A parliamentary debate on changes to the Act on the State Attorney's Office on Wednesday turned into the criticism of State Attorney Zlata Hrvoj-Sipek by the Opposition, while the parliamentary majority welcomed the proposed background checks and professional training of employees at public prosecutor's offices.
Hrvoj-Sipek and her office (DORH) were criticised by Ursa Raukar-Gamulin of the Green-Left Bloc and independent MP Bojan Glavasevic, who said that the ruling “HDZ party has the judiciary by the throat.”
“The State Attorney is burdened by a major scandal, an attempt to cover up facts in the Zalac case. She lied to this parliament and the public in that case, but eventually the ruling HDZ accepted her report,” Raukar-Gamulin said during a debate on changes to the laws on the state attorney’s office and areas and seats of public prosecutors’ offices.
MP Glavasevic was particularly harsh in his criticism, noting that there had been no dismissals or resignations over the covering up of suspicious actions by former minister Gabrijela Zalac.
Social Democratic Party MP Arsen Bauk raised the issue of public call for applications for the post of State Attorney, recalling that Hrvoj Šipek had admitted to having talked to the justice minister before applying for the post.
“That means the call was a farce, the incumbent State Attorney was elected in a contaminated process, in a fixed public call,” he said.
HDZ MP Marija Jelkovac said the topic of the debate was not the report by the State Attorney, to which Glavasevic noted that the only topic when DORH was discussed was the fact that “the HDZ has captured the state, and that the judiciary and courts do not function.”
Justice Ministry State Secretary Josip Salapic said that the proposed changes determined the procedure for the appointment of the State Attorney, envisaged mandatory periodic background checks for employees at prosecutors’ offices every five years, and advanced the system of mandatory professional training.
As of 1 April employees at prosecutors’ offices have to take a special professional exam, Salapic said, adding that the obligation would apply only to new candidates.
Zeljko Sacic of the Croatian Sovereignists said that his party group would support the proposed changes, as did HDZ MP Jelkovac, who also supported the periodic background checks.
The proposed changes to the laws on areas and seats of district attorney’s offices envisage organising the Zagreb District Attorney Office into a division for civil matters and a division for criminal proceedings.