Supreme Court President Radovan Dobronic has examined the proceedings by Croatian courts concerning adoptions of children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and found that 16 municipal courts dealt with such cases and none of the applications were denied, Croatia's highest court said on Tuesday. Pročitaj više
The information obtained from all municipal courts covers the period from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2020 and shows that all applications were granted. In one case, an application was withdrawn and the recognition proceeding was suspended.
The courts that decided on the adoptions of children from DR Congo based their jurisdiction on Article 52 of the International Private Law Act, under which every court seized of the matter had jurisdiction given that the applicants have habitual residence in Croatia and are its nationals.
“The statements of reasons show that the Croatian courts did not suspect the authenticity of the judgments by courts in DR Congo and hence did not separately examine their authenticity during the legalisation process,” the Supreme Court said.
The court said that the proceedings in question were conducted in accordance with general rules governing the recognition of foreign court judgments, which does not explicitly require the application of the Family Act in such cases.
Given that there is a certain legal gap in this regard, and until relevant legal amendments have been adopted, on 5 January 2023 the Supreme Court recommended that the specificities of the child adoption procedure should be taken into account.
On Monday, a hearing before a Zambian court of Croatian nationals charged with child trafficking was postponed, and the next hearings were scheduled for 6 and 10 February, according to Croatian diplomatic sources. Later that day, they were released on bail pending trial.
Four Croatian couples were arrested early in December at the airport of Ndola, Zambia’s third largest city, on suspicion of child trafficking and document forgery because the validity of the documents on the adoption of minor children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo was questionable. The defendants pleaded not guilty.
Two weeks ago, a court in Ndola granted the request by the Croatian nationals for pre-trial release provided that they posted bail of an equivalent of US$1,100 each, handed over their passports, regulated their stay in Zambia and found 16 people to guarantee for them.
The adopted children, who have Croatian documents, have been placed in the care of Zambian social services. A Pretoria-based Croatian consul looks after the arrested Croatians and he visited them in prison, but has been denied permission to visit the children.