Croatian man still waiting for court case to finish after 38 years

Posted on February 27, 2012

In 1974 after a dispute with his stepbrother about ownership and division of land and houses, Petar Batur (82) from the city of Zadar on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast took out a lawsuit at Zadar Municipal Court. Just over 38 years have passed and there is still no final judgement on the case.

“My father now does not even mention the case anymore. He just wants it to be over. Wherever he goes in the village, people only ever ask him what is happening with the case and he doesn’t know what to say anymore,” says Petar’s son Miro. He added that since 1974 when the case first began, three out of twelve lawyers working on it have died and over eighteen judges have presided over his father’s case with half of them also now deceased.

In 2007, Miro and his father Petar filed a request for protection of the right to trial within a reasonable time at the Zadar County Court. They accepted the request and after just a few months, ordered that they receive 20,000 kuna (2,700 Euro) compensation from the state. The County Court stated that the main reason for the lengthy delay in proceedings was due to the inefficiency of the Municipal Court, and not the complexity of the case or personnel and organisational problems of the court. Although the County court ordered then for the case to be resolved in six months, since then it has been almost five years, and the litigation has still not ended.

Batur’s next step now is to take his case to the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg. The 20,000 kuna compensation which Batur received has not nearly covered the costs of the proceedings, reported daily 24sata.

Posted in: Balcania