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Group of States against Corruption publishes report on Croatia
Strasbourg, 9 December 2009 - The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its Third Round Evaluation Report on Croatia. It focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding.
Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [theme I], GRECO recognises that – following legal reforms of the Criminal Code in 2000, 2004 and 2006 – the criminal law of Croatia complies to a large extent with the relevant provisions of the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173). Nonetheless, some inconsistencies and deficiencies in current legislation remain, including the lack of an explicit reference to bribes intended for a third person instead of the official him/herself; the narrow range of possible perpetrators of private sector bribery; the low sanctions prescribed for active bribery offences both in the public and private sectors; and the potential for misuse involved in the defence of ‘effective regret’, which can be invoked when an offender reports a crime after its commission.
Concerning transparency of party funding [theme II], the report acknowledges the recent adoption of the Act on the financing of political parties, independent lists and candidates, in force since January 2007, which is in many respects in line with the standards established by Recommendation Rec(2003)4 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Common Rules against Corruption in the Funding of Political Parties and Electoral Campaigns. However, it appears that the system of political financing suffers from a lack of substantial and pro-active monitoring which would go beyond the formal examination of submitted information. Moreover, GRECO calls upon the authorities of Croatia to harmonise the provisions on election campaign funding contained in the various election laws and to align these provisions with the standards set by the above-mentioned Act as regards transparency, supervision and sanctions. Furthermore, current legislation needs to be upgraded in some areas in order to increase the level of disclosure obligations and to extend the control of political financing to individual party candidates and to entities related to a political party or under its control.
Given that a revision of the Criminal Code is currently under way, and that an interdepartmental working group with the mandate to analyse existing legislation on political financing and suggest further amendments has recently been established, GRECO’s report and its recommendations should be seen as a timely contribution to the ongoing reform process. The report as a whole addresses 11 recommendations to Croatia. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations, towards the middle of 2011, through its specific compliance procedure.