International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Armenia

    The Constitution of Croatia contains various provisions for the protection of the environment

    Article 52 reads: “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 goods of special cultural, historic, economic or ecological significance which are specified by law to be of interest to the Republic of Croatia shall enjoy its special protection.”

    Article 3 guarantees: “Freedom, equal rights, national equality and equality of genders, love of peace, social justice, respect for human rights, inviolability of ownership, conservation of nature and the environment, the rule of law, and a democratic multiparty system.”

    Finally, Article 70 states:

  • Everyone shall have the right to a healthy life
  • The State shall ensure conditions for a healthy environment
  • Everyone shall be bound, within their powers and activities, to pay special attention to the protection of public health, nature and environment

Featured Legislation

1994: The Environmental Protection Act (EPA) was promulgated and amended in 1999. In 2007, the Croatian Parliament adopted a new EPA which includes:

  • Obligations to improve the quality and implementation of environmental impact assessments (EIA)
  • Introduce strategic environmental assessments (SEA)
  • Reinforce public participation in environmental matters
  • Ensure access to environmental information
  • And strengthen integrated industrial pollution prevention and control (IPPC)

1997: The Contingency Plan for accidental marine pollution in the Republic of Croatia was presented. The Contingency Plan identifies the abatement measures in case of larger accidental marine pollution, the entities responsible for implementing the measures and their authorizations, and all necessary methods for the implementation of prescribed rules and requirements.

2003: The Nature Protection Act was established, serving as a strong and comprehensive legislative framework for protecting flora and fauna, maintaining biological and landscape diversity, preserving ecological stability, improving the disturbed natural balance and restoring its regeneration capabilities.

2004: The Waste Act was enacted and amended in 2006, 2008 and 2009. The legislation established a framework for waste management, covering the principles and aims of management, planning documents, authorities and responsibilities related to management, costs, information systems and requirements for facilities where waste management shall be carried out.

2005: The Chemicals Act was signed and amended in 2008 and 2011: Serving as the key piece of legislation in terms of regulating chemicals management.

2005: The Act on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) was formulated and amended in 2009 and 2013, replacing the biotechnology-regulating provisions of the Act on Protection of Nature. The act regulates the import, shipment, production, usage and sale on the market of genetically modified crops or biotechnology products.

2009: The Strategy for Sustainable Development of the Republic of Croatia was unveiled. This Strategy for Sustainable Development of the Republic of Croatia must be put into the context of its geopolitical environment and existing situation which includes the assessment of available human and natural resources. Sustainable development implies the realization of three general objectives: stable economic development, social equity and environmental protection. These objectives, while recognizing the state’s responsibility for global issues at the international level, may only be accomplished by mutual cooperation of all stakeholders. The realization of the aforementioned objectives should: safeguard the earth’s capacity to support life in all its diversity, respect the existing limits on the use of natural resources and ensure a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, prevent and reduce environmental pollution and promote sustainable production and consumption to break the link between economic growth and environmental degradation; respect national specificities; promote an economy based on prosperity, development changes, spirit of competition and social responsibility, an economy that ensures the quality of life and full employment; promote a democratic, socially inclusive, cohesive, healthy, safe and just society with respect for fundamental rights and cultural diversity that creates equal opportunities and combats discrimination in all its forms; apply scientific and expert knowledge to develop a system for the protection of human health, including the remediation of existing environmental burdens; encourage the establishment of democratic institutions across the region and the world and defend their stability, based on the universal right to peace, security and freedom; actively promote sustainable development in the region and the world; strengthen partnership among all segments of the society.

2009: The Water Act was introduced, regulating the activities and organization of water management and protection, and public water supply and public sewerage activities.

2011: The Air Protection Act was passed, regulating air protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation, ozone layer protection and industrial pollution.

2011: A Framework for Action on Marine Environment Protection was tabled, defining conditions for the elaboration, development, implementation and monitoring of the Marine Environmental Protection Strategy (Marine Strategy) for achieving and maintaining good marine environmental status.

2013: A new EPA was adopted, providing an improved basis for further harmonization of national environmental legislation with the European Union’s standards. The 2013 EPA is based on the 2009 Sustainable Development Strategy and incorporates the provisions of a number of EU directives such as:

  • Introducing the environmental permit
  • Improving the existing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure related to screening
  • Further improving the system for prevention and remedying of environmental damage
  • Improving the system for granting authorizations for professional work in environmental protection
  • Improving the system for environmental inspection
  • Introducing the concept of integrated management of marine and coastal areas

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • An INTERPOL-led operation called Operation 30 Days at Sea 3.0 has uncovered thousands of suspects, companies and criminal networks engaged in maritime pollution. Approximately 300 agencies across 67 countries have engaged in comprehensive inspections at sea and inland waterways, coastal areas and ports to detect marine pollution violations. Croatia is one of the countries being investigated for its role in oil discharges, illegal shipbreaking and sulphur emissions from vessels. Five months of intelligence collection and analysis has identified specific hotspots and suspects behind the deliberate pollution of various waterways. Criminal organizations in Croatia have also been active in the illegal discharges of sewage, mercury, plastics, and other contaminants, leading to serious water contamination. INTERPOL’s databases have allowed law enforcement officials to connect pollution crime with other serious offences such as fraud, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, piracy, and illegal fishing. While enforcement resources have been reassigned to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Croatia, among other countries, has been illegally shipping contaminated or mixed metal waste and falsely declaring it as metal scraps.
  • In 2019: Stakeholders met in Zagreb, Croatia, to discuss how best to fight environmental crime. The panelists concluded that raising more public awareness on the impact of environmental crime on human health would make enforcement a higher priority. This, according to the panelists, can be achieved through practical and specialised training, facilitating the exchange of best practices and building a regional enforcement network. A SPIDER WEB project was proposed, targeting specific categories of specialists of the enforcement chain and allowing for effective networking.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Environment and Energy of Croatia: