European Court schools Croatia: Judges can be criticized

The municipal court in Split ruled, and the district county in Zagreb confirmed that Jutarnji List had to pay compensation to Judge Neven Cambi.

(EPA-EFE, file, illustration)
(EPA-EFE, file, illustration)

The compensation was in the amount of of 50,000 kunas, the Croatian currency, Zagreb-based website Index is reporting on Wednesday.

The reason for this is, according to the report, is an interview of a Most party MP Nikola Grmoja, who said that the State Trial Chamber was a source of corruption and that corrupt people should not deal with the election of judges - without mentioning Cambi.

"The judge filed a lawsuit for mental pain caused by an article in which his name is not mentioned. To alleviate the pain somehow, he sued the Jutarnji List, but not Grmoja, so the court colleagues eventually awarded him 50,000 kunas," Jutarnji List daily wrote.

As pointed out, this example illustrates how the Croatian judiciary treats freedom of speech and the media.

The newspaper then recalls the case where the European Court of Human Rights "read a lesson to Croatia".

"It was judged that Croatia was in the case of Narodni List D.D. v. Croatia violated Article 10 of the European Charter of Human Rights, which refers to the right to freedom of expression and information. Namely, the weekly Narodni List published an article criticizing the Croatian judge because he went to a celebration, arguing that it was a conflict of interest. Therefore, the judge sued the weekly and received compensation in the Croatian courts. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that individuals should not be banned from criticizing the justice system, and that exceptions only apply to profoundly harmful and unfounded attacks," the ruling is cited as stating.

It is added that the criticism was also addressed to the Croatian courts, which interpreted the acceptable criticism of one judge as insulting value judgments, without verifying whether the value judgments were factually founded.


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