of the government – legislative, executive and judicial.”
He underscored that one of the forms of monitoring the judiciary was the way the Supreme Court president was elected. “We elect a trustworthy person who will do the job the best possible legal and constitutional way, while at the same time the legislative and the executive government, which president of the republic is part of, refrain from any form of influence on you personally and on all other judges,” Josipovic said.
Hrvatin also underlined the importance of judicial independence, stressing that without a free and independent judiciary and responsibility of judges there can be no justice and impartiality or the respect for citizens’ rights.
Judges recognise the meaning and the importance of the fundamental postulates of their profession and others will accept that fundamental principle of independence only once they in reality, through concrete cases, prove they truly lead to the realisation of fundamental rights, freedoms and equal treatment for all before the law, Hrvatin said.
By entering the European Union, we have committed ourselves to developing the principle of the rule of law and the protection of civil rights and freedoms, but not only because of that but also because we opt to develop a democratic and free society which will protect the rights of all citizens, Hrvatin said.
The oath-taking ceremony was also attended by Parliament Speaker Josip Leko and Justice Minister Orsat Miljenic.