Zagreb - The parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System decided on Wednesday that the Constitution should be amended to ensure that all first-degree murders were no longer subject to the statute of limitations.
Eight members of the Committee - the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Croatian People's Party (HNS) and the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) - voted in favour, Vladimir Seks of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was against, while Dragutin Lesar of the Labour Party abstained from the vote.
The government had proposed lifting the statute of limitations on all first-degree murders after 46 of the SDP members of Parliament moved that the statute of limitations should no longer apply to politically-motivated murders.
The proposal sparked a heated debate on the Committee.
"Raising the issue of constitutional changes comes too early and the HDZ will not support them," Šeks said, wondering why the statute of limitations should not also be lifted for other serious crimes such as inhuman treatment, rape or grievous bodily harm. He expressed a suspicion that the Constitution was being amended "as a reflex of Lex Perkovic", alluding to the law on judicial cooperation in criminal matters with EU countries.
External members of the Committee, constitutional law experts Branko Smerdel and Sanja Barić, and Dragan Zelić of the non-governmental organisation GONG said that amending the Constitution should not be taken lightly.