The four Croatian couples and the four Congolese children they adopted arrived in Ljubljana by plane from Zambia on Saturday and their transport to Zagreb was organised, Croatian government spokesman Marko Milić told Hina.
They were welcomed in Ljubljana by the Croatian ambassador to Slovenia and representatives of Croatia’s Family and Social Policy Ministry and Family Centre to provide support and assistance, notably to the children, the Croatian Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
From day one, the ministry said, the Croatian Embassy in Pretoria provided assistance for the return of Croatian citizens together with the ministry’s consular affairs department and the entire diplomatic network.
“We also thank our international partners, notably the EU Delegation in Lusaka, for the assistance. Croatia’s Foreign Affairs Service is continuing to do its job professionally and to assist Croatian citizens around the world within its powers,” the ministry said.
A high court in Ndola, Zambia on Thursday acquitted the four Croatian couples, with the judge finding that there was no evidence of child trafficking nor that the adoption documents were false.
Croatian Justice Minister Ivan Malenica said on Thursday they would not undergo additional procedures in Croatia as the foreign court’s decision had been recognised and the children had Croatian documents and were coming to Croatia as Croatian citizens. “That can’t be contested.”
The eight Croats went to Zambia last December to collect children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, aged one to three, whose adoption papers had been upheld by Croatian courts and for whom the Croatian Interior Ministry had issued Croatian documents.
However, they were arrested at Ndola airport on 7 December as they were about to leave Zambia with the children on suspicion of document forgery and child trafficking.