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Croatia: Law on the national symbols

Last modified: 2013-08-04 by ivan sache
Keywords: law |
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Law on the national symbols

Law Zakon o grbu, zastavi i himni Republike Hrvatske, te zastavi i lenti Predsjednika Republike Hrvatske (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; original text), was adopted on 21 December 1990 and published in the Croatian official gazette Narodne Novine, No. 55/90.
An English version of the text was available on a government website. The text given below is a correction of that English text made by comparison with the original text in Croatian.

I. General provisions
Article 1.
This Law regulates the description of the historicalal coat of arms, flag, text and score of the national anthem of the Republic of Croatia, and the description of the flag and sash of the President of the Republic of Croatia, as well as the means and protection of their display.

Article 2.
The Croatian coat of arms, flag, and national anthem represent the Republic of Croatia, and express affiliation to the Republic of Croatia.

Article 3.
The coat of arms, flag, and national anthem of the Republic of Croatia shall be displayed/performed in compliance with the provisions of this Law, and in such a way that they uphold the reputation and dignity of the Republic of Croatia.

Article 4.
The coat of arms, flag and national anthem of the Republic of Croatia shall be displayed in accordance with the shapes, descriptions, and texts determined by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, and regulated by this Law.
The coat of arms and flag of the Republic of Croatia cannot be altered.
Exception: Parts of the coat of arms or flag of the Republic of Croatia can be used as a constitutive part of another emblem or symbol, if the Statutes or any other Regulation of a legal entity allows it, providing that it does not offend the reputation and dignity of the Republic of Croatia.

Article 5.
It is forbidden to publicly display shabby, untidy, torn, or in any other way damaged coat of arms or flags of the Republic of Croatia.

Article 6.
The Croatian coat of arms, flag, and national anthem may appear in works of art, music, and education, providing that such a display does not offend the reputation and dignity of the Republic of Croatia.

II. Coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia
Article 7.
The coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia is a historicalal Croatian coat of arms in the shape of a shield. The checked pattern has twenty-five alternating red and white (argent) fields, so that the dexter chief (left upper corner) of the shield is red. Above the shield is a crown with five peaks, which touches the dexter and sinister chief (left and right upper ends) of the shield, bending in a slight arch.
The crown is divided into five small shields with the historicalal Croatian coats-of-arms, in the following order, from left to right: the oldest known Croatian coat of arms, then coats of arms of the Republic of Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria, and Slavonia.
The height of the smaller fields in the crown are 2.5 times the size of the fields in the main shield, while the width of both sets of fields are the same.
The oldest known Croatian coat of arms has a yellow (golden) six-pointed star and a white (argent) new moon on a blue shield. A golden rim borders the entire coat of arms.
The coat of arms of the Dubrovnik Republic has two red beams on a Navy blue shield.
The Dalmatian coat of arms has three yellow (golden) crowned leopard heads on a blue shield.
The Istrian coat of arms has a yellow (golden) goat with red hoofs and horns facing left, on a navy blue shield.
The Slavonian coat of arms has two horizontal white (argent) beams on a blue shield. Between the beams there is a red field with a marten in motion facing left. There is a yellow (golden) six-pointed star in the chief blue field.

Article 8.
The coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia shall be displayed:
- as a part of seals and stamps of the state administration and other official offices, in accordance with state regulations concerning seals and stamps with the coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia;
- as a part of official titles of social and political organizations, displayed on their buildings in the Republic of Croatia, in offices of the government of the Republic of Croatia in foreign countries;
- on the buildings of state administration and other public organizations, as well as in ceremonial rooms of these buildings;
- on official papers, and similar papers used by representatives and members of the Presidency of the Republic of Croatia, the Chairman of the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, and other official representatives of the Presidency, Government, and Parliament of the Republic of Croatia, as well as ministries and other state bodies, in accordance with provisions stated in their statutes;
- on diplomas and certificates of completed educational programs;
- on other occasions as regulated by Law.

Article 9.
The original coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia shall be kept in the House of Parliament in the Republic of Croatia, and replicas shall be made in accordance with it.

III. The Flag of the Republic of Croatia
Article 10.
The flag of the Republic of Croatia consists of three colors - red, white and blue - with the Croatian coat of arms in the center. The length is twice the width. Its colors, in the order red, white, and blue, are laid horizontally, each one third the width of the flag. The Croatian coat of arms is placed in the center of the flag so that the upper part of the coat of arms (the crown) overlaps the red field of the flag, and the bottom part of the coat of arms overlaps the flag's blue field. The center of the coat of arms is placed at the point where the diagonals of the flag meet.

Article 11.
The flag of the Republic of Croatia shall be displayed:
- permanently on all the buildings of the State bodies;
- on State holidays;
- during mourning, at half-mast;
-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.

Article 12.
The flag of the Republic of Croatia may be flown:
- during public meetings (political, scientific, cultural-artistic, sport and others) held in the Republic of Croatia, according to the rules and habits of usage on such meetings;
- on other occasions in accordance with the provisions of the Law.

Article 13.
When the flag of the Republic of Croatia is flown over the middle of a street or a square, it should be displayed vertically, with the red band:
- to the north, on an east and west street;
- to the east, on a north and south street;
- at the east point of a traffic circle .

When the flag of the Republic of Croatia is suspended vertically on the table, the speaker's platform, or some other honorary place in a public auditorium, the red band should be on the left from the audience's point of view.
When the flag of the Republic of Croatia is used to cover a bier, a pedestal or other objects, or when it is carried horizontally, the red band should be on the left (when facing the flag).

Article 14.
For ceremonies, the flag of the Republic of Croatia should be hoisted and lowered, displayed and removed, and all persons present should honour it in the usual way (stand, salute etc.).

IV. National Anthem of the Republic of Croatia

[...]

V. The Flag of the President of the Republic of Croatia

Article 23.
The flag of the President of the Republic of Croatia is square in shape and trimmed by alternating red and silver fields. In the center of the flag, on a blue background, appears the historical Croatian coat of arms, carrying 25 red and silver fields.
The shield is surrounded by a wreath of medallions comprised of historical coats of arms from regions of Croatia. The oldest Croatian shield is to the far left, followed by the coats of arms of the Dubrovnik Republic, Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia.
Parallel golden, red and silver sheaves descend vertically from the medallions. A banner in the colors of the Croatian national flag is centered by embroidered gold Roman capital letters "RH" for "The Republic of Croatia".

Article 24.
The flag of the President of the Republic of Croatia shall be displayed:
a) on the Presidential residence and offices, when the President is in the building;
b) on any vehicle used by the President;
c) during other ceremonies as regulated by Law.

VI. The Sash of the President of the Republic of Croatia
Article 25.
The sash of the President of the Republic is a sign of presidential honor, and consists of three colors placed in the same order as they appear on the flag of the Republic of Croatia: red, white then blue. The Croatian coat of arms appears at the center of the gold trimmed sash, on the silver field at the sash' s front. The coat of arms is also trimmed in gold, its rim adorned with embroidered gold oak branches to the left, and embroidered gold olive branches to the right.
The sash is diagonally worn over the right shoulder across the chest to the waist where it is buckled into the other side of the sash. Interlaced gold branches decorate the square buckle. At the center of the buckle appears the historical Croatian coat-of arms as it appears on the presidential flag, but without the inscription on the banner.

Article 26.
The President of the Republic of Croatia shall wear the sash during official ceremonies and receptions:
a) at National Day;
b) while delivering awards;
c) while presenting credentials to official representatives;
d) during other ceremonies.

VII. Penal Provisions
Article 27.
Any institution which:
- displays a coat of arms or flag of the Republic of Croatia contrary to Article 3 of this Law;
- displays a coat of arms or flag of the Republic of Croatia in a shape or with contents not provided by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and this Law (Article 4, Item 1) or contrary to the provisions of Article 4 Paragraph 2 of this Law;
- displays parts of the coat of arms or flag contrary to Article 4 Item 3 of this Law;
- displays worn-out, untidy, torn, or in any other way damaged coat of arms or flag of the Republic of Croatia (Article 5);
- displays a coat of arms or flag of the Republic of Croatia contrary to the provisions of Article 6 of this Law;
- does not display the coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia when its display is obligatory (Article 8);
- plays the Croatian national anthem contrary to the provisions of Article 19 of this Law;
shall be fined between 5,000 to 25,000 HRD.
For the offense described in Paragraph 1 of this Article the responsible person in the institution shall be fined with 1,000 to 5,000 HRD.
Any person who commits an offense stated in Paragraph 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 of this Article shall be fined 1,500 to 5,000 HRD.
The responsible person in a social-political organization or any other state office shall be fined 1,000 to 5,000 HRD for the offense as stated in Paragraph 1 of this Article.
If the offense stated in Paragraph 1 Item 7 of this Article is committed on a public rally, the person who is responsible for organizing the rally shall be fined 1,000 to 5,000 HRD.

Article 28.
A person who commits an offense from Article 27 of this law shall be fined 5,000 to 25,000 HRD if it is in private business, and 1,000 to 5,000 otherwise.

Article 29.
As a protective measure, the items offending Articles 28 and 29 of this Law will be confiscated from the guilty party.
An authorized official of the Ministry of the Interior can, prior to criminal procedures, confiscate items specify Paragraph 1 of this Article. The confiscated items shall be immediately given to officials in charge of criminal procedure.

Article 30.
Pictures or photographies of the coat of arms and flag of the Republic of Croatia, and flag and sash of the President of the Republic of Croatia are also under jurisdiction of this Law.

Article 31.
This Law will become effective on the date it is published in Narodne Novine.

Jan Oskar Engene & Željko Heimer, 8 January 1998


Illegal use of flags

A man was reported by the police for painting the facade of his house into the color of the Croatian flag with Ustaša emblems a and with variety of other Ustaša insignia on and around the house (Jutarnji List, 24 September 2008, text).
Incidentally, he was fined with 182 HRK (about 25 EUR) for having hoisted tha Australian flag on the house. On two flag poles, he hoisted an Australian flag and a "Croatian flag" of model equal to the 1941 model minus the U-emblem in canton, that is the "white-field first" flag.

As it is defined by the Croatian Penal Law of 1977 that is still valid in most parts, the hoisting of a foreign flag without proper authorization in finable with 50-500 DEM (as the fine amount was amended in 1994).
The hoisting of an improperly made national flag is also punishable, per the Law on the national symbols. It seems, however, that the police did not consider that Law when reporting. Yet another law forbids the display of Ustaša symbols, actually the symbols promoting racial and ethnical hatred. It seems from the report that the man in the incident was also reported for such offence, but I have not heard that any such an offence was ever punished.

Željko Heimer, 24 September 2008


 
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