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Implementation of the case Ališić and oth.

 

A complex case, but Slovenia determine to execute the judgement within the deadline

On 16 July 2014, the Grand Camber of the European Court of Human Rights announced its judgement concerning the case of Ališić and others v. successor states of SFRY, the three savers that had lodged an application with the Court because they had not been able to withdraw their “old” foreign-currency savings deposited with the former Sarajevo branch of Ljubljanska Banka and the Tuzla branch of Investbanka.

 

After the disintegration of the SFRY in 1991/92, foreign currency deposited by the applicants (and many other savers) beforehand remained frozen, as the successor states assumed the guarantees for hard currency savings of the former SFRY in various ways. Slovenia applied the territorial principle, i.e.  it assumed the guarantee for “old” foreign-currency savings in all banks and bank branches on its territory, regardless of the location of the bank branches’ respective head offices and the citizenship of the depositors. Such approach seemed the most appropriate, as it was in accordance with the relevant practice of the IMF and WB on dividing assets and liabilities for the repayment of the loans of the former common country.

 

Due to different legislative arrangements for assuming the guarantees of SFRY, the successor states agreed in the Agreement on the Succession Issues that “the guarantees of hard currency savings by the SFRY or its National Bank of Yugoslavia” are a succession issue. This decision was also confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights in its decision concerning the case of Kovačević and others v. Slovenia (nos. 44574/98, 45133/98 and 48316/99) and called upon successor states to proceed with succession negotiations as a matter of urgency. These negotiations failed to bring any tangible results (despite Slovenia’s calls for continuation) and are at a standstill.

 

Consequently, the Court agreed that the case of Ališić and others is a succession matter and stated the opinion that it is not the task of the Court to settle this issue. The Court’s final decision was that Slovenia and Serbia violated the applicants’ right to the protection of property and the right to an effective remedy.

  

While Slovenia does not agree with the judgment, since it places a disproportionate financial burden on Slovenia relative to other successor states of the former SFRY, it respects the decision of the court and is duly and properly eliminating the violations of savers’ human rights.

 

Slovenia draws attention to the complexity of the case, since it relates to the difficult conditions of the collapse of the former common state and its specific banking system, which had no parallels in other countries. Slovenia also highlights the fact that the additional financial burden that Slovenia will bear through implementation of the judgment does not accord with the principle of fair division between the successor states of the SFRY, which the Court defined as a crucial principle of international law in the area of dividing up the debts of the former common state. 

   

 





SFRY succession

Five countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – today Serbia) signed the Agreement on succession issues by which it was conclusively confirmed that five sovereign equal successor states were formed upon the dissolution of the former SFRY.