Housing care/residence/status in Croatia – criteria?

D.Z.

Returnee to the Republic of Croatia

-housing care/residence/status-

 

The client D. Z. is a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a former tenancy/occupancy right holder. Before the war in the Republic of Croatia, he lived in Virovitica and worked as a civilian in the Yugoslav Army (JNA) for about 15 years. He was arrested in 1991 and imprisoned in a sports hall in Virovitica, then in Bjelovar, and after the exchange, he went to Belgrade and then returned and settled in Banja Luka, because of which he became mentally ill and had a very difficult recovery. After that, the party immigrated to Australia in 1994. In Australia, he applied to the Croatian Embassy for housing care and was instructed to apply for housing care in the Republic of Croatia and to return to live freely in the Republic of Croatia. The client remained in Australia until 2009, and already in 2010, he submitted a request for housing care and took over the apartment in Pula on 22 December 2015. He lived in Pula until January 2021, when he had to leave the Republic of Croatia because the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia did not want to approve either the temporary or permanent residence, with the explanation that the client posed a threat to national security.

The client is currently based in BiH, Bosanska Dubica (Kozarska Dubica), with his daughter. The client is married to M. Z., who is also a foreigner-citizen of BiH with a temporary residence permit, and who lives in the apartment in Pula, has been granted a 5th temporary residence permit and is employed.

As a reason for rejecting the client’s request to regulate his stay in the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of the Interior states that the client poses a threat to national security and public order because it was determined that he was a member of the Army of the Republic of Srpska.

 

The client submitted the first request for regulation of residence in the Republic of Croatia on April 12, 2016 – a request for permanent residence, which request was rejected by a decision of 31 May 2017, stating that the client poses a threat to national security and public order. The client initiated an administrative dispute against this decision, and the Administrative Court rejected the claim.

In the course of resolving the request for permanent residence, the client also submitted a request for regulating temporary residence for humanitarian reasons on 15 May 2017, which was negatively decided by the decision of the Istrian Police on 4 October 2017. At the same time, the client was served with a decision to leave the Republic of Croatia within 15 days of receiving the decision to refuse temporary residence. The client lodged an appeal against the decision rejecting the application for a temporary residence permit, which was also rejected.

Throughout this period, the client occasionally went to BiH for treatment and duly and regularly informed the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia, enclosing copies of medical documentation and returning to the Republic of Croatia. He was forced to undergo treatment in BiH, because in the Republic of Croatia he could not exercise the right to health care due to his non regulated status.

After all the rejection decisions, the client again submitted a request for regulating the temporary stay for humanitarian reasons on June 11, 2018, which request was rejected by the decision of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia, Istrian Police Department from February 6, 2020. The same decision repeated the measure of leaving the EEA within 8 days from the enforceability of the decision. An appeal was lodged against the same decision, which was resolved by the decision of the First Appeals Commission on 11 January 2021 and rejected.

After receiving this decision, the client contacted CRP Sisak and an administrative lawsuit was filed. In January 2021, the client left the Republic of Croatia and on 1 February 2021 tried to enter the Republic of Croatia again, but was returned at the Hrvatska Kostajnica Border Crossing, where the officials did not want to explain to him how long he was banned from entering the Republic of Croatia.

CRP enabled the client to be represented by the CRP attorney. Related to the administrative dispute at the Administrative Court in Rijeka, a hearing was held in the case of temporary residence on April 15, 2021 and a judgment was rendered under case no. UsI-178/2021, rejecting the claim. The verdict states that the Security Intelligence Agency (SIA) letter dated 16 October 2019 is attached to the file. The reasons for giving a negative opinion for the approval of temporary residence are stated – the opinion of the SIA is that the client poses a threat to the national security of the Republic of Croatia, i.e. that the client participated in the aggression against the Republic of Croatia. An appeal was lodged against the same decision with the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia on 29 April 2021, the resolution of which is still pending.

 

In this case, it is important to point out that this is a person who has exercised the right to housing case as a former occupancy/tenancy right holder, that his wife has been granted temporary residence and that the client and wife want to continue living in Croatia because they have no other place to live and have no other home.

 

In addition, for this procedure, it is important to state that if the client poses a threat to national security, how could he enter and stay in the Republic of Croatia without hindrance, how could he exercise housing care rights as a former occupancy right holder. CRP Sisak note that during the implementation of the housing care procedure, checks are also made on compliance with the legal order and national security of the Republic of Croatia, so if it is not established that the client is a threat to the Republic of Croatia, it is not clear how there is inconsistency. It leads to human and civil rights violations. It is also important to note that the client has not been punished or prosecuted since the end of the war (for a period of more than 20 years), and the same fact clearly speaks in favor of the person in question. It is indisputable that this was a person who was a civilian at the beginning and during the Homeland War and that he was imprisoned by both armies, which confirms that he did not participate in the war, least of all in the aggression against the Republic of Croatia. Before the Homeland War, the party was a civilian to the Yugoslav Army, and has no concrete connection with the events at the beginning and during the Homeland War. The client is only a victim of the events of the war, from which he fell ill, lost his home, his job and his normal family life.

Finally, it is important that if the administrative bodies and the court are persistent in accepting the opinion of the SIA, then they should certainly apply the provisions of the General Amnesty Act, which was not taken into account anywhere in the proceedings.

 

By not approving the temporary residence, the client’s right to family life and his home are  violated, as he could not stay in the Republic of Croatia without hindrance, could not be with his wife or use the apartment he received through the housing care program.

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