Please note that the original language version of this page Croatian has been amended recently. The language version you are now viewing is currently being prepared by our translators.
Swipe to change

Victims' rights - by country

Croatia

Content provided by:
Croatia

How do I report a crime?

Crimes can be reported by filing a criminal complaint in written, verbal or other form with the competent state attorney’s office.

Individuals filing a criminal complaint verbally are warned of the consequences of filing false complaints. Verbal complaints are recorded. Complaints filed by telephone or other telecommunication means are recorded, where possible, and an official note is drawn up.

When filing a complaint, victims are provided with a written acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint, which contains the basic details of the crime. Victims who do not speak or understand the language used by the competent body may report the crime in their own language and are provided with an interpreter or another person who speaks and understands both the official and the victim’s languages. Victims who do not speak or understand the language used by the competent body may request to have the acknowledgement translated into their language at the body’s expense.

All criminal complaints received by courts, the police, or state attorney’s offices outside the area of jurisdiction are immediately forwarded to the competent state attorney’s office.

The state attorney duly enters the criminal complaint in the register of criminal complaints at the time of its receipt, except in cases exempted under law.

Where the state attorney has only heard news of a crime or received a report from the victim, he/she draws up an official note, records it in the register of miscellaneous offence cases and proceeds as provided for by law.

If the criminal complaint contains no details of the crime, i.e. if the state attorney cannot identify the offence reported, he/she records it in the register of miscellaneous offence cases and asks the person filing the complaint to provide additional information within 15 days.

If the person filing the complaint ignores the request for additional information, the state attorney draws up an official note of this. Once the deadline for submitting additional information has expired, the state attorney must report this to a senior state attorney within eight days. The senior state attorney may order the criminal complaint to be entered in the register of criminal complaints.

How do I find out what’s happening with the case?

Two months after filing a criminal complaint or reporting a crime, the victim or the injured party may send the state attorney a request for information on the action taken in response to the complaint/report. The state attorney must reply within a reasonable period but no later than 30 days from the date of receipt of the written request, except where such a reply could harm the proceedings. If the state attorney decides not to provide this information, he/she must inform the victim/injured party thereof.

A victim participating in criminal proceedings as an injured party has the right to be informed of the outcome of the proceedings.

Am I entitled to legal aid (during the investigation or trial)? Under what conditions?

In addition to the above rights, victims of sexual crimes and human trafficking have the right to free consultation with a legal adviser and may be assigned a representative before being interviewed. The cost of the adviser/representative is borne by the State.

Child victims have all of the above rights as well as the right to an authorised representative, the cost of which is borne by the State.

Crime victims have the right to primary and secondary legal aid. Such aid is provided free of charge to victims of violent crimes in the course of proceedings so that they may obtain compensation for the harm/injury they have suffered as crime victims.

The Free Legal Aid Act makes provision for primary and secondary legal aid.

Primary legal aid covers general legal information, legal advice, submissions to public bodies, the European Court of Human Rights and international organisations in accordance with international treaties and internal rules of procedure, representation in proceedings before public bodies, and legal assistance in out-of-court dispute settlements.

Primary legal aid can be provided in every legal matter:

  • if the applicant does not have the knowledge or aptitude to assert his/her rights;
  • if the applicant has not received legal aid under separate regulations;
  • if the application submitted is not manifestly unfounded;
  • if the applicant’s economic situation is such that the payment of legal aid would jeopardise his/her subsistence or that of the members of his/her household.

Applicants seeking primary legal aid should contact a provider of primary legal aid directly.

Secondary legal aid covers legal advice, submissions in a procedure for protecting workers’ rights before the employer, submissions in court proceedings, representation in court proceedings, legal aid in amicable dispute settlements, and exemption from the payment of legal costs and court fees.

Secondary legal aid may be awarded:

  1. if the proceedings are complex;
  2. if the applicant is incapable of representing him/herself;
  3. if the applicant’s economic situation is such that the payment of legal aid would jeopardise his/her subsistence or that of the members of his/her household.;
  4. if litigation is not excessive;
  5. if the applicant has not had his/her application rejected within the past six months for intentionally supplying inaccurate information; and
  6. if the applicant has not received legal aid under separate regulations.

Secondary legal is approved without a prior assessment of the applicant’s economic situation, if the applicant is:

  1. a child taking part in maintenance proceedings;
  2. a victim of violent crime seeking compensation for the harm/injury suffered as a result of the offence;
  3. a beneficiary of maintenance payments under separate regulations on social security rights, or
  4. a beneficiary of a cost of living allowance under the Act on the rights of Croatian Independence War veterans and their family members and the Act on the protection of military and civilian war veterans.

Applicants seeking secondary legal aid must submit their application to the competent office on a dedicated form.

Can I claim expenses (for taking part in the investigation/trial)? Under what conditions?

Defendants found guilty are ordered by the court to cover the costs of litigation, unless they are eligible for a full or partial exemption.

When criminal proceedings are suspended or when the court acquits the defendant or drops the charges, the court’s decision/ruling must provide that the cost of the criminal proceedings under Article 145(2)(1-5) of this Act, the unavoidable costs incurred by the defendant and the unavoidable costs by, and compensation due to, the defence attorney are to be borne by the State, except where otherwise provided by law.

Can I appeal if my case is closed before going to court?

Victims whose criminal complaints have been rejected may pursue criminal prosecution themselves.

If the state attorney finds that there is no basis for prosecuting an offence prosecutable ex officio or a reported individual, he/she must inform the victim about this within eight days and instruct the victim that they may pursue prosecution themselves. The same must be done by a court that has stopped proceedings because the state attorney had dropped prosecution in other cases.

Can I be involved in the trial?

Under this Act, the injured party to criminal proceedings has the right to:

  • use his/her mother tongue, including sign language, and request an interpreter, if he/she does not speak or understand Croatian, or a sign language interpreter, if the injured party is deaf or deafblind;
  • file an associated action for damages and motions for temporary injunctions;
  • legal representation;
  • present facts and move to introduce evidence;
  • attend the evidentiary hearing;
  • attend the proceedings, take part in the evidentiary proceedings and make a closing statement;
  • request access to the case file under Article 184(2) of this Act;
  • ask to be informed by the state attorney in respect of action taken on the basis of his/her criminal complaint and file a complaint to a senior state attorney;
  • appeal;
  • seek restoration of the previous situation;
  • receive notice of the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

What is my official role in the justice system? For example, am I or can I choose to be a: victim, witness, injured party, or private plaintiff?

Victims of crime are natural persons who have suffered physical or psychological harm, property damage or a serious violation of his/her fundamental rights and freedoms as a direct consequence of the crime. The spouse, partner, life partner, informal life partner, descendant(s), or in the absence of the latter, ascendant(s) or sibling(s) of the person whose death is directly attributable to the crime, and any person(s) legally maintained by the deceased is also considered to be victim of that crime.

An injured party is a crime victim or a legal person that has suffered damage as a result of the crime and participates in criminal proceedings in the capacity of an injured party.

The capacity of a party to or participant in the proceedings does not depend on that person’s wish, but on the role the person played in the specific criminal matter. Anyone can appear in any of the above roles, depending on the circumstances laid down by the regulations; the choice that they have concerns the rights they wish to exercise as an injured party or crime victim.

What are my rights and obligations in this role?

A victim of crime has the right to:

  • access support services for crime victims;
  • effective psychological and other professional assistance and support from bodies, organisations, and institutions supporting victims of crime, in accordance with the law;
  • protection from intimidation and retaliation;
  • protection of his/her dignity while giving evidence as the victim;
  • be heard without undue delay after filing a criminal complaint and to subsequently be interrogated no more than is absolutely necessary for the purpose of the criminal proceedings;
  • be accompanied by a person of trust in whatever actions he/she takes part;
  • endure minimal medical procedures and only if these are absolutely vital for the purpose of the criminal proceedings;
  • file a motion to prosecute or bring a private action under the Criminal Code, to participate in criminal proceedings as an injured party, to be informed about the dismissal of a criminal complaint (Article 206(3) of the Act) and about the decision of the state attorney to take no action, and to pursue prosecution individually without the state attorney;
  • be informed by the state attorney on the action taken on the basis of his/her complaint (Article 206a of the Act), and to lodge a complaint with a senior state attorney (Article 206b of this Act);
  • request and receive information without undue delay on the release of the offender from detention or remand, the offender’s escape or release from prison, and on measures taken to ensure the victim’s protection;
  • request and receive information on any final decision terminating the criminal proceedings;
  • other rights as provided for by law;

A victim participating in criminal proceedings as an injured party has the right to:

  • use his/her mother tongue, including sign language, and request an interpreter, if he/she does not speak or understand Croatian, or a sign language interpreter, if the injured party is deaf or deafblind;
  • file an associated action for damages and motions for temporary injunctions;
  • legal representation;
  • present facts and move to introduce evidence;
  • attend the evidentiary hearing;
  • attend the proceedings, take part in the evidentiary proceedings and make a closing statement;
  • request access to the case file in accordance with the Code;
  • ask to be informed by the state attorney in respect of action taken on the basis of his/her criminal complaint and file a complaint to a senior state attorney;
  • appeal;
  • seek restoration of the previous situation;
  • receive notice of the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

In addition to the above rights, victims of sexual crimes and human trafficking have additional rights as listed in point 12.

If the victim of a crime is a child, he/she is has additional rights, as listed in point 13, in addition to the abovementioned victims’ rights.

During the investigation stage, crime victims who are private plaintiffs or injured parties may draw attention to all facts and introduce evidence that is material for ascertaining the crime, identifying the offender(s) and establishing their claims in the associated action for damages.

Both before and at any stage during the criminal proceedings, the State Attorney’s Office and the court must consider the possibility that the defendant may compensate the injured party for any loss caused by the offence. They must also inform the injured party of certain rights under law (e.g. the injured party’s right to use his/her mother tongue, the right to file an associated action for damages, etc.).

Persons who are likely to have information on the offence, the offender or other pertinent circumstances can be summoned as witnesses.

The following may be asked to stand witness: the injured party, the injured party as a prosecutor, and the private plaintiff.

A private plaintiff has the same rights as the state attorney with the exception of the rights belonging solely to a state authority.

Can I make a statement during the trial or give evidence? Under what conditions?

The injured party in criminal proceedings has the rights listed in point 25.

What information will I receive during the trial?

During the investigation stage, crime victims who are private plaintiffs or injured parties may draw attention to all facts and introduce evidence that is material for ascertaining the crime, identifying the offender(s) and establishing their claims in the associated action for damages.

A victim participating in criminal proceedings as an injured party has the right to:

  • ask to be informed by the state attorney in respect of action taken on the basis of his/her report and file a complaint to a senior state attorney;
  • be informed that the criminal complaint has been dismissed or that the state attorney has decided to take no action;
  • receive notice of the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

Will I be able to access court files?

A victim participating in criminal proceedings as the injured party may access the case file.

Last update: 04/07/2018

The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective Member State. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. The European Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.

Feedback

Use the form below to share your comments and feedback on our new website