Attorney general: Nobody from government or ruling party exerted pressure on me

NEWS 26.11.2021 15:54
Source: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL

State Attorney General Zlata Hrvoj-Sipek said in the parliament on Friday that, during the 18 months of her term as state attorney general, nobody from the government or the ruling centre-right HDZ party had exerted pressure on her to make her prosecute someone or drop a case.

She admitted that before applying for the post she had talked to the then justice minister.

“It was only logical to talk to the minister and hear his opinion about my work,” she said in response to a question by Social Democratic Party (SDP) MP Arsen Bauk who also told her that the public had the impression that the Croatian member of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), Tamara Laptos, was Croatia’s state attorney general and that Hrvoj-Sipek’s role had become one of less importance.

“I am an independent person, I am not a puppet on a string. If someone were to count, more HDZ officials have been prosecuted during my term than other parties’ members,” she said in response to Martina Vlasic-Iljkic (Social Democrats group), who told her that she was not independent and asked when she would resign.

“Apart from DORH (State Attorney’s Office), there is a national parliamentary tribunal that prosecutes on a daily basis, it indicts and adjudicates quickly, without a trial or a possibility of defence. If you have not noticed, you have already been convicted,” MP Josip Boric of the HDZ told Hrvoj-Sipek.

He also wondered what had happened with the case involving former SDP MP Vinko Grgic, who was stripped of immunity at the request of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. There have been no reactions, he remarked.

Hrvoj-Sipek told him that the request came from the EPPO and that DORH had no knowledge what the EPPO was doing regarding the case.

She confirmed having signed with former state attorney general Mladen Bajic a temporary service contract to last until the end of this year, justifying it with his experience and the fact that several prosecutors had left DORH over the past year.

“Bajic is neither blackmailing me nor am I afraid of him, we have had plenty of conflicts in our work together,” she told independent MP Karolina Vidovic-Kristo, who wanted to know why Bajic was still active even though he was 70 “and openly covered up corruption, and there are even indications that he was involved in it.”

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