Slovenia lodged inter-state application against Croatia regarding Ljubljanska Banka claims towards Croatian companies
Ljubljana, 15 September 2016 – Today, the Republic of Slovenia lodged before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) an inter-state application against the Republic of Croatia related to the claims of Ljubljanska Banka towards Croatian companies. Slovenia contends that Croatia violated the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms affirming that for the last 25 years, the Croatian judicial and executive authorities have systematically incapacitated Ljubljanska Banka to recover its claims towards Croatian companies and thus unlawfully denied Ljubljanska Banka the right to its property. This allowed the debtors of Ljubljanska Banka in Croatia to avoid repaying their debt. Slovenia found itself in an unjust position, where on the one hand it needs to pay out the savers of Ljubljanska Banka (Ališić case), while on the other hand Croatia prevented the repayment of Ljubljanska Banka claims towards Croatian companies. The Croatian companies failed to repay their overdue liabilities, mainly from credit loans and guarantees approved after 1980, so between 1991 and 1996, Ljubljanska Banka and its branch office in Zagreb initiated the proceedings to recover their claims before the Croatian courts. In the ensuing protracted court proceedings, Ljubljanska Banka was subjected to arbitrary decisions by Croatian judicial and administrative authorities, forced prevention of its operation in Croatia, systematically protracted litigations and even prevention of enforcement of final and enforceable judgements, including as a result of interference by the executive authorities. Croatian courts, including the Croatian constitutional court, have denied Ljubljanska Banka the capacity to sue Croatian companies and legitimately recover its claims. This allowed the Croatian companies to avoid repaying their debt to the bank. Following the lengthy yet fruitless negotiations with Croatia on the Ljubljanska Banka issue and considering the fact that Croatia has not honoured the previously agreed obligations, Slovenia estimated that the only possible solution to this dispute is to seek legal remedy at the international level. After exhausting all legal remedies in Croatia, Slovenia lodged an inter-state application before the ECHR that consists of 26 litigations regarding the Ljubljanska Banka claims. After the judgement on the right to property of the foreign currency savers (Ališić case), which Slovenia respects and fully implements, the Republic of Slovenia expects the ECHR to find a just solution also in the case of Croatian violations to the Convention.