WASHINGTON, April 6, 2010 – The World Bank today approved a EUR26 million (USD$36.3 million equivalent) loan to the Republic of Croatia aimed at further improving the efficiency of Croatia’s justice system − a necessary process in Croatia’s path towards successful European Union accession.
The Justice Sector Support Project will support the implementation of key reform legislation related to the modernization and upgrading of the capacity of three key elements of Croatia’s justice system – the courts, the prosecution, and the Ministry of Justice.
“A well-functioning justice system is a prerequisite for a modern, thriving society in which citizens and businesses can fully rely on the efficiency, transparency, independence, and professionalism of justice sector components like the courts and the prosecution,” said Amit Mukherjee, Task Team Leader of the Project. “We are very glad that this project will significantly contribute to making Croatia’s justice system more efficient and will help the Croatian government to align the system with European Union member states, thereby facilitating Croatia’s EU accession process.”
Project activities will contribute to improving the efficiency of the court system through consolidation of the court network in Split, Karlovac, and Pula, while at the same time modernizing courts’ operational information systems and strengthening case management practices. The State Attorney’s Office will also be strengthened with the aim of speeding up prosecution processes through investments in infrastructure, modernization of operational information systems, and institutional strengthening. In addition, the project will strengthen the management functions of the Ministry of Justice.
As a result of this project, case backlogs in targeted courts and prosecution offices will be reduced. In addition, processing time in targeted courts will be reduced for key stages of the judicial process that are currently experiencing long delays, such as service of notice to parties, time between first and final hearings and testimony of expert witnesses. Finally, user ratings for efficiency for project-financed courts and prosecution offices will be improved.
The Justice Sector Support Project is the fourth in a series of World Bank-financed operations in Croatia which are helping the Croatian authorities improve the overall efficiency of the justice system.
Since joining the World Bank in 1993, Croatia has benefited from financial and technical assistance, policy advice, and analytical services provided by the global development institution. To date, the World Bank has supported 43 operations amounting to around US$3 billion, and approved 52 grants with a total value of US$70 million.