Oral Hearing in Slovenia’s Case Against Croatia Begins at ECHR

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 12, 2019 – An oral hearing began at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Wednesday on the admissibility of an application which Slovenia lodged against Croatia in September 2016 over receivables of defunct Ljubljanska Banka’s Zagreb branch dating back to the 1980s.

During the hearing, the Grand Chamber must decide whether the Court can rule in this case given that applications against states are rare and it generally admits cases related to human rights violations of individuals or groups of people.

If the Court finds the application admissible, it will decide on the merit of the case and its decision will be final.

Presenting Slovenia’s case, the government’s high representative on succession issues, Ana Polak Petrić, said that over the past 30 years Ljubljanska Banka’s Zagreb branch, despite the numerous proceedings brought in Croatian courts, had been unable to collect receivables dating back to the 1980s.

The receivables mainly refer to corporate loans. Slovenia claims it was defrauded of 429.5 million euro.

The application claims that Croatian authorities systematically intervened in the court proceedings brought by Ljubljanska Banka to prevent the repayment of debts owed by companies such as IPK Osijek and INA.

Slovenia claims that in doing so Croatia violated a number of European Convention on Human Rights provisions which guarantee the right to the use of property, the right to a fair trial and the use of a legal remedy, and the right to equal treatment in court.

Slovenia decided to sue Croatia after the ECHR, in 2015, declared Ljubljanska Banka’s case against Croatia inadmissible because the bank was government-controlled.

Croatian Economy Minister Darko Horvat said on Wednesday that whatever the European Court of Human Rights decided on Slovenia’s application against Croatia over Ljubljnanska Banka’s Yugoslav-era receivables, the decision would not destabilise Croatia’s economy.

Speaking to reporters, he recalled the ECHR’s earlier decision on the inadmissibility of the defunct Slovenian bank’s application against Croatia in the same case.

Horvat said Croatia would honour any decision the court in Strasbourg made and estimated that, if the ECHR ruled that the application was admissible, it would take years before a decision was handed down.

More news about relations between Croatia and Slovenia can be found in the Politics section.


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