GRECO calls on Croatia to raise public confidence in judiciary

epa03693597 Participants compete in the European Individual Chess Championship in Legnica, Poland, 09 May 3012. About 300 participants are competing for the title and 100,000 euro prize money until 17 May. EPA/MACIEJ KULCZYNSKI POLAND OUT

Council of Europe’s Anti-corruption Group calls on Croatia to raise public confidence in judiciary and bolster anti-corruption measures in parliament.

In a published report, the Council of Europe anti-Corruption Group (GRECO) gives credit to the efforts made by Croatia to fight corruption in public life. However, despite the many encouraging steps taken, Croatian citizens’ trust in their key institutions remains low. This negative perception is particularly troublesome with respect to the judiciary and politicians. 

The credibility gap in the judicial system must be addressed as a matter of priority, including by making the public aware of the tangible reforms introduced to strengthen its independence and efficiency. There is still room for improvement of the relevant counselling and accountability mechanisms of judges and prosecutors to prevent corruption risks and to dispel shadows of doubt on the integrity and transparency of the judiciary. 

GRECO positively values the measures introduced to enhance openness of parliamentary work and to prompt public participation in law and policy making. It encourages Parliament to step up its own capacity to address real and potential conflicts of interests and to sanction those who fall short of acceptable standards of ethical conduct. 

The implementation of the 11 recommendations addressed to Croatia will be assessed by GRECO in the first half of 2016 through its compliance procedure.