Croatian Fishermen Advised Against Travelling to Slovenia

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A former Slovenian Justice Minister is a lawyer who will try to help Croatian fishers with Slovenian fines for alleged illegal crossings of the disputed border.

Lawyer Miha Kozinc from Ljubljana will represent Croatian fishermen who have received misdemeanour fines from Slovenia due to the alleged illegal crossings of the disputed border in the Bay of Piran. Kozinc is a former politician, was Justice Minister in 1993 and 1994 in the government led by Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek, with whom he was close, and at that time a member of the LDS (Liberal Democracy of Slovenia) party, whose president was also Zdenka Cerar, mother of the current Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar, reports Večernji List on February 3, 2018.

How did you become the lawyer for Croatian fishers?

I was engaged by the fishermen and not by the Croatian state. Croatian Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković called Robert Travaš, the president of the Croatian Bar Association, and asked him to find a Slovenian lawyer to take over the case of the fishermen. Since I was president of the Slovenian Bar Association for nine years, Travaš called me. I said I would do it if the fishermen give me power of attorney. On Thursday, I went to Umag, and three fishermen signed the documents.

What are you going to do next?

According to the Slovenian law, for misdemeanour charges received by the fishermen it is necessary to file a complaint within eight days, similar to the Croatian system. We call this a “judicial protection claim.” I will submit the complaint and wait.

Should the fishermen you represent be afraid of travelling to Slovenia? The Slovenian Interior Ministry said they could experience unpleasant consequences when crossing the border.

The times are such that I do not dare to say either “yes” or “no.” I cannot advise them to go because incidents could happen.

Did that say this to your clients?

I don’t know if we even talked about it. I don’t think we did.

On what grounds will you challenge the misdemeanour fines which the Croatian fishermen have received?

I will explain that in the appeal and the court.

What do you think about the arbitration process which Croatia has left?

For me, the arbitration process has been completed, the arbitration decision is valid, and it is part of the domestic legal order of Slovenia. It would be entirely against my professional dignity if I were to say something or dispute the validity of the arbitration agreement.

As a professional, how do you comment on what happened – the inappropriate conversations between a Slovenian judge and an agent, attempts to influence the arbitrators, illegal submission of evidence?

I will not and cannot comment at all. The arbitral tribunal has decided for itself that it is competent and for me, as a citizen of Slovenia is to accept and respect this decision.

Your other clients are the City of Ljubljana, politicians… Colleagues say you belong to heavyweights among lawyers.

That is not true. I am just a simple little lawyer from Ljubljana. I maybe belong to the heavyweights only by my body weight.

Translated from Večernji List.


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