JANUARY 1 2014 12:32h
Justice Minister Orsat Miljenic has said that the legislation on the implementation of the European Arrest Warrant without time limitations will be applied in every case, including the case of Josip Perkovic, a former Yugoslav and Croatian intelligence agent, wanted in Germany for his role in the murder of dissident Stjepan Djurekovic in 1983.
The modified legislation on implementing the European Arrest Warrant without time restrictions went into force in Croatia on Wednesday, 1 January.
Minister Miljenic said in an interview with the Croatian Radio on Wednesday morning that Croatia had received EAWs for the apprehension of 29 nationals, and that more than a half of them were not residing in Croatia.
He refuted to speculate whether some arrests could be expected on the New Year's day, a public holiday.
The minister explained that upon receiving instructions about EAWs in specific cases, the police are expected to serve the warrants on the suspects who should be brought in for questioning in the offices of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) and later to the relevant courts' investigating judges, which depends on whether the arrestees accept their handover or not.
A few days before Croatia's entry into the European Union on 1 July 2013, the ruling majority in the Croatian parliament adopted amendments to the the legislation on Croatia's judicial cooperation with other EU members, which made it impossible for Croatia to apply EAW for crimes perpetrated before August 2002. However, the passage of those amendments was met with severe criticism from the opposition and the public in Croatia and from the European Commission that described it as Croatia's breach of obligations it assumed during the accession negotiations.
Yielding to this pressure, the government modified the said law one more time and the modified legislation wen into force on 1 January 2014, providing for the application of the EAW with no time limits.