Rule of Law Report 2024: Judiciary, media freedom and corruption raise concerns also in 2023 in Croatia

The rule of law in the EU continued to deteriorate in 2023, as governments further weakened legal and democratic checks and balances, according to the newly published Liberties Rule of Law Report 2024. 

Restrictions on the right to peaceful protest have increased significantly, but in many cases are applied selectively to pro-Palestine and climate protests only. The full report can be downloaded here.

In Croatia, significant challenges persist across various domains, with particular concerns surrounding the judiciary, deteriorating media freedom, and rampant corruption at both high and low governing levels. Little to no progress has been observed in areas such as checks and balances, fostering an enabling environment for civil society, and addressing systemic human rights issues. The evaluation of the justice system reveals stagnant conditions, with efforts to compensate judicial personnel falling short due to reduced accessibility to legal aid. Moreover, proposed amendments to the Criminal Code threaten freedom of expression by potentially criminalizing the dissemination of information related to criminal cases. Attacks on journalists persist, alongside a high incidence of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). Efforts to ensure fair allocation of state advertising and combat SLAPPs have seen minimal advancement since the publication of the EU Commission’s Rule of Law Report in 2023. Similarly, anti-corruption measures have stagnated, with no progress in regulating state advertising, establishing clear criteria, or amending relevant legislation.

The national country report was produced by the Centre for Peace Studies and the Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity – CROSOL. Croatia Country Report is available here