Article III of the

CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA


III. FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS OF MAN AND CITIZEN

1. Common Provisions

Citizens of the Republic of Croatia shall enjoy all rights and freedoms regardless of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, education, social status or other characteristics. All shall be equal before the law.

Members of all nations and minorities shall have equal rights in the Republic of Croatia. Members of all nations and minorities shall be guaranteed freedom to express their national identity, freedom to use their language and script, and cultural autonomy.

Freedoms and rights may only be restricted by law to protect the freedoms and rights of other people and the public order, morality and health.

During a state of war or an immediate danger to the independence and unity of the Republic, or in the event of some natural disaster, individual freedoms and rights guaranteed by the Constitution may be restricted. This shall be decided by the Croatian Parliament by a two-thirds majority of all representatives or, if the Croatian Parliament is unable to convene, by the President of the Republic. The extent of such restrictions shall be adequate to the nature of the danger, and may not result in the inequality of citizens in respect of race, color, sex, language, religion, national or social origin. Not even in the case of immediate danger to the existence of the state may restrictions be imposed on the application of the provisions of this Constitution concerning the right to life, prohibition of torture, cruel or unusual treatment or punishment, and on the legal definitions of penal offenses and punishments, and on freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

The right to appeal against individual legal acts made in first-instance proceedings before courts or other authorized bodies shall be guaranteed. The right to appeal may exceptionally be denied in cases specified by law if other legal protection is ensured.

Individual acts of state administration and bodies vested with public powers shall be based on law. Judicial review of the legality of individual acts of administrative authorities and bodies vested with public powers shall be guaranteed.

Anyone violating the provisions of this Constitution concerning the basic freedoms and rights of man and the citizen shall be held personally responsible and may not exculpate himself from invoking a higher order.



2. Personal and Political Freedoms and Rights

Every human being shall have the right to life. In the Republic of Croatia there shall be no capital punishment.

Man's freedom and personality shall be inviolable. No one shall be deprived of liberty, nor may his liberty be restricted, except when so specified by law, which shall be decided by a court.

No one shall be subjected to any form of maltreatment or, without his consent, to medical or scientific experiments. Forced and obligatory labor shall be forbidden.

No one shall be arrested or detained without a written court order based on law. Such an order shall be read and given to the arrested person at the moment of arrest. The police may without a court order arrest a person reasonably suspected of having committed a serious criminal offense defined by law, and shall immediately hand him over to the court. The arrested person shall be immediately informed in a way understandable to him of the reasons for arrest and of his rights determined by law. Any person arrested or detained shall have the right to appeal to the court, which shall without delay decide on the legality of the arrest.

Any arrested and convicted person shall be treated in a humane manner and his dignity shall be respected. Anyone who is detained and accused of a penal offense shall have the right within the shortest term specified by law to be brought before a court, and within the statutory term to be acquitted or convicted. A person in custody may be released on legal bail to defend himself. Any person who has been illegally deprived of liberty or convicted shall, in conformity with law, be entitled to damages and a public apology.

All citizens and aliens shall be equal before courts, government bodies and other bodies vested with public powers.

The Bar as an autonomous and independent service shall provide citizens with legal aid, in conformity with law.

Everyone shall be presumed innocent and may not be considered guilty of a penal offense until his guilt has been proved by a final court judgement.

Anyone suspected or accused of a penal offense shall have the right:

  • to a fair trial before a competent court specified by law;
  • to be informed of the reasons for the charges brought against him and of the evidence incriminating him within the shortest possible term;
  • to a defense attorney and free communication with him, and to be informed of this right;
  • to be tried in his presence if he is accessible to the court, and to defend himself by himself or with the assistance of the defense counsel chosen by him;


A charged and accused person shall not be forced to testify against himself or to admit his guilt. Illegally obtained evidence shall not be admitted in court proceedings.

A penal judgement for a serious and exceptionally dishonorable penal offense may, in conformity with law, have as a consequence loss of acquired rights or a ban on acquiring, for a specific time, certain rights to the conduct of specific affairs, if this is required for the protection of legal order.

No one shall be punished for an act which before its perpetration was not defined by law or international law as a punishable offense, nor may he be sentenced to a punishment which was not defined by law. If after the perpetration of an act a less severe punishment is determined by law, such punishment shall be imposed. No one may again be tried for an act for which he was already sentenced and for which a final court judgement was passed. No criminal proceedings shall be renewed against a person acquitted by a final court judgement.

Anyone who legally finds himself in the territory of the Republic shall have the right freely to move and choose a residence. Every citizen of the Republic shall have the right at any time to leave the state territory and permanently or temporarily to settle abroad, and at any time to return home. The right of movement within the Republic and the right to enter or leave it may exceptionally be restricted by law, if this is necessary to protect the legal order, or the health, rights and freedoms of others.

Foreign citizens and stateless persons may obtain asylum in Croatia, unless they are prosecuted for non-political crimes and activities contrary to the basic principles of international law. No alien who legally finds himself on the territory of the Republic shall be banished or extradited to another state, unless a decision made in accordance with an international agreement or law is to be enforced.

Homes shall be inviolable.
Only a court may by a warrant based on law and a statement of reasons order the search of a home or other premises. The tenant concerned shall have the right, personally or through his representatives and two obligatory witnesses, to be present at the search of his home or other premises. Subject to conditions spelled out by law, police authorities may even without a court warrant or consent from the tenant enter his home or premises and carry out a search in the absence of witnesses, if this is indispensable to enforce an arrest warrant or to apprehend the offender, or to prevent serious danger to life or major property. A search aimed at finding or securing evidence, which there is reasonable probability to believe is to be found in the home of the perpetrator of a penal offense, may only be carried out in the presence of witnesses.

All citizens shall be guaranteed respect for and legal protection of personal and family life, dignity, reputation and honor.

Freedom and secrecy of correspondence and all other forms of communication shall be guaranteed and inviolable.
Restrictions necessary for the protection of the Republic's security and the conduct of criminal proceedings may only be prescribed by law.

Everyone shall be guaranteed the safety and secrecy of personal data.
Without consent from the person concerned, personal data may be collected, processed and used only under conditions specified by law. Protection of data and supervision of the work of information systems in the Republic shall be regulated by law. The use of personal data contrary to the purpose of their collection shall be prohibited.

Freedom of thought and expression of thought shall be guaranteed.
Freedom of expression shall specifically include freedom of the press and other media of communication, freedom of speech and public expression, and free establishment of all institutions of public communication. Censorship shall be forbidden. Journalists shall have the right to freedom of reporting and access to information. The right to correction shall be guaranteed to anyone whose constitutionally determined rights have been violated by public communication.

Any call for or incitement to war, or resort to violence, national, racial or religious hatred, or any form of intolerance shall be prohibited and punishable.

Freedom of conscience and religion and free public profession of religion and other convictions shall be guaranteed.

All religious communities shall be equal before the law and shall be separate from the state. Religious communities shall be free, in conformity with law, publicly to perform religious services, open schools, teaching establishments or other institutions , social and charitable institutions and to manage them, and shall in their activity enjoy the protection and assistance of the state.

All citizens shall be guaranteed the right to peaceful assembly and public protest.

Citizens shall be guaranteed the right to free association for the purposes of protection of their interests or promotion of social, economic, political, national, cultural and other convictions and objectives. For this purpose, citizens may freely form political parties, trade unions and other associations, join them or leave them. The right to free association shall be restricted by the prohibition of any violent threat to the democratic constitutional order and the independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic.

Every citizen of the Republic shall have the right, under equal conditions, to take part in the conduct of public affairs, and have access to public service.

All citizens of the Republic who have reached the age of eighteen years shall have universal and equal suffrage. This right shall be exercised at direct elections by secret ballot. In elections for the Croatian Parliament and the President of the Republic, the Republic shall ensure suffrage to all citizens who at the time of the elections find themselves outside its borders, so that they may vote in the states in which they find themselves or any other way specified by law.

All citizens shall have the right to submit petitions and complaints, to make proposals to government and other public bodies and to receive answers thereto.

Military service and the defense of the Republic shall be the duty of all citizens able to perform it. Conscientious objection shall be allowed to all those who for religious or moral beliefs are not willing to participate in the performance of military duties in the armed forces. Such persons shall be obliged to perform other duties specified by law.



3. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The right to ownership shall be guaranteed. Ownership implies obligations. Holders of the right to ownership and its users shall contribute to the general welfare. A foreign person may acquire the right to ownership under conditions spelled out by law. The right to inheritance shall be guaranteed.

Entrepreneurial and market freedom shall be the basis of the economic system of the Republic. The state shall ensure all entrepreneurs an equal legal status on the market. Monopolies shall be forbidden. The Republic shall stimulate economic progress and social welfare and shall care for the economic development of all regions. The rights acquired through the investment of capital shall not be lessened by law, nor by any other legal act. Foreign investors shall be guaranteed free transfer and repatriation of profit and the capital invested.

Ownership may in the interests of the republic be restricted by law, or property taken over against indemnity equal to its market value. Entrepreneurial freedom and property rights may exceptionally be restricted by law for the purposes of protecting the interests and security of the Republic, nature, the human environment and human health.

Everyone shall participate in the defrayment of public expenses, in accordance with their economic possibilities. The tax system shall be based on the principles of equality and equity.

The sea, seashore and islands, waters, air space, mineral wealth and other natural resources, as well as land, forests, fauna and flora, other parts of nature, real estate and things of special cultural, historical, economic or ecological significance which are specified by law to be of interest to the Republic, shall enjoy its special protection. The way in which goods of interest to the Republic may be used and exploited by holders of rights to them and by owners, and compensation for the restrictions imposed on them, shall be regulated by law.

The National Bank of Croatia shall be the central bank of the Republic of Croatia. The National Bank of Croatia shall, within the framework of its rights and duties, be responsible for the stability of the currency and for general payment liquidity at home and abroad. The National Bank of Croatia shall be independent in its work and shall be responsible to the Croatian Parliament. Profits made through the operations of the National Bank of Croatia shall accrue to the state budget. The status of the National Bank of Croatia shall be regulated by law.

Everyone shall have the right to work and to freedom of work. Everyone shall be free to choose his vocation and occupation, and all work places and duties shall be accessible to everyone under the same conditions.

Every employed person shall have the right to remuneration, ensuring for himself and his family a free and decent life. Maximum working hours shall be regulated by law. Every employed person shall have the right to a weekly rest and annual holidays with pay, and may not renounce these rights. Employed persons may, in conformity with law, participate in decision-making in the firms in which they work.

The right of those employed and of members of their families to social security and social insurance shall be regulated by law and collective agreements. Rights in connection with childbirth, maternity and child care shall be regulated by law.

The Republic shall ensure to weak, helpless and other unprovided-for citizens due to unemployment or incapacity to work the right to assistance to meet their basic needs. The Republic shall ensure special care for the protection of disabled persons and their inclusion in social life. Receiving humanitarian aid from abroad may not be forbidden.

Every citizen shall be guaranteed the right to health care.

In order to protect their economic and social interests, all employees and employers shall have the right to form trade unions and freely to join and leave them. Trade unions may form their federations and associate in international trade union organizations. Formation of trade unions in the armed forces and the police may be restricted by law.

The right to strike shall be guaranteed. The right to strike may be restricted in the armed forces, the police, government administration and the public services specified by law.

The family shall enjoy special protection of the Republic. Marriage and legal relations in marriage, common-law marriage and families shall be regulated by law.

The Republic shall protect maternity, children and young people, and shall create social, cultural, educational, material and other conditions conducive to the realization of the right to a decent life.

Parents shall have the duty to bring up, support and school their children and shall have the right and freedom to independently decide on the upbringing of children. Parents shall be responsible for ensuring their children the right to the full and harmonious development of their personalities. Physically and mentally handicapped and socially neglected children shall have the right to special care, education and welfare. Children shall be bound to take care of old and helpless parents. The republic shall take special care of parentless minors and of parentally neglected children.

Everyone shall have the duty to protect children and helpless persons. Children may not be employed before reaching the legally determined age, nor may they be forced or allowed to do work which is harmful to their health or morality. Young people, mothers and disabled persons shall be entitled to special protection at work.

Primary schooling shall be compulsory and free. Everyone shall have access, under the same conditions, to secondary and higher education in accordance with the abilities.

Under conditions specified by law, citizens may open private schools and teaching establishments.

The autonomy of universities shall be guaranteed. Universities shall independently decide on their organization and work in conformity with law.

Freedom of scientific, cultural and artistic creativity shall be guaranteed. The Republic shall stimulate and assist the development of science, culture and the arts. The Republic shall protect scientific, cultural and artistic goods as spiritual national values. Protection of moral and material rights deriving from scientific, cultural, artistic, intellectual and other creative endeavour shall be guaranteed. The Republic shall promote physical culture and sports.

Everyone shall have the right to a healthy life. The Republic shall ensure citizens the right to a healthy environment. Citizens, government, public and economic bodies and associations shall be bound, within their powers and activities, to pay special attention to the protection of human health, nature and the human environment.


Text published by The Constitution Society, at http://www.constitution.org/cons/croatia.htm.
(Constitutions are in the Public Domain)