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Croatia - Legislation

Last modified: 2002-11-30 by dov gutterman
Keywords: croatia | hrvatska | legislation |
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Law on Arms, Flag, Anthem and Presidential Flag and Sache

The only laws that might be of interest to FOTW from Croatia are the Law on Coat of Arms, Flag, Anthem and Presidential Flag and Sache, and several (3, if I recall correctly) consecutive laws on civil sea navigation considering civil ensigns and some official ensigns on police vessels. There is also a number of other laws that mention flags, but mostly only in connection with when some official building should hoist the flag or when it is included on some official forms.

All these laws are available on line at <>. Put zastava as the search word. Unfortunately, the on-line version doesn't have images.
Zeljko Heimer, 3 January 1998

Here there is an English version of the Law on the Coat-of-Arms, the Flag, and the National Anthem of the Republic of Croatia, and on the Flag and Sash of the President of the Republic of Croatia. I think the Web site is an official one for the Government of Croatia.
Jan Oskar Engene, 6 January 1998

I forgot about that one. There should be also the English version of the Constitution of Croatia there, which have certain provision on the flag (but I haven't checked it lately). The site is really the site of the Government of Croatia, and I guess that the translation is made by someone who knows what he is doing (or should I?, look what we got with translations of "purple" in Chuvashia).
However, I took to the comparison of the two texts. While I am no lawyer and couldn't guarantee some tricks of that trade, here are some comments of the English text there compared to Croatian original:

  • to be pinpointing, in Art. 1 where it stands "of the Croatian President" should be "of the President of the Republic of Croatia", and the term is translated elsewhere.
  • Art. 7 contains detailed description of the coat of arms. The translation is very precise. It uses terms "blue" and "navy blue" for the two different shades of blue that are used in Croatian version (plava, modra), though I don't think anyone in Croatia could really say which shade is supposed by which of the two terms. Usually, it is taken that "navy blue" (modra) is darker then "blue" (plava)
  • Art. 7. par. 4. "A golden rim borders the entire coat of arms." This whole sentence have no counterpart in Croatian text. It must have came here by mistake.
  • Art. 8. par. 4. "representative and members of government of the Republic..." should be "representatives and members of the Presidency of the Republic...". The Presidency was the highest body of the Republic since 1974, but was soon abolished in new Croatia. It is mentioned here, I guess, because it was still in theory working when the law was passed. English text seems to "correct" this.
  • Art. 10 describes the flag. "three bands of colour" read in original "three colours" without indication of the bands, but since latter in the same paragraph it is stated that the colours are ordered horizontally, it doesn't make much difference.
  • Art 11. It seems that one line was missed and the article should read:
    The flag of the Republic of Croatia shall be displayed: 
       1. permanently on all the buildings of the state bodies   
       2. on State holidays    
       3. during mourning, at half-mast 
       4. on other occasions if so regulated by law. 
    The flag of the Republic of Croatia shall be flown by ships and other
    maritime and inland navigation vessels. 
    Details concerning all the above shall be regulated by the Government
    of the Republic of Croatia. 
  • While Art 11. proscribes where and when the flag must be, Art. 12 states where it could be. It seems that the missing statement of the former was by error included here. Also a part of the original text is missing and the whole article should read:
    The flag of the Republic of Croatia may be flown: 
       2. during public meetings (political, scientific, cultural-artistic,
    sport and others) held in Republic of Croatia, according to the rules
    and habits of usage on such meetings
       3. on other occasions in accordance with the provisions of the law. 
  • Art 13. "vertically on the speaker's platform" is longer in original "vertically on the table, the speaker's platform, or some other honorary place"
  • Art 14. "should honour it (stand and salute etc.)" is in original "should honour it in the usual way (stand, salute etc.)"
  • Art. 16 brings the text of the Anthem. The English version is not a literary translation, but it retains the meaning very faithfully.
  • Art. 24. par. b) "on any vehicle used by the President", in Croatian text the word used for "vehicle" bears connotation of not only a land vehicle but also vessel or air ship etc. I am not sure if the same is understood in english.
  • Art 30. declares that photographs and images of the flag, coat of arms etc. are also under jurisdiction of this law. In Croatian original if I would be asked to translate it I would rather say something like "Graphical representations of the coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Croatia, and the flag and the sache of the President of the Republic of Croatia are part of this law". And I would suspect that together with the law there comes these representations as addition. However, the English text gives rise to the opinion that this is not what it was meant. Hmh...
  • Art 31. proscribes that the Law comes to effect with it's issuing in the official gazette (Narodne Novine). I don't have the date at hand. However, the date under the Law, when it was adopted in the Parliament is 21 December 1990 (in all three houses that were parts of it at the time). On the same date it was proclaimed by the President (as it was usual at the time, each law after adoption in Parliament also had to be proclaimed by President).

Zeljko Heimer, 8 January 1998

The Contitution describes the flag quite "lapidarly":
"Article 11
The coat-of-arms of the Republic of Croatia is the historic Croatian coat-of-arms whose base consists of 25 alternating red and white (argent) fields. The flag of the Republic of Croatia consists of three colors: red, white and blue, with the historic Croatian coat-of-arms in the center. The anthem of the Republic of Croatia is ``Our Beautiful Homeland" (Lijepa naša domovino). The description of the historic Croatian coat-of-arms and flag, the text of the anthem, and the use of these and other state symbols shall be regulated by law."
The text of the Law on the flag (etc.) only determines the complicated design of the coat of arms (which is hardly the "historical coat of arms" from the Constitution in the exact sence - but obviously the legislator mean what he meant when writing Constitution and knew what he meant latter in the Law).
For full text of the Constitution in English see: <> and the Law on the flag see: <>)
Zeljko Heimer, 16 November 2002

Regulations on boats

As you already know, I am passionately searching trough the laws and regulations of Croatia to find some flags, but I am not getting any, at least considering the flags that would be most interesting. However, I have found regulations from 1991 that describe a temporarily used signals on boats of the harbour police since the old Yugoslav were obsolete and new weren't defined yet.

In any case, the Regulations on Boats (Pravilnik o camcima, NN, 1097, 1991 of 11 August 1991) describe the use of two administrative signals. Article 63:

"A boat for public purposes owned by the harbour police must hoist on the bow the administrative signal, that is blue, proportions 1:1. In the middle of the signal there are two crossed white anchors inscribed in an imaginary rectangle of length of 3/8 of the length of the signal and height 1/3 of signal height.

A boat for administrative purposes owned by the harbour police must hoist on the bow the administrative signal that is white a pennant of triangular shape in proportions 2:1. In the middle of the pennant there should be the sign from line 2 art. 58 of these regulations."

The Art. 58 defines registration numbers, so the sign consists of the registration number, a digraph for the harbour and the number 3 (that was the identification number for Croatia in former Yugoslavia).

The best part for the end: Art. 62 says:

"A boat for public purposes must hoist on the stern or some other convinient place during the daylight (from sunrise till sundown) the flag of the Republic of Croatia. Other boats also can hoist the flag of the Republic of Croatia.

The size of the flag is 0.46(sic!)x0.80 meters and must be in good condition."

That would mean that between 1991 and 1992 the ensign of Croatia was 23:40 in proportions! In 1992, of course, the new regulations define ensigns to be 2:3. The same regulations define the new administrative signals.

Zeljko Heimer, 28 April 1997

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