Croatia: Are the “restrictions of civil liberties” constitutional?

Croatia: Are the “restrictions of civil liberties” constitutional?

The Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, Gordan Jandroković, announced on Wednesday he would request the opinion of the Constitutional Court on the “restrictions of civil liberties” imposed as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I will request the opinion of the Constitutional Court on whether we should apply Article 17 of the Constitution, meaning whether the Croatian Parliament should decide by a two-third majority on restricting certain freedoms, or we can do so by directly applying Articles 16, 32 and 50 concerning freedom of movement and freedom of enterprise without Article 17”, Jandroković told the press after a meeting of the Parliament Presidency.

He said that after the Court gives its opinion he would organise a vote. “Protecting the health and lives of citizens is of paramount importance, but freedom, democracy and rule of law must also be taken into account”, he added.

“The National Assembly is extremely important right now because it is a guarantor of democracy and rule of law. We are a law-making body and must insist on this for as long as necessary”, Jandroković said.

As some media outlets in Croatia have reported, Constitutional Court President Miroslav Šeparović has said that the Constitutional Court will not give any opinion to the Croatian Parliament, since it is not authorized to request it.

“It is up to the Croatian Parliament to decide on this, and the Constitutional Court may, as part of its powers, subsequently inform the Croatian Parliament of a perceived unconstitutionality and illegality, as it can now”, Šeparović said.

Due to the situation with the coronavirus, the sessions of the Croatian Parliament will be held in special conditions and debates on certain issues will be shortened. Also, as the Parliament building was damaged in the earthquake, sessions will be held in the INA Administration Building until the Parliament building is restored./ibna