Audio recording of hearings not sure to speed up proceedings, seminar hears

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ZAGREB, May 9, 2022 – It is debatable whether the expanded application of audio recordings of court hearings will help speed up proceedings, Supreme Court Justice Damir Kos said during a two-day seminar on new developments in Croatian criminal legislation in Opatija on Monday.

Addressing the seminar, Kos spoke about the latest amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act, including the expanded application of audio recordings of court hearings, communication by video link and the increased use of electronic communication in the delivery of documents to the parties to the criminal proceedings.

He said, among other things, that these changes were acceptable in principle, but warned that such an experiment should not be undertaken without first analyzing the objections on the ground, as they indicated that it would not necessarily contribute to improving the efficiency of the courts.

Presenting an overview of judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in cases against Croatia, Supreme Court Justice Marin Mrčela said that in 2021 the ECHR ruled on 682 applications, rejecting 637 or 93%. In 34 of the 37 judgments which refer to 45 applications, at least one violation of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was identified, he said.

In 2021, there were 26 judgments and decisions in criminal law cases against Croatia, and violations of the Convention were identified in 16 cases, Mrčela said.

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