Last modified: 2006-10-28 by dov gutterman
Keywords: croatia | hrvatska | legislation |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors
The only laws that might be of interest from Croatia are the
Law on Coat of Arms, Flag, Anthem and Presidential Flag and Sash,
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 <www.nn.hr/search/iaquery.exe>. Put zastava as the search word. Unfortunately, the on-line version doesn't have images.
Željko Heimer, 3 January 1998
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
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:
Željko Heimer, 8 January 1998
The Contitution describes the flag quite
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 naa 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: <www.usud.hr/html/the_constitution_of_the_republ.htm> and for the Law on the flag see: <www.vlada.hr/english/law.html>,
Željko Heimer, 16 November 2002
The legislation on the flag does not include any images (even
though the texts says that it odes) and the closes to the
official image is a scan I acquired from the 1990 booklet
including the constitution and some basic laws, where the coat of
arms and the flag (and the presidential flag and sashe) are shown
in black and white. There, the coat of arms shown on the flag and
the coat of arms shown separately indeed have some minor
differences: most notably, the coat of arms shown
"solo" has the red line outlining it removed from the
shield so there is a thin white line inbetween, while on the flag
there is no that white line. Also the red outline (plus white
inbetween) is found encirceling the crest of the shield when
apart from the flag - in the flag, here the white outline is
retained while the red outline merges with the background of the
The flag makers in Croatia, I noted, use this drawing, apparently, for their source of images so there is no white line outlining the shield. however, some manufacturers include the white line around the crest while others don't. Since the drawing I mentioned clearly showes it - I retain it as well.
Željko Heimer, 3 August 2006
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
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:
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
The best part for the end: Art. 62 says:
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.
Željko Heimer, 28 April 1997
According to a paper by Drago Held, publised by the Institute
for War and Peace Research (IWPR) on 28 November 2002, translated
in French by Pierre Derens and put online by Courrier des
Balkans on 4 December 2002, the Croatian center-left
government led by Ivica Racan planned to outlaw the Ustashi
Here is a summary of the paper: The project was an attempt to limit the public use and spread of the symbols of the Independent State of Croatia, led by Ante Palevic, who "ruled" Croatia under German protection in 1941-1945. Recently (then), monuments and statues were built to honour Ustachi military leaders, while images of Palevic giving the Nazi salute were published. Ustashi songs are more and more commonly heard in stadiums ans concert halls, whereas T-shirts, badges, lighters etc. decorated with the Ustashi emblem are more and more frequently sold.
The future law, nicknamed "de-ustashization", should forbid the sale of artefacts glorifying former fascist states and organizations. Everyone exhibiting "flags, badges, clothes, mottos, salutes and other insignia of former fascist states" should be fined, and, in the worst cases, sentenced to up to three years in jail.
Before the law was discussed in the Parliament, it was strongly rejected by lawyers and extreme-right parties. Lawyers said that implementation of the law would be impossible in stadiums and concert halls due to the huge numbers of guilts, and could trigger more sympathy for the Ustashis. Radical extreme-rightists have required that the law also bans partisan and Communist symbols as well as anti-fascist songs. However, nobody seems to wear Communist symbols in Croatia, whereas Ustashi symbols are more and more popular.
The government said that the law proposal was based on the preliminary article of the Croatian Constitution, which blames the Independent State of Croatia, and is a mirror of the German penal code against pro-Nazi demonstrations. It seems that the government was influenced by several independent groups and forums, who rejected the "re-ustashization" that took place under Franjo Tudjman's Presidency. Tudjman's personal position on the Ustashi question was ambiguous: he fought the Independent State of Croatia during his youth but sometimes defended its legitimity when elected President, claiming that the State was "not only a fanciful creation but the expression of the centuries-old wish of Croats to have their own state." According to Mirjana Kasapovic, Professor of Political Sciences in the University of Zagreb, the Communists attempted the "de-ustashization" of Croatia after the Second World War but failed, most probably because they replaced a dictatorial system by yet another dictatorial system.
Ivan Sache, 20 December 2004
As far as I am aware, the law was never even discussed. All
this has relatively little to do with flag, though the flags are,
of course, among the items used by these groups. There are
minomal steps forward, i.e. recently when a group of local
officials appeared in Ustasha uniforms on a (Ustashi-unrelated)
celebration in Zadar, they were being now prosecuted. The selling
of the Ustasha emblems in various souvenirs, including flags
being better or worse replicas or even entirely new design of the
Ustasha symbols has become more or less kind of a "national
folklore" in less developed parts of the country, especially
doing some manifestation. The new government lead by Sanader
(HDZ) actually reluctantly made some moves towards removing of
the offending monuments (cases in Slunj and Sv. Rok, devoted to
high Ustasha officials). However, there is a general feeling that
these moves are more directed towards "celaning" of the
Croatian name in the views of Europe then towards real gaols to
get things as they should be.
Željko Heimer, 20 December 2004