Adequate support during the interview
The LITP regulates that the needs of the applicant who needs special procedural and reception guarantees shall be taken into account when rights established in the LITP are exercised. The notion of “adequate support” is understood by the Ministry as meaning that vulnerability should be determined and that the rights related thereto are respected, without however specifying what types of guarantees should be provided.
The Ministry of Interior does not have a special unit dealing with vulnerable groups, but accommodates their needs in the general system and assesses their cases within the same legislative framework. Officials of the Ministry of Interior participated in trainings on how to deal with vulnerable cases in 2022. Namely, 13 employees of the Service for Reception and Accommodation attended various workshops with special emphasis on the vulnerable groups in need of special reception/procedural guarantees (e.g. unaccompanied children, GBV survivors). Workshops were organized by EUAA, UNHCR, Council of Europe, UNICEF, CRC, Frontex, Judicial Academy and State school for public administration.
There are few specific provisions on how to process and assess the cases of vulnerable applicants, and with a few exceptions (enumerated below) the same procedural guarantees are in place for vulnerable categories as for other applicants. There is a general obligation to take into consideration the individual situation and personal circumstances of the applicant, in particular the acts of persecution or serious harm already undergone. The personal interview and decision-making mechanism is the same for all applicants, regardless of their vulnerability.
It could be concluded that, according to the LITP, vulnerable applicants have the following rights in the status determination procedure:
- the possibility to be interviewed by a decision-maker of the same sex;
- to an interpreter of the same sex, if possible;
- to be interviewed as soon as possible upon the submission of the application for international protection;
- in cases where the interview is omitted, in particular when an applicant is unfit or unable to be interviewed, owing to enduring circumstances beyond their control, their relatives shall be permitted to present evidence and give statements;
- in case of an application of an unaccompanied child, the application has priority in decision-making (see section on Regular Procedure: Fast-Track Processing).
Exemption from special procedures
According to the LITP, the Accelerated Procedure would not apply to cases of application lodged by an unaccompanied child except in cases when a subsequent application is admissible, when the child represents a risk for the national security or public order of the Republic of Croatia or when it is possible to apply the concept of safe country of origin. According to the Ministry of Interior during 2018 applications lodged by unaccompanied children were not processed under the accelerated procedure. However, there is no information available on whether applications lodged by unaccompanied children were processed under the accelerated procedure in the period from 2019 until the end of 2021.
Procedures at border crossings or in transit zones would not apply to cases of application lodged by an unaccompanied child. However, as mentioned in Border procedure (border and transit zones), no border procedure is in place in practice.
The LITP also prescribes that accelerated procedures and procedures at border crossings or in transit zones, shall not apply to applicants who are in need of special procedural guarantees, especially victims of torture, rape or another form of serious psychological, physical or sexual violence, if it is not possible to provide the appropriate support (“adequate support”).
 Article 52(2) LITP.
 Information provided by the Ministry of Interior, 21 July 2017.
 Croatian Law Centre, The Croatian Asylum System in 2022 – National Report. The report was prepared as part of the project “Legal Assistance and Capacity Building for Access to Territory and Asylum in Croatia“, with financial support of the UNHCR Croatia: available in English at: https://bit.ly/434T7RL.
 Article 28(2)(3) LITP.
 Article 28(3) LITP.
 Article 35(5) LITP.
 Article 14(3) LITP.
 Article 35 LITP.
 Article 35(8)(2) LITP.
 Article 35(9 LITP.
 Article 17(9) LITP.
 Article 17(10) LITP.
 Information provided by the Ministry of Interior, 28 January 2019.
 Article 10(11) LITP.
 Article 15(3) LITP.