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Slovenia: Grand Chamber to examine inter-state case against Croatia concerning repayment of debts

A Grand Chamber of the European Court will examine Slovenia’s human rights complaint against Croatia concerning debt payments, it has been confirmed.

The chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, which was allocated the case of Slovenia v. Croatia (application no. 54155/16), relinquished jurisdiction in favour of the Grand Chamber of the court.

The application concerns the conduct of the judicial and executive authorities of Croatia in relation to the assets and the receivables of Ljubljanska banka d.d., a joint stock company incorporated under Slovenian law, and its branch Ljubljanska banka Main Branch Zagreb, in Zagreb (Croatia), in the context of the disintegration of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

According to the Slovenian Government, between 1991 and 1996 Ljubljanska banka and its Zagreb branch brought proceedings in the Croatian courts against a number of Croatian companies, seeking the repayment of debts contracted in the former SFRY, mainly in the 1980s.

As of 1994, over 80 such legal cases were pending before the Croatian courts; the present application before the European Court of Human Rights covers 26 cases. Some of them are still pending, some others have ended in judgments denying Ljubljanska banka an effective locus standi before the Croatian courts; lastly, in some other cases, judgments favourable to the bank could never be enforced.

In 2007 Ljubljanska banka brought similar complaints before the European Court in Ljubljanska banka d.d. v. Croatia (no. 29003/07).

The bank essentially complained about the non-enforcement of two writs of execution in its favour in proceedings it had brought against a Croatian sugar factory for recovery of debt. However, in 2015 the Court declared the case inadmissible because the bank was government-controlled and had no standing to lodge an application.

 

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