Council of Europe firmly supports Slovenia's execution of ECHR judgement in the Ališić case
At its Human Rights (DH) meeting on 23 September, the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers' Deputies, which supervises the execution of ECHR judgements, addressed execution in the Ališić case for the fourth time (previously in December 2014 and March and June 2015), but this time focused on the measures devised by Slovenia in the last year. The discussion was held at Slovenia's request. The Slovenian Act on the method of executing the ECHR judgement in the Ališić case and measures envisaged by it were presented by Justice Minister Goran Klemenčič and the State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Irena Sodin, with the High Representative of the Republic of Slovenia for Succession Issues, Ana Polak Petrič, also attending. The Minister emphasised that the execution of final judgements by international courts is a fundamental of the rule of law. Upon publication of the judgement, Slovenia immediately confirmed its commitment to its implementation and to effectively remedying the human rights violation. By passing legislation in good time, it fulfilled the obligation imposed by the judgement to undertake all necessary arrangements within a year, including legislative measures, to recover unpaid old foreign currency savings of Croatian and Bosnian savers of the former Ljubljanska Banka. While outstanding issues between successor states to the former SFRY remain and their resolution will continue to be sought at the interstate level, the remedy to the human rights violation was given priority by Slovenia, explained the Minister, pointing to the importance of the friendly settlement concluded with the two applicants in September under the conditions provided by the Act. Ms Ališić and Mr Sadžak's agreement to the settlement indicates that the solution envisaged by the Act is just and fair. The settlement sends a strong signal to other savers that the Act is correct and that they will receive fair repayment of their foreign currency deposits. Since this was the final DH meeting of the Committee of Ministers' Deputies before savers are able to file their repayment claims, the Minister called on the Council of Europe member states to confirm that Slovenia's systemic solution is appropriate and thus enable the rapid verification of requests and repayments. The positions presented by representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia disputed key elements of the Slovenian systemic solution. The two countries did not agree to setting the interest rate within the Act and to the range of beneficiaries established by it, and claimed that the Slovenian law is not in accordance with the judgement. Their positions were not supported by any of the countries present. Following a thorough and convincing explanation by State Secretary Sodin and Minister Klemenčič, the member states offered unanimous and strong support for Slovenia's measures. Twenty-five member states took the floor, which is above average for DH meetings. It was underlined during the discussion that Slovenia's implementation of the judgement confirms the country as a pillar of human rights protection and respect for ECHR judgements in Europe. In its conclusions, the Committee of Ministers' Deputies welcomed the friendly settlement with Ms Ališić and Mr Sadžak. In this way, Slovenia executed all the individual measures imposed by the judgement. Member states welcomed the adoption of the Act and the additional clarifications presented by the Slovenian Government. The Committee called on Slovenia to continue in the same vein and ensure the timely implementation of the proposed repayment scheme, and decided to review it at its session next March. The Committee's conclusions send a clear message to Slovenia that the Act on the method of executing the ECHR judgement in the Ališić case and the measures foreseen in it are consistent with the judgement, thus giving the green light to implement the Act. Pursuant to the Act, a public call for the submission of requests for verification will be published by 2 November at the latest, while requests may be filed from 1 December 2015 to 31 December 2017. A decision will have to be reached within three months of the receipt of a complete request for verification and the amount determined will be paid to the beneficiary on the 30th day after the decision becomes final.