news 17 Jul 14

Strasbourg Rules Against Ljubljana Bank and Slovenia

Ruling holds important implications for several hundred thousand former clients of the defunct bank in former Yugoslavia who lost millions in savings.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb

The European Court for Human Rights, ECHR, on Wednesday ruled in favour of two citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who sued the Ljubljana Bank and the state of Slovenia for not returning their foreign currency savings lost in the early 1990s.

The bank was liquidated in the early 1990s. In 1994, a new bank was formed with its assets, but not its liabilities, which left many former clients without their savings. Slovenian clients filed lawsuits that ended by 1998, but around 130,000 savers in Croatia and 165,000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina remain without refunds.

As the bank functioned throughout the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia insisted it was a “succession” issue that should be resolved by all the successor states.

However, the Court has now confirmed the first-degree judgement from 2012, which said Slovenia and the bank were liable for refunding the foreign savings of two citizens of Bosnia, and that Slovenia had violated the savers’ rights to protection of their property and to an effective remedy.

The court ordered Slovenia to repay the two within a year and pay each of them 4,000 euro for non-material damages.

The judgment has important implications for all former clients of the former bank, 130,000 of whom are in Croatia, and who still seek the 130 million euro they lost - plus interest.

Croatia’s representative before the ECHR, Stefica Staznik, said the judgment will apply for all former clients of the bank and that Slovenia will have to pass a law in order to repay their lost deposits.

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic hailed the judgment as just, noting, however, that it has “put Slovenia in a complicated situation, because of the interest rate during those years.

“Either way, it is Slovenia’s obligation to ensure people the right to enjoy their property. It is same as Slovenian homes on the Croatian coast, which number in the thousands and were never questioned nor taken away,” he added.

“I am sorry that it had to end in this way. Everyone lost in a way, and Slovenia the most,” concluded Milanovic.


 

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Headlines:

hungarian-boycott-of-romania-s-holiday-revives-old-disputes-12-02-2016
02 Dec 16

Hungarian Snub to Romania Holiday Revives Tension

A Hungarian ministerial decision that the country's diplomats should ignore Romania’s National Day celebrations on December 1 - because they mark Hungary's loss of Transylvania - has breathed new life into an old dispute.

02 Dec 16

Bosniaks in Disarray Over Role in Srebrenica

02 Dec 16

Kosovo Tax Officials Admit Ties to Politicians

02 Dec 16

Turmoil in Montenegrin TV Sparks 'Plot' Claims

02 Dec 16

Vucic Picks His Runner for Presidential Race

02 Dec 16

Macedonian Parties Fuel Dreams of Pay Hikes

02 Dec 16

Germany to Back EU-Albania Talks, After Reform

01 Dec 16

Electoral Tensions and Democratic Woes

Premium Selection

ratko-mladic-s-trial-edges-closer-to-final-judgment-12-02-2016
02 Dec 16

Ratko Mladic’s Trial Moves Closer to Final Judgment

After accusations of genocide, ethnic cleansing, brutal detentions and a punishing siege, lawyers in the four-year trial of Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic begin to present their closing arguments next week.

sarajevo-siege-novel-celebrates-decency-under-fire-12-01-2016-2
01 Dec 16

Sarajevo Siege Novel Celebrates Decency Under Fire

Wartime Sarajevo-based correspondent Kevin Sullivan’s new novel The Longest Winter tries to reflect the humanity and courage of people living in the Bosnian capital during the 1992-95 siege.

30 Nov 16

Kosovo Town Feels Pre-Election Tensions

30 Nov 16

Abortion Rights Under Fire in Croatia

29 Nov 16

War Tourism Flourishes in Bosnian Capital

Latest News from the Balkans

02 Dec 16

Bosniaks in Disarray Over Role in Srebrenica

02 Dec 16

Kosovo Tax Officials Admit Ties to Politicians

02 Dec 16

Turmoil in Montenegrin TV Sparks 'Plot' Claims

02 Dec 16

Macedonian Parties Fuel Dreams of Pay Hikes

02 Dec 16

Germany to Back EU-Albania Talks, After Reform