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NEWS

ECHR positively assesses Slovenia's measures: Council of Europe officially ends the supervision of the execution of the judgement in the case of Ališić and Others v. Slovenia

Ljubljana, 15 March 2018 – Today, the Council of Europe Ministers' Deputies in Strasbourg adopted a final resolution that formally closes the supervision of Slovenia's execution of the ECHR judgement in the Ališić case. This decision is an acknowledgement that Slovenia adopted in due time the necessary measures, which enabled the full execution of the judgement. Slovenia thus once more demonstrated that it is committed to respecting the principles of international law and fulfilling its obligations arising from judgements passed by international courts.
 
The guarantees for foreign-currency deposits are subject to the Agreement on Succession Issues, but as the successor states to the former SFRY failed to reach an agreement on the division of this burden and designed different repayment schemes, some savers were unable to recover their savings, and therefore lodged an application with the ECHR against all the successor states.
 
In 2014, in the Ališić case, the ECHR ruled that repayment of the unrecovered foreign-currency deposits with the Ljubljanska Banka branches in Zagreb and Sarajevo was Slovenia's responsibility. In 2015, despite a considerable financial impact on its budget, Slovenia passed a special law in order to execute the judgement, i.e. the Act Regulating the Enforcement of the European Court of Human Rights Judgment in the Ališić Case, which stipulates the conditions and the procedure for enforcing the rights of affected savers.
 
In September 2015, the Council of Europe Ministers' Deputies responsible for supervising the execution of ECHR judgements determined that the Act was consistent with the judgement in the Ališić case. In 2017, the ECHR adopted two decisions (in the cases of Vehbija Hodžić and Stojan Zeljković v. Slovenia) stating that the above-mentioned act fully complied with the criteria laid down in the Ališić case and guaranteed an effective legal remedy against the claims of the Succession Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, which is responsible for verifying claims for the repayment of "old" foreign-currency deposits.
 
On many occasions, the Council of Europe Secretariat assessed Slovenia's execution of the judgement in the Ališić case as positive and considered Slovenia to be setting an example in the execution of ECHR judgements. On the basis of this assessment, the Council of Europe drafted a proposal for a final resolution to officially close its supervision of the execution of the judgement.
 
In his address today, Mr Gorazd Renčelj, State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, who headed the Slovenian delegation, underlined Slovenia's consistent execution of the judgement. By the end of February 2018, the Succession Fund of the Republic of Slovenia had made over 25,400 transfers of funds, totalling EUR 244 million, to eligible savers with the LB branches in Zagreb and Sarajevo. Although the deadline for lodging verification claims expired at the end of 2017, the Fund will process all claims filed by the deadline, and will continue the verification and implementation of the repayment scheme. By adopting the Act and repaying savers, Slovenia thus effectively implemented the necessary measures and fulfilled the obligations imposed by the ECHR, thus meeting the criteria for closing the supervision.
 
During the discussion requested by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, almost all Council of Europe member states (with the exception of the two initiators and one other state) voiced their support for Slovenia's approach to the execution of the judgement. Realising that the repayment scheme imposed a considerable financial burden on Slovenia's budget, the states commended Slovenia's efforts and adopted measures which enabled full execution of the judgement, thus acknowledging Slovenia's commitment to the rule of law. Furthermore, the member states deemed that Slovenia had presented convincing arguments and facts, and therefore decided not to support the proposal of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina for continued supervision.
 
Slovenia will thus continue its efforts to have the disproportionate financial burden imposed on it by the ECHR judgement in the Ališić case appropriately distributed among the successor states to the former SFRY, given that the ECHR judgement stated that the distribution of the former SFRY guarantees for foreign-currency deposits among the successor states remained an outstanding issue.
 
The exemplary execution of the ECHR judgement in the Ališić case had a direct impact on the reduction of Slovenia's outstanding cases before the Court as of the end of 2017. In 2017, the number of these cases thus dropped from 1750 in 2014 to 127, and the number of non-executed ECHR judgements dropped from 309 in 2015 to 49.