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NEWS

The inter-State case brought by Slovenia against Croatia to be examined by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg

Ljubljana, 19 December 2018 – Today, Slovenia was informed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that the inter-State case brought by Slovenia against Croatia in relation to the claims of Ljubljanska banka (LB) against legal entities based in Croatia would be examined by the Grand Chamber of the ECHR. The Grand Chamber will decide both on the admissibility and substantial grounds of the case.

 

On 15 September 2016, Slovenia lodged an application against Croatia with the ECHR concerning the claims of LB against Croatian companies. Under Article 33 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Convention), Slovenia informed the ECHR of Croatia's violations of the Convention, arguing that, with their systematic actions, the Croatian judicial and executive authorities had unlawfully denied LB the right to its property. For 25 years, LB has thus been unable to recover its claims against Croatian companies, which has allowed debtors of LB in Croatia to avoid repaying their debts.

 

In the inter-State case, Slovenia alleges multiple violations of the Convention on the part of Croatia, including, inter alia, the rights to peaceful enjoyment of possessions, to a fair trial, to effective remedy and to equal treatment.

 

In the application and subsequent complaints, Slovenia defines 48 cases, i.e. legal proceedings in Croatia, during which Croatia illegally prevented LB in various ways from recovering its claims against Croatian companies. Only a negligible part of the claims (approximately EUR 320) was successfully recovered by LB during these proceedings. The average time that the Croatian courts needed to reach final decisions in these cases considerably exceeded the legal standards of trial within a reasonable time.

 

The damage incurred in the above-mentioned 48 cases due to the violations of LB's rights stipulated in the Convention has been estimated at EUR 429.5 million.

 

Following protracted, yet fruitless negotiations and discussions with Croatia on the LB issue, as well as the fact that Croatia had not honoured previously agreed obligations, the only possible solution to this dispute appeared to be to seek a legal remedy at the international level. After exhausting all legal remedies in Croatia, Slovenia decided to lodge an inter-State application. After the judgement on the right to property of foreign currency savers (Ališić case), Slovenia expects the ECHR to find a just solution also in the case of the violation of LB’s rights concerning its claims against Croatian companies.