Zagreb - Under amendments to the Penal Code which the Croatian parliament was discussing on Thursday, there will no longer be a statute of limitations for premeditated murder, domestic mental abuse will be outlawed, for a petty offence to be treated as such its value will be lowered, and the criminal offence of defamation will be defined more precisely.
Justice Minister Orsat Miljenić said while introducing the bill of amendments that the change regarding no statute of limitations for premeditated murder would be adopted "pro futuro", while its retroactive application would require changing the Constitution, notably when it came to politically motivated murders whose prosecution had been prevented by the former regime. The amendments define defamation more precisely, and defamation will no longer be considered an offence if committed in public interest. A court of law will determine public interest in cases of defamation, said the minister.
-There is nothing else we can do but have absolute confidence in the court in that regard, Miljenić said, adding that courts would also determine what justified interest was. Speaking of domestic mental abuse, the minister said that proving such violence would be rather difficult and that it would require frequent expert evaluations, but that it was not the reason why that type of abuse should not be outlawed.
The proposed amendments also envisage lowering the value of an offence for it to be considered a petty offence, from the HRK 2,000 as is now the case to HRK 1,000. If the value involved in a petty offence is below HRK 2,000, the offence will not be prosecuted ex officio, Miljenić said, adding that a pensioner whose pension allowance of less than HRK 2,000 had been stolen could not count on the offence being prosecuted by virtue of office, but would have to sue the perpetrator on his own.
The amendments also envisage adding up damage caused by repeated offences, so as to put an end to swindlers who knowingly commit offences of lesser value to avoid criminal prosecution.
Threatening or using force against a doctor, teacher or other person who performs a public service and is not an office-holder, will be prosecuted ex officio.
-Leaving those people exposed to threats and use of force and their having to pay lawyers to protect themselves is intolerable. It is wrong and as a society we have to remedy that omission, said Miljenić. (Hina)