Notice/summons to witness or injured party
How will I receive a notice/summons to give evidence?
Witnesses and victims receive a written notice to appear for an interview at the state attorney’s office.
A witness or an injured party must be served in person with a written summons to appear in court. The summons contains the name of the defendant, law article stipulating the criminal offence, time and place of the hearing and a warning to the witness that they can be brought into court by force or fined in the amount of EUR 6636.14 (HRK 50,000) if they fail to appear at the hearing.
The text of the summons to a victim/witness/injured party in courts in which there is a Victim and Witness Support Department (county courts in Zagreb, Zadar, Osijek, Rijeka, Vukovar, Sisak and Split, including the municipal and misdemeanour courts within their jurisdiction) contains contact details of the Victim and Witness Support Department for the purpose of additional information and support.
The summonses issued by other courts contain a reference to the National Call Centre for Victims of Crimes and Misdemeanours - 116 006 (NCC), the free helpline for information on victims’ rights, emotional support and information about other relevant organisations for assistance and support to victims of crimes.
Am I obligated to give evidence if called for questioning/summoned?
Anyone called or summoned as a witness is obligated to respond and testify the truth, as giving false testimony constitutes a criminal offence.
There are some exceptions, however, and the authority conducting the interview is obligated to inform the witness of the exceptions and the privilege not to testify.
If there are objective reasons preventing you from giving evidence at a state attorney's office or court at the time stated, you must respond and justify your absence to the state attorney or judge handling the proceedings. Otherwise, the judge can order police officers to bring you in by force, fine you up to EUR 6636.14 (HRK 50,000), put you in prison for up to 30 days or until you agree to give evidence.
If a witness appears in court but refuses to testify (without legal grounds) despite being warned about the consequences, they can be fined in the amount up to HRK 50,000, and if they continue resisting testimony, they can be imprisoned until they agree to testify or their testimony becomes unnecessary, or until the criminal proceedings are completed, but for no longer than one month.
How and when should I appear for questioning/testimony?
You should be at the stated location 15 minutes before the time indicated in the notice/summons in order to prepare for giving evidence.
All persons entering the court undergo security check by judicial security officers, who must check a person's personal identification document (ID card or passport). It is forbidden to carry cold weapons or firearms, sharp objects, alcohol or drugs inside the court premises.
Witnesses who are unable to appear in court due to their mature age, illness or severe disability, can be questioned in their homes.
You should dress appropriately for the court. In the courtroom, you are obligated to be decent and respectful towards judges, court staff, defence attorneys and other parties in the proceedings. Anyone who disrupts court proceedings or disobeys the judge’s orders will be removed from the courtroom and fined.
A victim can be accompanied to court by a person of trust, who can be present in the courtroom during the victim’s testimony, provided that they themselves have not been summoned as a witness in further course of the proceedings.