Croatia / Supreme Court / II-8 Kr 3/17-4 S.C. v Croatia

Key facts of the case: 

On 21 October 2008, S.C. in complicity with O.J., I.K., D.A., and H.A, threw a homemade Molotov cocktail at the Turkish Embassy in Helsinki, causing fire and material damage. The Finnish Court finally convicted the defendant for sabotage in 2009. S.C., a Finnish citizen, was arrested in Croatia following a Turkish international arrest warrant, as Turkish authorities initiated criminal proceedings for the same event, but on different legal grounds. In accordance with the ne bis in idem principle, the Supreme Court confirmed the decisions from the County Court in Dubrovnik denying S. C.’s extradition to Turkey, concluding that the legal conditions for extradition have not been met.

Outcome of the case: 

Respecting the fact that Croatia has become a full member of the European Union on 1 July 2013, the Supreme Court holds that the Dubrovnik County Court was right to include the courts established in other EU Member States under the scope of the term "domestic court" for the purpose of Article 35 (1) point (5) of the Act on international legal assistance in criminal matters. It is in accordance with the right of all EU citizens to equal protection in all Member States, in order to ensure the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of nationality and the freedom of movement and residence in the Union.

Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 

From the interrogation of the extradited foreigner S.C. and the examination of his personal documents, it was unquestionably established that S.C. was a citizen of the Republic of Finland. By literal interpretation and application of the provision of Article 35, paragraph 1, point 5 of the Act on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Zakon o međunardonoj pravnoj pomoći u kaznenim stvarima), the extradition of S.C. could only be denied if he were sentenced by final judgement in the Republic of Croatia. However, accepting the fact that the Republic of Croatia has become a full member of the European Union since 1 July 2013, it is in accordance with the right of citizens of the EU to have the same legal protection in all Member States to ensure the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of nationality and the freedom of movement and residence of citizens of the Union (as guaranteed by Article 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union 2007 / C 303/01). In that light, the court of first instance correctly proceeded to ascertain whether the person whose extradition was in question has already been convicted by the final judgement for the same event in the Republic of Finland, of which he was a national. From the provided documentation, it was established with certainty that S.C. was convicted regarding the same event by the District Court in Helsinki by judgment of 26 March 2009 No. 3025 for having "committed a punishable offense on 21 December 2008" and sentenced to imprisonment for one year and two months pursuant to Title 34, Section 1 and Title 5, Section 3 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Finland, including the time of deprivation of liberty from 21 October 2008 to 5 November 2008.  Furthermore, the District Court in Helsinki stated that the sentence was conditional and the probation period ended on 20 July 2011. The Court of First Instance  has also been  informed that the Finnish Ministry of Justice decided on 21 April 2016 not to extradite S.C. to the Republic of Turkey, which was a decision made  in relation to the "Red Notice" no. A-10997/12-2015 published on 30 December 2015,  following which S.C. was arrested in the Republic of Croatia and the extradition procedure was initiated.

As one of the legally prescribed obstacles to extradition, stipulated in Article 35, paragraph 1, item 5, of the Act on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Zakon o međunardonoj pravnoj pomoći u kaznenim stvarima), is the circumstance that the foreign national whose extradition is sought for the same offense has already been convicted by a domestic court, by reasonably linking this provision with the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of citizenship and the principle of freedom of movement and residence of citizens of the Union, and by interpreting the same provisions in relation to the provision of Article 50 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, according to which no one shall be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence, the Court of First Instance has correctly concluded that the term "domestic court" from Article 35, paragraph 1, point 5 of the Act on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Zakon o međunardonoj pravnoj pomoći u kaznenim stvarima), in this case covers not only the Courts of the Republic of Croatia, but also the Courts of the European Union Member States (here the Helsinki District Court of Finland) whose extraditee is the citizen. Such a reasoning is also in line with the interpretation of the Court of the European Union in Luxembourg as stated in Case C-182/15 Aleksei Petruhhin.

Paragraphs referring to EU Charter (original language): 

Tijekom ispitivanja izručenika stranca S. C. i iz njegovih osobnih dokumenata nepobitno je utvrđeno da je S. C. državljanin Republike Finske. Doslovnom primjenom odredbe čl. 35. st. 1. toč. 5. ZOMPO izručenje S. C. bilo bi moguće odbiti samo ako je pravomoćno osuđen u Republici Hrvatskoj, međutim, akceptirajući činjenicu da je Republika Hrvatska od 01. srpnja 2013. postala punopravna članica Europske Unije, to je, u skladu s pravom građana EU na zaštitu istovjetnu onoj koja se u nekoj njezinoj državi članici pruža vlastitim državljanima radi osiguranja načela nediskriminacije na temelju državljanstva i s obzirom na slobodu kretanja i boravka građana Unije (što je propisano čl. 45. Povelje Europske unije o temeljnim pravima 2007/C 303/01), prvostupanjski sud pravilno je postupio kada je provjerio je li izručenik S. C. pravomoćno osuđen za isti događaj u Republici Finskoj, čiji je državljanin. Iz dostavljene je dokumentacije s izvjesnošću utvrđeno da je za isti događaj S. C. pravomoćno osuđen po Okružnom sudu u Helsinkiju presudom od 26. ožujka 2009. broj 3025 zbog toga što je „počinio dana 21. prosinca 2008. utuživo kazneno djelo“ i da je osuđen na kaznu zatvora u trajanju od jedne godine i dva mjeseca na osnovu Glave 34., Sekcije 1. i Glave 5. Sekcije 3. Kaznenog zakona Republike Finske, u koju mu je uračunato vrijeme lišenja slobode od 21. listopada 2008. do 05. studenog 2008. Nadalje, Okružni sud u Helsinkiju je u istoj potvrdi naveo da je kazna bila uvjetna, te da je vrijeme provjeravanja završilo 20. srpnja 2011. Također je prvostupanjski sud obaviješten da je finsko Ministarstvo pravosuđa dana 21. travnja 2016. odlučilo da neće izručiti S. C. Republici Turskoj, a koja je odluka donesena u povodu iste „Crvene tjeralice“ br. A-10997/12-2015 objavljene dana 30. prosinca 2015., u vezi s kojom je S. C. uhićen i u Republici Hrvatskoj, nakon čega je pokrenut ovaj postupak izručenja.

Kako je jedna od zakonom propisanih smetnji za izručenje, propisana čl. 35. st. 1. toč. 5. ZOMPO i okolnost da je stranac čije se izručenje traži zbog istog djela od domaćeg suda već osuđen, smislenim povezivanjem te odredbe s načelom nediskriminacije na temelju državljanstva i načelom slobode kretanja i boravka građana Unije, te tumačenjem iste odredbe u vezi s odredbom čl. 50. Povelje EU o temeljnim pravima koja propisuje pravo da se ne bude dva puta suđen ili kažnjen za isto kazneno djelo, ispravno je prvostupanjski sud zaključio da izraz „domaći sud“ iz odredbe čl. 35. st. 1. toč. 5. ZOMPO u konkretnom slučaju pokriva ne samo sud Republike Hrvatske nego i sud države članice Europske Unije (a to je ovdje Okružni sud u Helsinkiju iz Republike Finske) čiji je izručenik državljanin. Takvo rezoniranje u skladu je i sa tumačenjem Suda Europske Unije iz Luxemburga izraženim u Presudi predmetu C-182/15 Aleksei Petruhhin.

Language: 
Croatian
Deciding body (original language): 
Vrhovni sud Republike Hrvatske
Language: 
Croatian