Execution proceedings – discrimination

We would like to once again point out the case of R. T. from Dvor, Trgovi village. The client has a problem with a debt for water supply and related execution against him for many years (since 2006) has been run by the water supply company “Vodoopskrba i odvodnja d.o.o.” Zagreb, Folnegovićeva 1.

The client hopes that he will (perhaps) soon pay off the debt for which he is in no way responsible, because he did not cause it, for the specific reason that he was neither present in the apartment in question nor involved in any way in the subject of the dispute. However, according to information from Croatian financial agency office “FINA”, there is still a waiting list for debts related to the case, which really raises the question of how this is possible.

We want to once again point out the injustice done to a man, who has been sick for a long time, only to have the disease worsen, in terms of tumors and other serious, related and unrelated diseases, and this case certainly did not contribute to the better health of the client. The case was just transferred from one institution to another for years, and the client is a former refugee and returnee to the Republic of Croatia after the Homeland War and is in no way responsible for the debt incurred in the apartment from which he escaped, like thousands of other people at the beginning of the war in 1991 in Croatia.

Namely, the client R.T. is a former tenancy right holder and until 1991 lived in an apartment in Zagreb. By the judgment of the Municipal Court in Zagreb, number: IV Ps-1613/93 – valid on 23 Dec 1994, the right of occupancy of the apartment in Zagreb, Tijardovićeva 10/6, was canceled.

Due to security reasons, the client had to leave his apartment and Zagreb in 1991 and returned to Dvor, the village of Trgovi, to his parents’ house, where he still lives, very modestly. As it was an extraordinary situation, in 1991 the client did not have the opportunity to officially deregister from the address of the apartment, but another person, unknown to him, moved into the apartment. So, like thousands of others, he did not declare overhead costs for the apartment from which he was forced to leave, and it is by no means expected to declare overheads/utilities during the war. Let’s now imagine a war in Ukraine or in other countries, where wars are unfortunately taking place, and let’s ask ourselves if refugees deregister their addresses and utilities? The tenancy right was taken away in 1994, and it is really not clear what the client was supposed to deregister?

Since 2001, the client has constantly had a problem with execution for utilities costs for the apartment in question. First, he had a problem with enforcement for gas and for city garbage collection, but the execution proceedings for water remained with the company “Vodoopskrba i odvodnja d.o.o. Zagreb”, whose execution proceedings have been ongoing since, at least, 2006. Based on the last execution determined by the decision of the Municipal Civil Court in Zagreb, number: Ovrvd-1495/06 of 28/02/2006, almost every month his very small pension (now barely a little over 300.00 euros) is reduced for the amount of HRK 536.95, i.e. now an adequate amount in euros.

The client turned to CRP Sisak for advice and legal assistance for the first time in 2001 regarding his tenancy rights. A procedure was conducted to repeat the procedure in which the tenant’s right was taken away, but it ended negatively in 2005.

Several years after that, the client addresses CRP Sisak regarding the same apartment, but this time regarding the debt for utility bills for that apartment from which he left in 1991 and where he was legally rejected at all instances regarding the return of the right of occupancy. With the help of our lawyer, we wrote to the Croatian Pension Fund, but, although apparently this claim has expired, the execution is still ongoing, and none of the competent institutions wants to give any concrete answer on when and how execution was renewed after 2006, i.e. activated. When the lawyer managed to reach a decision on execution no. Ovrvd-1495/06 of February 28, 2006, in January 2022 filed an appeal after the expiry of the deadline to the Municipal Civil Court in Zagreb. There is still no answer or decision on the same appeal.

We also included the Ombudsman in the proceedings, to whom we filed a complaint on behalf of the client, and the Office of the Ombudsman requested a statement from the company “Vodoopspkrba i odvodnja” about this case, to which there is still no answer, or formal answers are coming that do not go to the essence of the problem of the case, but only chronologically interpret the legal sequence of events in the case.

As we believe that the client has been discriminated against on several grounds, primarily on the basis of national or ethnic affiliation, and also as an older, less educated person who lives in a rural area, an area of special state concern, and as these procedures have been going on for many years, that we would like to point out this case again, because we believe that all proceedings against the client went in the wrong direction, that is, there was no need at all for execution proceedings against the client, for the reason that the services and all responsibilities for city garbage collection and gas are for the same apartment solved in a very fast and efficient way, and we believe that the same should have been done with the water debt, as was done with other refugees, who were in the thousands during the Homeland War. It is indisputable that another person has been living in the apartment in question, to which the obligations apply, since the client’s departure, who is obviously protected and is favored in not paying the overhead/utilities obligations.

Finally, I would like to mention that, after submitting a large number of complaints and writing to all relevant stakeholders, who even if reply, give only formal, general answers, we wrote to everyone again exactly one year ago and asked for cooperation and help, which we did not receive, and herewith we are just informing about the case once again, because the client is seriously ill, from a malignant disease, for which he was operated on at the end of last year and underwent radiation, but his health condition is bad.

So, it is incredible that the client has been paying for water for an apartment in Zagreb for over 20 years, in which he has not lived for over 30 years. Just some of the questions that arise: how much is that water debt that has been collected, enforced for over 20 years? Until when is the client going to pay this, because charges keep appearing periodically, what through financial agency “FINA”, what through Croatian Pension Fund office “HZMO”?, etc. The client even mentions that the water debt from 2015 is being charged? Of course, the client does not live in that apartment during that period, and this can be checked very easily in the Ministry of the Interior residence records, as well as the fact who lives in that apartment all those years and does not pay utilities, and how is that possible?

In addition to providing legal assistance, which unfortunately did not yield a positive result in this case, although from a legal point of view it should have, because the subject is completely clear, as is the discrimination of our client, CRP Sisak will help the client financially and humanly within its capabilities.

In Sisak, 25 March 2024

Milana Kreca,

President, CRP Sisak



– Ombudsman

– City of Zagreb: Tomislav Tomašević; City Office for Social Protection, Health, Veterans and Persons with Disabilities: Lora Vidović

– Government Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities: Milena Čalić Jelić, Aleksa Đokić, Alen Tahiri

– Croatian Parliament, Committee for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities

– SNV: Milorad Pupovac, Boris Milošević

– Sandra Benčić, “Možemo!”

– “Solidarna” Foundation: Marina Škrabalo

– Paulina Arbutina, “Novosti” newspapers

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