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Prosecution Service Function within the Croatian Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research Volume: 14 Issue: 2-3 Dated: August 2008 Pages: 263-287
Ksenija Turkovic
Date Published
August 2008
25 pages
This article describes the national criminal justice system of Croatia, focusing on the Prosecution Service function and its relation to police and courts.
Croatian criminal procedure is of a mixed type, combining features of an inquisitorial and adversarial system. The Croatian criminal procedure is also traditionally characterized by the principle of accusation, the principal of legality, and the principle of mandatory prosecution with the role of punishment reserved for the courts. In relation to the investigation of crime, the police carry out the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) and are required to pass and bring all cases to the court. Today, there are many changes occurring within the Croatian criminal procedure. There is a visible trend of increased use of diversionary and penal order procedures, although they have been introduced in Croatian criminal procedure only recently. They are perceived as devices simplifying and speeding up criminal procedure. The aim of the PPS should be to have a full trial only against those perpetrators for whom it is seen as necessary, taking into consideration seriousness of the offense, personal characteristics, or other circumstances. There is also the need to improve cooperation between PPS and police. Also, the weight of victims in the decision taken is slowly growing. There is a reform process currently underway, reform of the investigative stage. The role of the examining magistrate most probably will be diminished and the PPS will be assigned the central role in conducting investigations. Proposals have been made to give police far-reaching investigative powers. Lastly, possibilities are investigated and explored in introducing perpetrator-victim mediation. This article describes the Croatian criminal justice system using 2003 as a reference year and with the addition of indications, as to arrangements still under discussion since a significant revision of Croatian criminal procedure is contemplated. Figures, table, and references