The Opposition said on Friday it would not endorse a report of the State Attorney's Office for 2020, calling for the dismissal of Attorney General Zlata Hrvoj-Sipek over what they described as a failure of her office to function properly, but also failure to take action in a case involving former minister Gabrijela Zalac.
Nikola Grmoja of the opposition populist Most party said that judging by information available to him, Hrvoj-Sipek should leave because she performed her duties irresponsibly and her office (DORH) worked according to the government’s dictate.
Grmoja said that the case involving former EU funds minister Gabrijela Zalac, suspected of corruption in a case dubbed Software, would not have been discovered had the European Public Prosecutor’s Office not become involved.
Grmoja also maintains that Hrvoj-Sipek covered up the case.
The only way she can defend herself is to say that she did not read the report of the USKOK anti-corruption office (on the case), but that, too, shows that she does not perform her duties responsibly and is the wrong person for the post, said Grmoja.
Pedja Grbin of the opposition centre-left Social Democratic Party said that his party group would not support Hrvoj-Sipek’s report, also calling for her dismissal. He added that not only did she not make DORH more efficient, but had caused the entire system to collapse.
Ivan Penava, head of the opposition right wing DP party, spoke about the failure to prosecute those responsible for war crimes in the wartime aggression on Vukovar, ethnic cleansing, actions contrary to the Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws of war, and indiscriminate shelling in which 1,292 civilians were killed while more than 260 were executed at Ovcara, as well as the destruction of the eastern Croatian city.
Penava said that “there is no justice for the war victims in Croatia” and described this as treason.
Milorad Pupovac of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), a member of the parliamentary majority, recalled the plight of ethnic Serbs for which nobody had been called to account, as well as the displaced.
He said that he felt ashamed for having to speak about it but that he did not want either Serbs or Croats to be held hostage to crimes committed by individuals, regardless of how big those tragedies may be.
Pupovac also pointed to the problem of growing hate speech, noting that if there had been omissions in the work of the State Attorney’s Office, they should be rectified but that one could not hold the entire State Attorney’s Office responsible.
Marija Jelkovac of the ruling HDZ party said her party group would support Hrvoj-Sipek’s report, commending her office’s promptness in spite of having poor working conditions and insufficient staff.
She also said that the judiciary was under pressure from the Opposition and that the government was not protecting anyone.
Hrvoj-Sipek dismissed the criticism about her office’s inactivity, explaining that it could not act without grounds and adding that she was proud of its results in 2020.
As for the case involving Zalac, she said that the supervision in that case had still not been completed and that once it was over, she would make a decision, denying that she had access to the case file.
Hrvoj-Sipek stressed that her office paid special attention to war crimes but that with the passage of time, it was increasingly difficult to collect evidence.
She also said that delays in action in that type of cases were also due to the European Court of Human Rights’ ban on in absentia trials.