The Istrian citizens' initiatives refer to the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and demand action according to the Act after the foreign couple publicly boasted about the illegal construction, and after the protest in front of the DORH in Pula.
The press release of the four civic initiatives - Premantura, Žućo from Pula, Community of Istria and Slobodni zajedno Pula - is transmitted in its entirety:
"Two cases of illegal construction horrified the Croatian public; the illegal villa by the sea of the director of HEP and the usurpation of a part of the forest by the sea in the municipality of Marčana by a German couple.
These are minor cases compared to entire illegal settlements or fenced off illegal resorts and camps by the sea. However, these are the last nails driven into the coffin of the protected area of Croatia, our national territorial integrity and lawlessness. Croatia is rebelling!
After the public protest held in the center of Pula and in front of the building of ŽDO and ODO in Pula because these 'institutions are not doing their job', we submit the following request to the DORH.
We request that the State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia sanction criminal acts of inaction by responsible employees of the County State Attorney's Office in Pula and the Municipal State Attorney's Office in Pula - in connection with the duty to suppress illegal construction and illegal logging.
ŽDO and ODO from Pula constantly ignore tens of thousands of criminal acts of illegal construction and forest cutting in Istria County, for which they are obliged to act according to article 212 and 109 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Croatia.
Please note that the State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia has the task and goal of supervising and monitoring the work of lower state attorney's offices, and that is why we are contacting you.
The responsible employees of ŽDO and ODO from Pula are causing enormous damage to the citizens of Istria County and the whole of Croatia by not doing anything to protect the area of Istria. Illegal construction permanently destroys the most valuable natural resources of the Republic of Croatia.
The coast was destroyed, centuries-old forests were cut down, and attractive landscapes were devastated. Illegal tourism in illegal facilities also causes great damage to the Croatian economy.
There is no official data on the amount of monetary damage from approximately 50.000 illegal buildings in Istria, but the damage is estimated at around 70.000.000 euros per season, due to non-payment of taxes and contributions by illegal builders. Applied to the whole of Croatia and multiplied by dozens of tourist seasons - the damages are in the billions.
The dark background of illegal construction in Croatia
The State Inspectorate, the institution responsible for the legality of construction - is experiencing a total collapse in the segment of illegal construction. The most responsible state bodies, the Croatian Parliament and the Government, remain silent. Evil tongues claim that it is corruption, but there is no evidence of this!
According to the statement of the Chief Inspector Mikulić - in the three decades of our statehood, 2023 buildings out of several hundreds of thousands of illegal constructions in Croatia were demolished until July 952.
This means that in three decades, it has removed less than 0,5 percent of illegal buildings - that is, it solves 0,17 per thousand Croatian illegal constructions annually, and during that time, new thousands of wild cottages and villas have sprung up. Negligibly small and absurd!
The construction inspection demolishes an average of 28 buildings per year, which means that it would take an absurd few thousand years to restore Croatia to its original state.
The inspector's boards with construction bans are removed and in 90 percent of cases, illegal construction continues. And the fines that are charged according to the Instruction on the way construction inspectors work in imposing fines based on the Law on Construction Inspection, are not a particular problem for illegal builders.
They easily cover them by renting out their wild cottages or rich lawless resorts by the sea. In addition, these fines do not reach "every" illegal builder! A nice example of the 'work' of the State Inspectorate is the wildly announced action in Istria at the beginning of 2023. At the initiative of the Civic Initiatives of Premantura and Žuća from Pula, Mikulić's excavators arrived in Istria.
Out of 50.000 illegal constructions in Istria, 2023 structures were demolished by July 14 (most of them were demolished by the owners themselves!) and the excavators left. Illegal settlements in the municipalities by the sea and in the forests remained intact.
Those responsible are sleeping
In the richest Municipality of Medulin, full of wild construction, not a single building was demolished, and two illegal settlements are intact; 'Sheve' and 'Kamenjak', which have existed for years without any hygienic or other conditions. The public institution Kamenjak was founded to take care of the area of the Municipality of Medulin - sleeps.
Renting of illegal cottages and settlements was also in full swing this season. Of course, without registration! Owners and tourists are unknown and unregistered in this lawlessness.
Most of them are Croats and especially active Slovenians, but there are owners from all over - from Austria, Germany, maybe even from China... The Croatian police do not know if thieves, people with international warrants or maybe terrorists live there?
Both Medulin wild settlements, as well as all illegal constructions in Istria and throughout Croatia, were used for the whole season for free or were rented out 'in honor of the Municipality of Medulin' to all Croatian citizens, the Croatian Parliament, the Government and the DORH.
But it is also true - that the State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia and its lower state attorney's offices are also responsible for illegal construction. This institution has a very effective ability to suppress illegal construction and forest cutting. It is the Criminal Code; Article 212:
The Republic of Croatia is also obliged to punish anyone who builds a building in an area that has been declared a protected natural value, cultural asset or other area of special interest for the Republic of Croatia by regulation or decision of the competent body, with a prison sentence of six months to five years.
Only a few arrests of illegal builders on the maritime domain, on the protected coast and in the forests, according to Article 212 - would completely stop the illegal construction. A good example would be the arrest of the German usurpers (Ralf and Sylvia), who are still bragging about their lawlessness on German TV. Such an action by the Croatian authorities would encourage many to demolish their illegal constructions themselves.
The State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia with its lower state attorney's offices and USKOK, in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, Article 35, paragraph (1), is obliged to take action against perpetrators of criminal offenses and other punishable acts - but it does not do so! Why?
Investigative work in the segment of combating illegal construction is the easiest work. In most cases, a very short term is sufficient. The main evidence, the illegal object, sticks out into the sky and is impossible to hide. An employee of ODO or USKOK should go to the Urban Planning Department of the local self-government.
The urban planner will easily locate the location of the object and give an official answer, whether the construction is in a construction area or in a protected area where construction is not allowed. Finding the owner is a common police scheme. And everything else comes down to the usual legal schemes based on the Criminal Code of the Republic of Croatia.
Questions should be asked of local sheriffs, mayors and chiefs
We will repeat the sentence: 'Evil tongues claim that it is corruption, but there is no evidence of it!' Given the fact that without corruption there is no illegal construction, the public remains suspicious of classic and non-property corruption (trading in influence, clientelism, godfather-family relationships, official positions (tokens)...
Finally, questions should also be asked to local sheriffs, mayors and chiefs - why don't they file lawsuits against illegal builders based on the Criminal Code? It is impossible that they do not know about this possibility (we have published article 212 of the Criminal Code several times).
It is naive and transparent to suggest that they be given the powers of the State Inspectorate, whatever it may be. It seems that it is easier for local governments to turn a blind eye to the destruction of their space and deceive the people with nebulous proposals.
In addition to inaction, i.e. toleration of the criminal acts of illegal logging and illegal construction in Istria, the responsible officers of ŽDO and ODO from Pula also commit criminal acts of non-reporting, punishable by imprisonment under Article 302, paragraph 2, of the Criminal Code. And for these criminal acts, we demand the implementation of the Law.
In addition to these demands, Citizens' Initiatives from Istria announce the preparation of a lawsuit in court, at the beginning of 2024, against the competent state authorities who, by failing to fulfill their duties under the Criminal Code, tolerate illegal construction and thereby cause billions in damages due to non-payment of taxes and contributions by illegal builders.
It is also about what is even more important; the devastation of Croatian space and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Croatia, as well as damage to legal tourism.
Evidence to the court will be notorious facts and no one can dispute that - thousands of illegal constructions in front of us, as well as cut down forests, usurped and concreted maritime assets. Croatian citizens must receive compensation, and the responsible perpetrators must receive legal sanctions."
This is the message of the citizens' initiatives from Istria: Premantura, Žućo from Pula, Community of Istria and Slobodni zajedno Pula.