Eyeing EU, Croatia tries to clear courts backlog

The republic's courts have more than 1 million cases, some dating back to independence in 1991.

Eyeing EU, Croatia tries to clear courts backlog
Croatia is taking steps to reduce the huge backlog of cases burdening its inefficient judiciary, whose reform is a crucial part of Zagreb's European Union membership preparations, officials said on Monday.

The republic's courts have more than 1 million cases, some dating back to independence in 1991. Justice Minister Ivan Simonovic said on Monday the ministry and the courts were designing an action plan to reduce the delays, involving regular progress checks and sacking underperformers.

"For the most burdened courts ... we shall set the dynamics of case reduction and there will be checkups every six months. Those court presidents who do not meet the set quota will be replaced," Simonovic told a news conference.

Croatia hopes to conclude EU talks by the end of next year and join the bloc in 2011 or 2012. Brussels told Zagreb this month it expected progress in judicial, administrative and economic reform; as well as the fight against organised crime and corruption and prosecuting war criminals.

Supreme Court President Branko Hrvatin told the same news conference the court and the ministry were reviewing all unresolved cases and a final report was expected in January.

"We must introduce a standard which defines the time for processing cases before our courts ... to come close to EU standards," Hrvatin said.

After a series of violent incidents and two high-profile murders in the capital this year, Croatia has revamped the police, set up "anti-mafia" courts and passed laws allowing the confiscation of convicted criminals' property.


Reuters
Last Mod: 22 Aralık 2008, 16:03
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