Measure Implementation

Is this measure possible in your Member State under International Judicial Cooperation?

Persons summoned as witnesses are bound to respond to the summons, and unless the Criminal Procedure Act stipulates differently, is bound to testify. A warrant for compulsory appearance, as well as fine or imprisonment cannot be applied on children as witnesses. A minor shall be summoned through his/her parents or legal representative. When questioning a witness, it is not allowed to use deception or to ask such questions that already contain what should be answered. Witnesses are interrogated each separately and without other witnesses present. Witness is bound to respond to questions orally. Before testifying, the witness shall be warned to tell the truth, that he/she must not withhold anything and that giving a false testimony is a criminal offence. Witness shall also be instructed that he/she is not bound to give answers to unnecessary questions relating strictly private life of the victim and to those questions that would tend to bring disgrace upon him/her or his/her near relatives or considerable material damage or involve him/her in criminal prosecution. If the witness refused to answer the questions because that would expose himself or his close relative to criminal prosecution, the state attorney can declare that he will not initiate criminal prosecution if the answer to the question and the testimony of the witness is important for proving the severe criminal offense of another person stipulated in the Article 286 para 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act. In certain cases a person may not be interrogated as a witness (persons obliged under the law to secrecy of information until absolved of the obligation; counsel for the accused unless the accused requires that the counsel testifies; the accused when proceeding have been joint; priests on the contents of the confession). Certain persons are absolved from the obligation to testify (spouses, relatives of the defendant in the direct line, relatives in the collateral line up to the third degree inclusive and relatives by in-laws up to the second degree inclusive, adopted child and adoptive parent of the defendant, notary publics and tax advisors within the limits of obligation of secrecy; lawyers, doctors, dentists, psychologists and social workers on what they have come to know from the accused while exercising their duties, journalists on the sources of their information). The above mentioned notary publics and tax advisors , lawyers, doctors, dentists, psychologists and social workers and journalists cannot withhold testimony if there is a legal basis on which they are exempted from the duty of secrecy. All mentioned persons, except for defence counsel, cannot withhold testimony if it is a criminal offense of criminal protection of children. A person who has a reason to withhold testimony against one of the defendants is released from the duty to testify against the other defendants as well if his testimony cannot be limited to the other defendants according to the nature of the case. A child who, due to his age and mental development, is not capable of understanding the meaning of the right not to testify cannot be examined as a witness, but information obtained from him through experts, relatives or other persons who have been in contact with him can be used as evidence. The examination of a child under fourteen as a witness shall be carried out by the investigating judge. The examination shall be carried out in the absence of the judge and parties in the room where the child is situated through audio and video devices. The examination is carried out with the assistance of a psychologist, educator or other expert person and unless this is contrary to the interests of proceedings or the child, parents or a guardian may be present during the examination. The parties may ask the child- witness questions authorized by the investigating judge through an expert. The examination shall be video-taped and audio-taped and the recording shall be sealed immediately and enclosed with the record. The child may be examined again only in exceptional cases and in the same manner. The examination of a minor as a witness shall be carried out by the investigating judge. During the examination of a minor, especially if the minor is the injured person of the criminal offence, special care shall be taken lest the examination have a harmful effect on the mental condition of the minor. According to circumstances, the examination may be conducted in the above described manner, paying special attention to the protection of the minor. The recording of a testimony of a child will be reproduced in a hearing. The examination of children is been conducted on the evidentiary hearing. Expert witness testimony shall be ordered when, with a view to determine or assess relevant facts it is necessary to obtain findings and the opinion of a person who has the necessary expert knowledge. Expert witness testimony shall be ordered by a written order of the authority conducting the proceedings. A person summoned as an expert witness is bound to appear and present his findings and opinion. The findings and the opinion of the expert witness shall be immediately entered into the record. The expert witness may be permitted to subsequently submit the findings and opinion in writing within a term determined by the authority conducting the proceedings, in enough copies for the court and the parties. If it is likely that by giving a testimony or by answering any individual question, a witness might expose himself or any other person close to himself to a serious danger to life, health, physical integrity, freedom or property of considerable volume (witness in danger), the witness is entitled to refuse to disclose personal information, to refuse to answer to individual questions or to refuse to testify at all until witness protection measures have been provided. Witness protection includes a special manner of questioning a witness and his participation in the proceedings (protected witness) and measures for protecting the witness and other persons close to him not participating in the proceedings. The Court renders a Decision on special procedure on hearing with the disclosure of personal data and appearance of the witness. Upon the request of the witness who is the victim of a criminal offence against sexual freedom and sexual morality or if a criminal offence is committed in the family, the examination may be carried out by means of audio and video devices. The interrogating authority shall ask the defendant prior to the first interrogation whether he had received written instructions on his rights and if so, it shall assure itself that the defendant understood the instructions. Please note that written instructions on defendant´s rights contain following information : why is he/she being blamed and the circumstances from which there is a well-founded suspicion against him, if he did not previously receive a decision on conducting an investigation, that he/she is not obliged to present his defense or answer questions, that he has the right to inspect the file, that he/she has the right to use his own language, i.e. the language he speaks and understands, and the right to an interpreter, that he has the right to hire a appoint attorney of his own choice or that, he will be appointed a defense attorney ex officio or at the expense of budget funds if, according to his financial situation, he cannot cover the costs of defense. The defendant shall be instructed that he is bound to appear upon a summons and immediately to notify the court of changes of his address as well as of an intention to change the address and shall be warned of the consequences of failure to comply. The defendant who has been instructed on his rights shall be invited to explicitly declare oneself whether he will retain a defence counsel of his own choice. The defendant’s statement shall be entered into the record. If there is a doubt that the defendant does not understand the official language of the court or he is deaf or mute, the defendant shall be instructed that the interrogation shall be carried out by means of an interpreter. The authority conducting the investigation shall provide presence of the interpreter prior to the interrogation. Hearing of defendant is recorded by audio-video recording device. In case the defendant’s statement is not being recorded by an audio or video recording device, it shall be entered into the records in a narrative form. Relevant questions and answers thereto shall be entered literally into the record.

Legal Framework

International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

Directive on the European Investigation Order in criminal matters: in relation to Member States that implemented the Directive. Otherwise: European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (20.04.1959) and its Additional Protocols as well as applicable bilateral treaties Rule of reciprocity: Act on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and Criminal Procedure Act

Competent Authority

* receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation

Directive on the European Investigation Order in criminal matters: County State Attorney's Offices where the evidentiary action is to be carried out, i.e. where the evidence is located; The MS EU that not implemented the EIO Directive and third States: Ministry of Justice and Public Administration International agreements: applicable provisions Rule of reciprocity : Ministry of Justice and Public Administration

Accepted languages

Accepted languages for the request/decision

Directive 2014/41/EU of 3 April 2014 on the European Investigation Order: Croatian or English language (in a need of urgency in under the condition of reciprocity) European convention on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters signed on 1959: Croatian or English language (declaration on the Article 16 of the European convention on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters signed on 1959) Article 8 of the Act on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters: “The request as well as the attached documents should be accompanied by a translation into Croatian, and if this is not possible, then into English. Translations must be officially certified.”

Execution deadline

Deadlines for the execution of the request/decision (where applicable)

Directive 2014/41/EU of 3 April 2014 on the European Investigation Order: The competent authority must execute it as soon as possible and at the latest within 90 days after the decision of recognition of the EIO. European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 20 April 1959 the requested State executes the request for mutual legal assistance as soon as possible (Art. 1 Second additional Protocol to the Convention of 20 April 1959) There is no deadline for the execution of requests for assistance in Croatian criminal law. However, if the requested authority asks for a deadline to be observed such a deadline will be respected.

Concise legal practical information

Special requirements

Special requirements Article 9 para 2 of the Directive 2014/41/EU of 3 April 2014 on the European Investigation Order:” The executing authority shall comply with the formalities and procedures expressly indicated by the issuing authority unless otherwise provided in this Directive and provided that such formalities and procedures are not contrary to the fundamental principles of law of the executing State.” Most of the international agreements prescribe the possibilities of conducting requested investigative measure in accordance with the law of requesting state. For example, Article 8 of the Second Additional Protocol to the European Convention on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters prescribes the following: “Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 3 of the Convention, where requests specify formalities or procedures which are necessary under the law of the requesting Party, even if unfamiliar to the requested Party, the latter shall comply with such requests to the extent that the action sought is not contrary to fundamental principles of its law, unless otherwise provided for in this Protocol.2 In the absence of the international agreement the rule of reciprocity is being applied as well as domestic law. In accordance with the Article 10 of the Act on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters the Republic of Croatia as requesting state can execute service in accordance with the law of requesting state: (1) When providing international legal assistance, the domestic judicial body will comply with the formalities and procedures that are explicitly stated in the application as necessary according to the law of the requesting state, unless an international treaty provides otherwise and on the condition that such formalities and procedures do not contradict the principles domestic legal order. (2) The domestic judicial body decides upon the request of the foreign judicial body without delay, taking into account procedural deadlines and other specially determined deadlines explained in the request.

Last reviewed on 12 March 2024 by EJN Secretariat


  • Summoning and hearing persons (A.10 - A.14)
  • A.12 Hearing: by videoconference or other audiovisual transmission

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