Judicial Reform and the Empowerment of Victims
Zagreb, 28-29 Nov. 2012
Launch of the survey on Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Republic of Croatia
According to the SALW Survey of Croatia, it is estimated that there are approximately 371.000 registered weapons in civilian hands, and a great number of unregistered weapons. The Survey is the result of a six month research conducted by the experts from an independent nongovernmental organization Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), in cooperation with the PULS Agency from
Overall, the level of reported and investigated crime in Croatia has not changed significantly over the course of the previous four years; however, the level of serious and organized armed crimes has increased by more than 50 percent over five years with armed assaults, armed robberies and armed murders - all rising year on year. Increased number of armed criminal activities in relation to the other types of criminal activities demonstrates the need to continue with the already ongoing initiatives against organized crime and illegal possession of firearms by furthering police reform and community policing, and furthering the legal system.
With the increased level of transparency in relation to the problems of arms and export controls, a trust relationship and a stronger cooperation on the international environment as well as amongst the civil society can be established. Therefore, it is believed that the named steps can contribute to the more qualitative and constructive ways of finding better problem solutions.
"EUSAC (European Union Small Arms Control) Project, conducted by UNDP in cooperation with the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and the European Union, has been initiated with the aim to support Croatian government in its intentions to combat problems caused by a number of small arms and light weapons", said
It is estimated that approximately half a million people remain traumatized by the armed conflict of the 1990s. Traumatic disorders are more prevalent in the male population, especially among war veterans. Auto-aggressive (self-injurious) behavior and the wide availability of weapons have led to a high number of male suicides with guns. Overall, the level of suicides per capita is generally higher than the EU average. Furthermore, there continues to be a high and disturbing level of armed domestic assaults, often involving people suffering from PTSD. Therefore, current support to the veterans and people suffering from PTSD should be amplified. In addition, the Law on Arms should incorporate a rigid decree by which people suffering from PTSD would not be permitted to have access to weapons.
The perceived level of overall security in
The majority of the public support a future weapons collection and amnesty, which is envisioned in the draft of the Weapons Law. The only criticism were that previous programmes were too short and that, since 2003, there was no longer an option to turn in illegal weapons without fine or punishment resulting in an increased number of "abandoned" firearms.
All illegal weapons will never be entirely collected with the program of weapons collection. The reason underlying this claim is the fact that weapons used for criminal acts will never be handed in, due to the fear for legal retribution; this problem can be resolved only by employing aggressive law enforcement.
Selling of the arms surpluses to the Croatian Ministry of Defense, for long presented the most important way of tackling the small arms and light weapons surpluses, however, the enhanced transparency in the Ministry of Defense and readiness to destroy firearms surpluses indicates the changes in the policy directionality, and is the reflection of dedication to agreements and UN and EU Codes of Conduct.
The results, as well as the advancements in the area of safety issues are already visible; therefore cooperation between International organizations and Croatian institutions has been evaluated as very successful from both sides.