The parliamentary opposition warned on Wednesday during a debate on amendments to judicial laws about the inadmissible influence of the executive branch on the State Attorney's Office (DORH), which Minister Ivan Malenica strongly denied, saying the government did not exert pressure on DORH.
“It’s time State Attorney General Zlata Hrvoj-Sipek made a statement on media claims about government pressures on DORH,” independent MP Vesna Nadj said during a debate on amendments to the laws on the State Attorneys Council and the State Judicial Council.
Nadj said that the state attorney general should not inform the prime minister about possible proceedings against government officials, no matter how much her term in office depended on the votes of those in power.
Dalija Oreskovic (Centre party) said that it was not enough just to remove the HDZ from power, because that had already happened twice but without long-term improvement.
If we want something better, the Constitution must be changed so that the state attorney general is more independent, with a single eight-year term of office. The State Attorney’s Council and the State Judicial Council need to be reorganised because MPs shouldn’t be in them, and there should be a system for monitoring declaration of assets, said Oreskovic.
Marija Jelkovec (HDZ) said that the ruling majority was serious about tackling corruption in the society, which, she said, could be seen by all the legal changes in the judiciary.
Minister Malenica underscored the executive branch did not exert influence over the judiciary. The judiciary, Malenica said, remains independent, impartial and performs its work with no pressure, and the prime minister does not have an influence on the work of the state attorney general.
The minister also pointed out there were some matters, such as arbitration, representing Croatia’s interests, and property claims, where cooperation between the executive branch and DORH was necessary.
Malenica said that the proposed amendments were intended to ensure more efficient functioning of the State Attorneys Council and the State Judicial Council, improve the procedures for appointing judicial officials and to increase their responsibility and transparency.