Fundamental Freedoms and Rights of Man and Citizen

Chapter III Fundamental Freedoms and Rights of Man and Citizen

Part 1
Common Provisions

Article 14: Equality

1. Citizens of the Republic of Croatia 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.

2. All are equal before the law.

Article 15: Rights of Foreigners, Cultural Rights

1. Members of all nations and minorities have equal rights in the Republic of Croatia.

2. Members of all nations and minorities are guaranteed freedom to express their national identity, freedom to use their language and script, and cultural autonomy.

Article 16: Rule of Law, Restrictions

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.

Article 17: Special Restrictions in State of Emergency

1. 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.

2. The extent of such restrictions must 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.

3. 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.

Article 18: Right to Appeal, Access to Courts

1. The right to appeal against individual legal acts made in first-instance proceedings before courts or other authorized bodies is guaranteed.

2. The right to appeal may exceptionally be denied in cases specified by law if other legal protection is ensured.

Article 19: Rule of Law in Public Administration

1. Individual acts of state administration and bodies vested with public powers are based on law.

2. Judicial review of the legality of individual acts of administrative authorities and bodies vested with public powers are guaranteed.

Article 20: Personal Liability

Anyone violating the provisions of this Constitution concerning the basic freedoms and rights of man and the citizen is held personally responsible and may not exculpate himself from invoking a higher order.
Part 2
Personal and Political Freedoms and Rights

Article 21: Life, No Capital Punishment

1. Every human being has the right to life.

2. In the Republic of Croatia there is no capital punishment.

Article 22: Personal Liberty

1. Man's freedom and personality are inviolable.

2. No one may be deprived of liberty, nor may his liberty be restricted, except when so specified by law, which shall be decided by a court.

Article 23: Personal Integrity, No Forced Labor

1. No one may be subjected to any form of maltreatment or, without his consent, to medical or scientific experiments.

2. Forced and obligatory labor are forbidden.

Article 24: Arrest

1. No one may be arrested or detained without a written court order based on law. Such an order has to be read and given to the arrested person at the moment of arrest.

2. The police may without a court order arrest a person reasonably suspected of having committed a serious criminal offense defined by law, and must immediately hand him over to the court. The arrested person has to be immediately informed in a way understandable to him of the reasons for arrest and of his rights determined by law.

3. Any person arrested or detained has the right to appeal to the court, which must decide without delay on the legality of the arrest.

Article 25: Conditions of Arrest

1. Any arrested and convicted person must be treated in a humane manner and his dignity has to be respected.

2. Anyone who is detained and accused of a penal offense has 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.

3. A person in custody may be released on legal bail to defend himself.

4. Any person who has been illegally deprived of liberty or convicted is, in conformity with law, entitled to damages and a public apology.

Article 26: Equality Before the Powers

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

Article 27: Legal Aid of the Bar

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

Article 28: Presumption of Innocence

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

Article 29: Defense, Illegal Evidence

1. Anyone suspected or accused of a penal offense has the right:
  1. to a fair trial before a competent court specified by law;
  2. to be informed of the reasons for the charges brought against him and of the evidence incriminating him within the shortest possible term;
  3. to a defense attorney and free communication with him, and to be informed of this right;
  4. 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;
2. A charged and accused person may not be forced to testify against himself or to admit his guilt.

3. Illegally obtained evidence is not admitted in court proceedings.

Article 30: Loss of Rights as a Penalty

A penal judgment 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.

Article 31: nulla poena sine lege, double jeopardy

1. No one may 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 has to be imposed.

2. No one may again be tried for an act for which he was already sentenced and for which a final court judgment was passed.

3. No criminal proceedings can be renewed against a person acquitted by a final court judgment.

Article 32: Move, Residence, Leave, Return

1. Anyone who legally finds himself in the territory of the Republic has the right freely to move and choose a residence.

2. Every citizen of the Republic has the right at any time to leave the state territory and permanently or temporarily to settle abroad, and at any time to return home.

3. 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.

Article 33: Asylum

1. 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.

2. 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.

Article 34: Home, Search

1. Homes are inviolable.

2. Only a court may by a warrant based on law and a statement of reasons order the search of a home or other premises.

3. The tenant concerned has the right, personally or through his representatives and two obligatory witnesses, to be present at the search of his home or other premises.

4. 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.

5. 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.

Article 35: Privacy, Dignity, Reputation, Honor

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

Article 36: Secrecy of Communication

1. Freedom and secrecy of correspondence and all other forms of communication are guaranteed and inviolable.

2. Restrictions necessary for the protection of the Republic's security and the conduct of criminal proceedings may only be prescribed by law.

Article 37: Data Integrity

1. Everyone is 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.

2. Protection of data and supervision of the work of information systems in the Republic are regulated by law.

3. The use of personal data contrary to the purpose of their collection is prohibited.

Article 38: Expression

1. Freedom of thought and expression of thought are guaranteed.

2. Freedom of expression specifically includes freedom of the press and other media of communication, freedom of speech and public expression, and free establishment of all institutions of public communication.

3. Censorship is forbidden. Journalists have the right to freedom of reporting and access to information.

4. The right to correction is guaranteed to anyone whose constitutionally determined rights have been violated by public communication.

Article 39: Intolerance

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

Article 40: Religion

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

Article 41: Religious Communities, Religious Neutrality

1. All religious communities are equal before the law and separate from the state.

2. Religious communities shall be free, in conformity with law, to publicly 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.

Article 42: Assembly, Protest

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

Article 43: Association

1. Citizens are 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.

2. 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.

Article 44: Public Affairs, Public Services

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

Article 45: Electoral Rights

1. All citizens of the Republic who have reached the age of eighteen years have universal and equal suffrage. This right is to be exercised at direct elections by secret ballot.

2. In elections for the Croatian Parliament and the President of the Republic, the Republic ensures 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.

Article 46: Petition

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

Article 47: Military Service

1. Military service and the defense of the Republic are the duty of all citizens able to perform it.

2. Conscientious objection is 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 are obliged to perform other duties specified by law.

Part 3
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Article 48: Property, Inheritance

1. The right to ownership is guaranteed.

2. Ownership implies obligations. Holders of the right to ownership and its users shall contribute to the general welfare.

3. A foreign person may acquire the right to ownership under conditions spelled out by law.

4. The right to inheritance is guaranteed.

Article 49: Business Freedoms

1. Entrepreneurial and market freedom are the basis of the economic system of the Republic.

2. The state ensures all entrepreneurs an equal legal status on the market. Monopolies are forbidden.

3. The Republic stimulates economic progress and social welfare and cares for the economic development of all regions.

4. The rights acquired through the investment of capital may not be lessened by law, nor by any other legal act.

5. Foreign investors are guaranteed free transfer and repatriation of profit and the capital invested.

Article 50: Expropriation, Restrictions for Businesses

1. Ownership may, in the interests of the republic, be restricted by law, or property taken over against indemnity equal to its market value.

2. 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.

Article 51: Taxation

1. Everyone must participate in carrying public expenses, in accordance with their economic possibilities.

2. The tax system is based on the principles of equality and equity.

Article 52: Natural Resources

1. 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, enjoy its special protection.

2. 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, is regulated by law.

Article 53: National Bank

1. The National Bank of Croatia is the central bank of the Republic of Croatia.

2. The National Bank of Croatia is, within the framework of its rights and duties, responsible for the stability of the currency and for general payment liquidity at home and abroad.

3. The National Bank of Croatia is independent in its work and responsible to the Croatian Parliament. Profits made through the operations of the National Bank of Croatia accrue to the state budget.

4. The status of the National Bank of Croatia is regulated by law.

Article 54: Work

1. Everyone has the right to work and to freedom of work.

2. Everyone is free to choose his vocation and occupation, and all work places and duties shall be accessible to everyone under the same conditions.

Article 55: Pay, Rest, Vacation, Participation

1. Every employed person has the right to remuneration, ensuring for himself and his family a free and decent life.

2. Maximum working hours are regulated by law.

3. Every employed person has the right to a weekly rest and annual holidays with pay, and may not renounce these rights.

4. Employed persons may, in conformity with law, participate in decision-making in the firms in which they work.

Article 56: Social Security, Child Care

1. The right of those employed and of members of their families to social security and social insurance are regulated by law and collective agreements.

2. Rights in connection with childbirth, maternity, and child care are regulated by law.

Article 57: Assistance, Disabled, Humanitarian Aid

1. The Republic shall ensure to weak, helpless, and other citizens unprovided for due to unemployment or incapacity to work the right to assistance to meet their basic needs.

2. The Republic ensures special care for the protection of disabled persons and their inclusion in social life.

3. Receiving humanitarian aid from abroad may not be forbidden.

Article 58: Health Care

Every citizen is guaranteed the right to health care.

Article 59: Unions

1. In order to protect their economic and social interests, all employees and employers have the right to form trade unions and freely join and leave them.

2. Trade unions may form their federations and associate in international trade union organizations.

3. Formation of trade unions in the armed forces and the police may be restricted by law.

Article 60: Strike

1. The right to strike is guaranteed.

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

Article 61: Family, Marriage

1. The family enjoys special protection of the Republic.

2. Marriage and legal relations in marriage, common-law marriage, and families are regulated by law.

Article 62: Special Protection

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

Article 63: Parents

1. Parents shall the duty to bring up, support, and school their children and have the right and freedom to independently decide on the upbringing of children.

2. Parents are responsible for ensuring their children the right to the full and harmonious development of their personalities.

3. Physically and mentally handicapped and socially neglected children have the right to special care, education, and welfare.

4. Children are bound to take care of old and helpless parents.

5. The republic takes special care of parent less minors and of parental neglected children.

Article 64: Children, Mothers, Disabled

1. Everyone has the duty to protect children and helpless persons.

2. 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.

3. Young people, mothers, and disabled persons are entitled to special protection at work.

Article 65: Schooling

1. Primary schooling is compulsory and free.

2. Everyone has access, under the same conditions, to secondary and higher education in accordance with the abilities.

Article 66: Private Schools

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

Article 67: Universities

1. The autonomy of universities is guaranteed.

2. Universities independently decide on their organization and work in conformity with law.

Article 68: Science, Culture, Arts, Sports

1. Freedom of scientific, cultural, and artistic creativity is guaranteed.

2. The Republic shall stimulate and assist the development of science, culture, and the arts.

3. The Republic protects scientific, cultural, and artistic goods as spiritual national values.

4. Protection of moral and material rights deriving from scientific, cultural, artistic, intellectual, and other creative endeavor is guaranteed.

5. The Republic promotes physical culture and sports.

Article 69: Health, Environment, Nature

1. Everyone has the right to a healthy life.

2. The Republic ensures citizens the right to a healthy environment.

3. Citizens, government, public and economic bodies, and associations are bound, within their powers and activities, to pay special attention to the protection of human health, nature, and the human environment.