Questionnaire for the preparation of the Opinion No. 11 of the CCPE
1. Does the prosecution service in your country work strategically with ensuring quality in the work of prosecutors? If yes, how is that done?
1. Quality of work of state attorneys/prosecutors and deputy state attorneys/prosecutors is primarily ensured through duty of state attorneys and deputy state attorneys to continuously undergo professional training and participate in educational programmes of the Judicial Academy. They can also participate in other forms of education and professional training. Further on, state attorney or deputy state attorney can published academic papers, participate in the capacity of a lecturer in Judicial Academy, and as a teacher or associate participate in university or professional studies, participate in expert or scientific conferences, draft regulations or participate in other similar activities and receive a fee for above referenced work.
Also, establishment of departments and sections in the state attorney’s office guarantees a specialisation in work and consequentially results in enhanced efficiency and quality of work. Therefore, in state attorney’s offices a criminal-law department is established for criminal cases and civil-and-administrative law department is established for civil and administrative cases. State Attorney General can establish an investigative department for a territory of county or municipal state attorney’s office and for the territory of one or more county state attorney’s offices; State Attorney General shall establish a Financial Investigations Department.
Section as expert bodies can be stablished within the departments consisting of no less than three deputies specialised for a specific type of cases. Therefore, sections for general crime, blood crime, economic crime and juvenile delinquency can be established within criminal law department. County state attorney’s offices can establish sections for first instance and also second-instance cases.
Moreover, quality of work is ensured through sessions of the collegiate body of the state attorney’s office with the aim of successful performance of tasks within the scope of state attorney’s office, obtaining an opinion on the task schedule, harmonisation of work of certain departments and sections, advancement of work methods, professional development and other issues important for the work of the state attorney’s office. Collegiate body particularly considers the following issues: organization of the internal operations of the State Attorney's Office and schedule tasks, realization of the program of work of the State Attorney's Office and a report on the work, controversial legal issues and mandatory instructions of senior state attorney’s office, legal opinions of lower and higher courts, the application of new regulations, professional training of officials, advisers, trainees and other employees as well as other issues important for the work of the State Attorney's Office. Certain issues can be considered in department or section sessions.
Also, it is important to emphasize that the State Attorney General of the Republic of Croatia can convene an extended Collegiate Body of the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia which consists of all Deputies of the State Attorney General, County State Attorneys and heads of special State Attorney’s Offices. The extended Collegiate Body considers draft legislation when these determine the powers of State Attorney’s Office or regulate other issues relevant for the work of State Attorney’s Office or other state attorney duties.
County State Attorney can convene an extended collegiate body consisting of the County State Attorney and his/her deputies and Municipal State attorneys, and if the number of deputies is low, deputy municipal state attorneys can be included. This collegiate body considers instructions and reports of the senior state attorney’s office and other issues important for the work of state attorney’s office or performance of state attorney’ duties in the territory of the county state attorney’s office.
With the aim of improving the quality of work and efficiency of the entire state attorney’s organisation, it is important to pint out the institute of supervision over work and review of lower state attorney’s offices.
State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatian in performing surveillance of operations of State Attorney’s Offices must take corresponding measures and especially perform direct inspections of the entire work and business operations of each State Attorney’s Office, while county state attorney’s office, as a senior state attorney’s office supervises work of municipal state attorney’s office in their territory. In conducting supervision, county state attorney’s office obtains reports and other data on the work of lower ranking state attorney’s offices and preforms direct inspection of work of every official, and it can convene joint meetings and consultations with state attorneys, deputy state attorneys, advisors, trainees and other employees from lower ranking state attorney’s offices so as to consider issues of general significance for the work of the lower ranking state attorney’s office.
State Attorney General of the Republic of Croatia in accordance with the work program, personally or via his/her deputies he/she designates and other experts, every two years performs inspection of entire operations or certain parts of operations of county state attorney’s offices. In the course of the inspection, complete or partial inspections of municipal state attorney’s offices in the territory of a county state attorney’s office can be performed. Inspections of certain municipal state attorney’s offices can be conducted separately.
County State Attorney acts in the same manner, once in two years he/she performs inspections of entire operations or certain parts of operations of lower ranking state attorney’s offices from his/her territory. Report on the inspection, state of affairs and conducted measures is delivered to the state attorney’s office that was the subject of the inspection and to the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia.
Also, every state attorney, deputy state attorney and advisor is the subject of inspection when he/she applies for the transfer or appointment to the position of the state attorney or deputy state attorney in a different state attorney’s office. The inspection refers to the two-year period prior to applying to the transfer or appointment.
It is important to emphasize that Expert Meeting of the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia is held annually where issues important for the work of state attorney’s organisation are discussed and current problems in work and actions of state attorney’s offices are presented.
2. Which criteria are considered crucial in your country for securing the highest quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors: their independence, impartiality, human and material resources, conditions of work etc.? Please briefly describe.
2. In securing the highest quality and efficiency of the work of the state attorney’s office in the Republic of Croatia the crucial elements are independence, impartiality and autonomy of state attorneys. Namely, pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and provisions of the State Attorney’s Office Act ("Official Gazette” no. 76/09, 153/09, 116/10, 145/10, 57/11, 130/11, 72/13, 148/13, 33/15 and 82/15, hereinafter: ZDO/09) state attorney’s office is and independent and autonomous judicial authority empowered and duty-bound to instigate prosecution of perpetrators of criminal and other penal offences, to initiate legal measures to protect the property of the Republic of Croatia and to apply legal remedies to protect the Constitution and law. State Attorney’s Office executes its authority pursuant to the Constitution, laws, international treaties that constitute part of the legal system of the Republic of Croatia, and other provisions adopted pursuant to the Constitution, a treaty and law of the Republic of Croatia. Also, it is important to emphasize that the referenced act prescribes that every form of influence, especially any form of coercion towards State Attorneys, abuse of public authority and personal influence, and the use of media and public statement in view of criminal cases for which proceedings are instituted ex officio, as well in view of the cases in which the State Attorney performs his/her rights and duties legally in view of protecting the assets of the Republic of Croatia, is prohibited. Further on State Attorney General of the Republic of Croatia, State Attorney and Deputy State Attorney General or the Deputy State Attorney shall not be held liable for legal opinion issued in view of the case assigned to him/her, unless in case of statutory infringement from the part of the State Attorney General, the State Attorney or the Deputy State Attorney, which constitute a criminal offence. It needs to be pointed out that State Attorney or Deputy State Attorney is not allowed to use his/her official position or reputation of the State Attorney Office for realization of his/her rights before state bodies and bodies of local self-government and local administration. Also, State Attorney or Deputy State Attorney must not perform duties of a judge, lawyer, public notary or a member of the management or supervisory committee of a commercial company or any other legal person gaining profit and must not perform any other service or work that might influence his/her autonomy and objectivity or harm his/her public reputation or that is, otherwise, not connected to performance of state attorney duties.
Impartiality of deputy state attorneys is also ensured by electronic random assignment of cases through CTS system. It also ensures equal workload of deputies.
Moreover, special form of protection of judicial officials, thus including state attorney is reflected in the existence of a criminal offence of coercion against judicial official referred to in article 312 of the Criminal Code ("Official Gazette", no: 125/11, 144/12, 56/15 i 61/15, hereinafter: KZ/11). Therefore, whoever by the use of force or threat of any kind of harm prevents a judge, state attorney, notary public or other judicial official or employee from taking an action or decision within the limits of his/her authority or coerces him/her to take an action or decision within or beyond the limits of his/her authority shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of between six months and five years.
Also, it is important to mention existence of the criminal offence of coercion against the most senior state officials of the Republic of Croatia referred to in Article 346 of KZ/11, and State Attorney General of the Republic of Croatia is one of them. Therefore, whoever, in cases not falling under Article 97 of the Act, by the use of force or threat of immediate use of force prevents the State Attorney General of the Republic of Croatia from performing his/her duties or forces him/her to perform his/her duties in a certain manner shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of between one and eight years. Even stricter sentence is envisaged for this criminal offence, i.e. imprisonment for a term of between three and twelve years if by this criminal offence the life or limb of the State Attorney General is endangered or he/she is inflicted a bodily injury, or if during the commission of the said offence weapons or other dangerous instruments are used.
3. Are there any indicators, formal or informal, used in your country in order to assess the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors, for example, the number of cases considered, the length of the consideration, the complexity of the cases considered etc.? Please briefly describe.
3. Indicators of quality and efficiency of work of state attorneys are primarily reflected in state attorney's statistics and reports on work.
Therefore, state attorney's offices keep and deliver statistics of their work through different forms to the State Statistics Institute that keeps records in accordance with a special act. Statistical data are filled into special forms based on data from certain registries, and completed lists and regular statistical reports are delivered to competent authorities in prescribed deadlines.
Further on, State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia is due to submit a report to the Croatian Parliament until 30 April of current year. Report refers to the state and movement of reported crime in the previous year, cases which refer to the protection of property interests of the Republic of Croatia, legal issues in certain areas, review of the organisation and human resources. The report can warn of the conditions and functioning of the legal system, shortcomings in the legislation and internal operations of the state attorney’s office and provide suggestions for the advancement of work.
Also, state attorney’s offices submit monthly reports to the higher-ranking state attorney’s office. Report contains data on the proceedings that have finished, proceedings that are on-going and actions that have been undertaken or will be undertaken. Higher ranking state attorney’s office can request reports to be made per types of cases. State attorney’s office also submit annual reports to the higher ranking state attorney’s office that contain review of received, solved and unsolved cases, review of structure of criminal, civil and administrative cases, indictments and representations and also review of legal remedies that were filed and result thereof. State attorney’s offices can indicate difficulties they encounter in their work, deficiencies in the legislation, internal operations of the state attorney’s office or courts and deliver propositions for possible amendments.
State Attorney’s Office Act/09 also prescribes submitting special reports in cases of special national interests or with complex factual and legal issues, where a lower ranking State Attorney’s Office is obliged to report to a higher ranking State Attorney’s Office on performed as well as future measures. These reports are submitted immediately upon receiving a case or conducting an action. If the case in question is of special significance, State Attorney General is directly informed via telecommunication means.
Moreover, in regard to records on the work of state attorney’s offices and their deputies, it is important to point out that state attorney’s registry keeps a monthly specification sheet for every state attorney, deputy state attorney or advisor which contains a total number of received, solved and unsolved reports and cases, deadlines in which the cases were solved, type and number of conducted actions, court and administrative bodies’ decisions, number of trial days and hearings and number of legal remedies and decisions on those remedies, as well as data on education and other out-of-procedure actions. At the end of a calendar year, annual specification sheet is made for every state attorney, deputy state attorney or advisor, and a copy is enclosed to his/her personal file.
Also, special personal file is formed for every deputy state attorney in a state attorney’s office so as to keep records on his/her work, supervisions over his/her work and comments and praises over his/her work referenced data are collected for the purpose of monitoring and evaluation of work, and can be used for that purpose only.
It is important to point out that Internal Supervision Department has been established within the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia for the purpose of supervising the work of state attorney’s offices, review of entire work of local state attorney’s offices, maintain monthly and annual statistics and care of professional development of state attorneys, deputy state attorneys, advisors, trainees and other employees.
4. Is there a formal or informal procedure for evaluation of the work of prosecutors, how often it is evaluated, by whom, and with what consequences? Do the prosecutors have the right to raise formal or informal objections to the results of the evaluation and to its consequences?
4. In regard to evaluation of performance of state attorney’s duty, please note that deputy state attorney appointed for the first term to the state attorney’s office is evaluated each year for the first three years. Other deputies are evaluated every third year. Performance of duties of State Attorneys and Deputy State Attorneys is evaluated according to the diligence shown in resolving assigned cases in comparison to the average work results of the County, i.e. Municipal State Attorney’s Offices in the year preceding the year of evaluation, implementation of legal remedies, professional competence and work results, quality of work, and rhetorical and writing skills, complying with procedural deadlines, ability and readiness to learn and acquire knew knowledge, active participation and achieved grades in professional training programmes, published academic papers, participation in practical legal courses, and attending conferences, cooperation and relationship with fellow workers;, ability to perform administrative work and the work of the state attorney, if assigned to that office.
Deputy State Attorney’s grade for performance of state attorney duties is given by the State Attorney of that State Attorney’s Office while the State Attorney ie evaluated by the higher ranking state attorney. Before delivery of evaluation, the State Attorney shall invite the State Attorney or Deputy State Attorney being evaluated and acquaint him/her with the grounds used for evaluation. The State Attorney or Deputy Attorney has the right to warn of the circumstances that might influence evaluation procedure and that the State Attorney has not taken into account or has reached wrong conclusion based thereon. Grade is delivered to the Deputy State Attorney to whom it refers and the content thereof is confidential. In explanation of the grade, the State Attorney shall explain the evaluation method pursuant to each criterion and indicators on the grounds of which the grade has been achieved, and shall state all relevant data. Grade is delivered with complaint instructions. County and Municipal State Attorney or Deputy State Attorney not agreeing with the grade has the right to file a complaint to the State Attorney's Council within eight days from the receipt thereof.If the complaint against the grade is filed, the State Attorney giving the grade shall demand the opinion of the Collegiate of the State Attorney’s Office in question. Then, s/he shall deliver the complaint together with the opinion of the Collegiate and the personal file of the Deputy to the State Attorney's Council who shall confirm, amend or return the grade for re-evaluation.
5. As regards the fight against organised crime and terrorism, are there any specific conditions, criteria, procedures or indicators created for prosecutors in your country in order to:
- facilitate their work?
- evaluate their work?
5. As regards the fight against organised crime and terrorism, it is important to note that special state attorney’s office - the Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) is competent for the criminal offence of terrorism if it was committed within a criminal association. Namely, USKOK is a specialised state attorney’s office competent to act in cases of corruption and organised crime and it is competent for the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia with a seat in Zagreb and sections in Osijek, Rijeka and Split, due to large number of case.
To facilitate and enable higher quality and more timely work of USKOK, Police National Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (PNUSKOK) was established. It a special police office within the Crime Police Administration of the Chief Police Directorate that conducts criminal investigation and inquiries into criminal offences from USKOK’s competence. By this separate structure of PNUSKOK and USKOK, direct communication between deputies and police officers is ensured with the aim of more efficient fight against organised crime and corruption.
6. Are there in your country recent legislative reforms to fight more effectively against organised crime and terrorism and how are these reforms seen in relation to the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors? Please briefly describe.
6. By the latest amendments of the Criminal Code that entered into force on 21 May 2015, Article 103 of the referenced act was amended. Namely, along with prescribed punishability of preparatory actions for criminal offence of terrorism referred to in Article 97 of the Criminal Code, amendments prescribed punishability of preparatory actions for criminal offences of financing terrorism (Article 98), public incitement to terrorism (Article 99), recruitment for terrorism (Article 100), training for terrorism (Article 101) and terrorism association (Article 102).
Namely, the Republic of Croatia – party to all UN and other international anti-terrorist instruments harmonised its criminal legislation. This is especially true for the implementation of Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism (FD 2002) and Amending Framework Decision 2008/919/JHA (FD 2008) that are completely implemented into Croatian Criminal Code by incriminating offence of terrorism, financing terrorism, public incitement to terrorism, recruitment for terrorism, training for terrorism, terrorism association and preparation of criminal offences against values protected by international law, as criminal offences with corresponding and diverting sanctions. Criminal legislation of the Republic of Croatia, since it completely adopted or implemented current international legal acts in the field of terrorism, can adequately and efficiently provide a legal response to different forms of potential terrorist threats or activities. However, requirements of the Security Council Resolution UN 2178/14 (UNSCR 2178) regarding criminalisation of certain activities (travelling for the purpose of terrorism, financing of such travel, organisation or facilitation of such travel) surpasses frames of FD 2002 and FD 2008 and, consequently, framework of domestic implementation law. This Resolution required energetic measures against latest forms of terrorism and invited UN member states to „double efforts in combating violent extremism” (paragraph 15). This is the reason why above referenced amendments of the Criminal Code were introduced so as to criminalise preparatory actions not just for the offence of terrorism but also for the offences of financing terrorism, public incitement to terrorism, recruitment for terrorism, training for terrorism and terrorism association.
7. Do you consider that current international conventions, as well as international organisations, like Eurojust, Europol and Interpol, are sufficient to effectively fight against organised crime and terrorism?
7. Conventions are in any case necessary, as a starting point and basis for efficient cooperation. Of course, decisive factor is the implementation of conventions' provisions in everyday work.
Experiences in cooperation via EUROJUST are very positive. Eurojust provides a possibility of quick and safe exchange of information, but also possibility of direct contact between concerned prosecutors from different states with the aim of reaching concrete decisions in cases (coordination meetings). Also, it provides a possibility of direct monitoring of certain activities through Coordination centres. The role of Eurojust should be strengthened, but also ensure the protection of sovereignty of member states through their actions via Eurojust.
8. What are the major challenges in your country as regards the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors and, in particular, their fight against organised crime and terrorism?
8. The major challenges as regards the quality and efficiency of the work of state attorney's office and, in particular, their fight against organised crime and terrorism, primarily is the existence of sufficient material resources and necessary increase in staffing all with the aim of enabling quick and efficient response to bigger and more serious challenges set before them as regards the fight against organised crime and terrorism. Namely, suppression of terrorism, a very complex criminal offence due to different, quickly changing forms and international element, has become one of the primary tasks of EU and UN member states. Therefore, additional efforts need to invested and improve quality of work in state attorney’s offices by increasing material and human resources to be able to respond to mentioned challenges successfully and expediently.
Also, it is important to emphasize that one might expected that certain problems in obtaining evidence, material and personal, could appear in practice and which could confirm conducting preparatory actions for the perpetration of criminal offences of terrorism, and possible new forms of the criminal offence. In that view, we believe international cooperation mechanisms need to be strengthened further and enable direct and efficient exchange of information in international level.