ZAGREB, February 23, 2018 – The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Serbian companies do not have the right to claim back their prewar property in Croatia, dismissing as unfounded a lawsuit filed by the Belgrade-based Mladost Turist company, which claimed back from Croatia its real estate in Tisno on the island of Murter.
The office of the Croatian representative at the ECHR said on Friday that the ruling, which was final and could not be appealed, was made on January 30.
In prewar Yugoslavia, Mladost Turist used land in Tisno where it operated a children’s holiday centre, which now houses a primary school. The claimant stated that the Croatian state had expropriated it after the outbreak of the Homeland War, but also that Croatia in 2004 ratified an agreement on succession to the former Yugoslav federation whereby it pledged to return the property to its owners, which it never did. The claimant therefore maintained that its right to the free use of its property had been violated, the office said.
The EHCR, however, accepted the legal explanation of Croatian courts that the succession agreement did not provide individual physical and legal entities with the legal basis to claim back their prewar property, but rather that property restitution would potentially be possible only after an additional bilateral agreement was signed between Croatia and Serbia that would specify provisions of Annex G of the succession agreement, the office said.