Environmental Justice campaigners hand petition against criminal persecution of Croatian forest defender to Embassy

Photo: Peter Dean

London, 9th May 2024 Today at 12 noon, environmental justice campaigners from Biofuelwatch and other groups are handing over a petition signed by around 1,400 individuals, [1] accompanied, by an open letter by international NGOs [2] to the Croatian embassy in London, demanding an end to a criminal persecution of a high-profile forest defender.

Vesna Grgić, head of the environmental NGO Green Squad and president of the veterans’ association VIDRA, has been charged with three counts of “criminal offences against the honour and reputation” of the state-owned forest management company, headed by a Croatian government minister. In February this year, a UN Special Rapporteur on environmental defenders wrote to the Croatian authorities, warning that “based on the information provided, the criminal lawsuits brought against Ms. Grgić exhibit the characteristics of strategic lawsuits against publicparticipation (SLAPPs) aimed at silencing Ms. Grgić to prevent her from continuing her activities to protect Croatian forests.” [3] Green Squad is unaware of any response by their country’s government.

Peter Dean from Biofuelwatch states: “Today, at the Croatian Embassy, we expressed our and many other organisations’ and individuals’ solidarity with environmental defender Vesna Grgić who is being persecuted for documenting the destruction of highly biodiverse forests in Croatia, including in nature reserve, as well as financial irregularities on the part of the state forest company, which controls the large majority of the country’s forests. Those lawsuits must be dropped asap.”


[1] actionnetwork.org/petitions/croatian-state-company-must-drop-slapp-suit-against-forest-defender/

[2] docs.google.com/document/d/1pkztFGoTp5s__yHjBfdsPSaeMSUfp2RPr7OHPn58RlI/edit

[3] unece.org/sites/default/files/2024-04/ACSRC_2023_15_Croatia_to_HE_MFA_from_SR_Env_Defenders_complaint_14.02.2024.pdf