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Constitution of the Republic of Croatia

Constitution of the Republic of Croatia

Most important criminal legislation

Criminal Code (Kazneni zakon) (Narodne Novine (NN; Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia) Nos 125/11, 144/12, 56/15, 61/15, 101/17 and 126/19)

The new Criminal Code, which came into force on the first day of 2013, introduced some new features, such as higher penalties and longer limitation periods, as well as new criminal offences, such as non-payment of salaries, wanton driving and illicit gambling. Under amendments to the Criminal Code of December 2012 in the area of criminal liability, the possession of drugs for personal use became a minor offence.

The Criminal Code has a general part and a specific part:

(A) The general part of the Criminal Code contains provisions applicable to all criminal offences. These provisions lay down the general principles governing punishability, fines and criminal penalties.

(B) The specific part of the Criminal Code contains descriptions of specific criminal offences and the corresponding penalties, including those governed by other legislation. The criminal offences laid down in the Croatian Criminal Code are:

  • criminal offences against humanity and human dignity,
  • criminal offences against life and body,
  • criminal offences against human rights and fundamental freedoms,
  • criminal offences against employment and social insurance,
  • criminal offences against personal freedom,
  • criminal offences against privacy,
  • criminal offences against honour and reputation,
  • criminal offences against sexual freedom,
  • criminal offences of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children,
  • criminal offences against marriage, the family and children,
  • criminal offences against human health,
  • criminal offences against the environment,
  • criminal offences against general safety,
  • criminal offences against traffic safety,
  • criminal offences against property,
  • criminal offences against the economy,
  • criminal offences against computer systems, software and data,
  • criminal offences of forgery,
  • criminal offences against intellectual property,
  • criminal offences against public office,
  • criminal offences against the judiciary,
  • criminal offences against public order,
  • criminal offences against the right to vote,
  • criminal offences against the Republic of Croatia,
  • criminal offences against a foreign state or international organisation, and
  • criminal offences against the armed forces of the Republic of Croatia.

Criminal Procedure Act (Zakon o kaznenom postupku) (NN Nos 152/08, 76/09, 80/11, 91/12 – Order and Decision of the Croatian Constitutional Court, 143/12, 56/13, 145/13, 152/14 and 126/19)

This Act lays down the rules to ensure that no innocent person is convicted, and that penalties and other measures are imposed on perpetrators of criminal offences under the terms provided for by law based on lawfully conducted proceedings before a competent court.

Criminal prosecution and proceedings may be conducted and completed only according to the rules and under the terms laid down in the Act.

The Criminal Procedure Act transposes the following EU legislation into the Croatian legal system:

  1. Directive 2010/64/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings (OJ L 280, 26.10.2010);
  2. Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims (OJ L 101, 15.4.2011);
  3. Directive 2011/93/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (OJ L 335, 17.12.2011);
  4. Directive 2012/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 on the right to information in criminal proceedings (OJ L 142, 1.6.2012);
  5. Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (OJ L 350, 30.12.2008);
  6. Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA (OJ L 315, 14.11.2012);
  7. Directive 2013/48/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and in European arrest warrant proceedings, and on the right to have a third party informed upon deprivation of liberty and to communicate with third persons and with consular authorities while deprived of liberty (OJ L 294, 6.11.2013);
  8. Directive 2014/42/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union (OJ L 127, 29.4.2014);
  9. Directive 2014/62/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the protection of the euro and other currencies against counterfeiting by criminal law, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2000/383/JHA (OJ L 151, 21.5.2014).
  10. Directive (EU) 2016/343 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings (OJ L 65, 11.3.2016).
  11. Directive (EU) 2016/1919 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2016 on legal aid for suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings and for requested persons in European arrest warrant proceedings (OJ L 297, 4.11.2016, p. 1).

Criminal proceedings are initiated by an authorised prosecutor.

The authorised prosecutor for offences for which criminal proceedings are initiated ex officio is a public prosecutor (državni odvjetnik), while the authorised prosecutor for offences for which criminal proceedings are initiated by private action is a private prosecutor. In the case of certain criminal offences laid down by law, criminal proceedings are initiated by a public prosecutor only at the request of the victim. Unless provided otherwise by law, the public prosecutor is required to initiate criminal proceedings where there are reasonable grounds for believing that a certain person has committed a criminal offence for which criminal proceedings are initiated ex officio and there are no legal impediments to the prosecution of the person in question.

If the public prosecutor finds no grounds for initiating or conducting criminal prosecution, a case may instead be brought by the victim in the role of the injured party as plaintiff under the terms specified in the Act.

Act on the Legal Consequences of Conviction, Criminal Records and Rehabilitation (Zakon o pravnim posljedicama osude, kaznenoj evidenciji i rehabilitaciji) (NN Nos 143/12 and 105/15)

This Act governs the legal consequences of conviction, the organisation, keeping, accessibility, disclosure and deletion of criminal record data and international exchange of criminal record data, and rehabilitation.

This Act contains provisions that are in compliance with the following European Union acts:

  • Council Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA of 26 February 2009 on the organisation and content of the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record between Member States;
  • Council Decision 2009/316/JHA of 6 April 2009 on the establishment of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) in application of Article 11 of Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA.

Criminal records in Croatia are organised and kept by the ministry responsible for the judiciary which is, at the same time, the central authority for the exchange of such data with other states (hereinafter: the Ministry).

Criminal records are kept for natural and legal persons who have been convicted of criminal offences by a final judgement in Croatia. Criminal records are also kept for Croatian citizens and legal persons domiciled in Croatia who have been convicted of criminal offences by a final judgement outside Croatia, if such data have been communicated to the Ministry.

The criminal records include a list of persons convicted by a final judgement of the criminal offences of the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children, and other criminal offences referred to in Article 13(4) of this Act.

(A) The most important civil, commercial and administrative law acts in Croatia are:

Civil Obligations Act (Zakon o obveznim odnosima) (NN Nos 35/05, 41/08 and 125/11)

This Act governs the bases for civil obligations (general part) and contractual and extracontractual civil obligations (specific part).

Parties to transactions are free to arrange their civil obligations, but these may not be arranged in a manner contrary to the Croatian Constitution, mandatory regulations and public morality.

Ownership and Other Material Rights Act (Zakon o vlasništvu i drugim stvarnim pravima) (NN Nos 91/96, 68/98, 137/99, 22/00, 73/00, 129/00, 114/01, 79/06, 141/06, 146/08, 38/09, 153/09, 143/12 and 152/14)

This Act establishes general arrangements governing ownership; the rules of this Act also apply to the ownership of items subject to some special legal arrangement, unless contrary to such an arrangement.

The provisions of the Act regarding the right of ownership and the owners apply mutatis mutandis to all other material rights, unless otherwise specifically provided for by law or entailed by their legal nature.

Succession Act (Zakon o nasljeđivanju) (NN Nos 48/03, 163/03, 35/05 – Civil Obligations Act and 127/13)

This Act governs the right of succession and the rules under which courts, other authorities and authorised persons are to act in matters of succession.

Land Register Act (Zakon o zemljišnim knjigama) (NN Nos 63/19)

This Act governs issues relating to the legal status of real estate in the territory of Croatia relevant for legal transactions, as well as the manner and form in which land registers are kept (land title office (gruntovnica)) if no specific provisions have been made for certain plots of land.

Civil Procedure Act (Zakon o parničnom postupku) (NN Nos 53/91, 91/92, 112/99, 88/01, 117/03, 88/05, 02/07, 96/08, 84/08, 123/08, 57/11, 148/11 – consolidated text, 25/13 and 89/14)

This Act governs the rules of procedure under which courts hear and decide in disputes concerning the fundamental rights and duties of individuals and citizens, personal and family relationships as well as in labour, commercial, property and other civil disputes, unless provisions have been made by law for courts to decide on some of those disputes under other procedural rules.

Enforcement Act (Ovršni zakon) (NN Nos 112/12, 25/13, 93/14, 55/16, and 73/17)

This Act governs proceedings in which courts and notaries public enforce the settlement of claims based on enforcement and authentic instruments (enforcement proceedings) and proceedings in which courts and notaries public secure claims (security proceedings), unless otherwise provided for by a separate law. Substantive legal relations established on the basis of enforcement proceedings and security proceedings are also governed by this Act.

(B) Most important legislation governing judicial cooperation:

Private International Law Act (NN 101/17)

This Act governs:

  1. law applicable to private law relationships with an international dimension;
  2. jurisdiction of the courts and other authorities of the Republic of Croatia in legal matters referred to in point 1 of this article and rules of procedure;
  3. the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in legal matters referred to in point 1 of this Article.

More details can be found at:


Last update: 30/09/2021

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