Under the auspices of the international community, 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.
The main objective of the Agreement was to settle mutual rights and obligations between successor states, and it serves as the only applicable international legal act ratified by all successor states of the SFRY. The Agreement also finally confirmed that five sovereign successor states were formed after the dissolution of the former SFRY.
Slovenia ratified the Agreement in 2002, and it entered into force on 2 June 2004 when the last successor state ratified it.
The Standing Joint Committee of Senior Representatives oversees efficient implementation of the Agreement on succession issues. The High Representative of the Republic of Slovenia for Succession Issues plays the main role when harmonising, forming and presenting Slovenia’s positions in this field.
The Succession Fund of the Republic of Slovenia also operates in Slovenia, and the Minister of Finance heads the Coordination Committee for Succession Issues determining the strategy of Slovenia’s activities.
The High Representative of the Republic of Slovenia for Succession Issues informs the Government of the Republic of Slovenia about achievements relating to the SFRY succession.
The Agreement lays down mutual rights and obligations of successor states of the former SFRY with regard to the following fields:
Movable and immovable property
When dividing property, the territorial principle (transferring the property right to the state on the territory of which property was located at the time independence was declared) is enforced. The exemption is property of great importance for cultural heritage of one of the states and that originates from that state’s territory and thus their property right transfers to this state. Slovenia has made a list of items of Slovenian movable cultural heritage (313 exhibits – works of art, films, exhibits in post, railway and war museums, remnants of Edvard Rusjan’s aircraft, etc.) which are in the territory of the Republic of Serbia. The list was submitted to Serbia in April 2015.
Diplomatic and consular properties
According to the Agreement, Slovenia is entitled to 14% of properties recorded in Annex B to the Agreement as diplomatic and consular properties (DCP) of the former SFRY. In the process of division, Slovenia was allocated somewhat more than two thirds of buildings appertaining to it as per the DCP quotas in the Agreement. Slovenia has taken over all ten properties which have been allocated to it so far: in Washington, Klagenfurt, Milan, Rome, Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Rabat, Bamako, Georgetown and two in Dar es Salaam. Some of these properties are already used by Slovenia as diplomatic premises. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also collected more than 220 works of art by Slovenian artists, which decorated the DCP buildings of the former SFRY.
Financial assets and liabilities
Slovenia is entitled to 16% of the available financial assets abroad. The division of monetary gold and deposits of the National Bank of Yugoslavia (NBY) in commercial banks abroad has been largely settled. What remains open is the issue of guarantees for so-called old foreign-currency deposits, the division of foreign-currency assets of NBY deposited abroad at six banks with mixed capital and clearing debt involving ten countries, and also SFRY's debt to international organisations, including the UN.
The Agreement anticipated negotiations between successor states on the assumption of guarantees of the SFRY and the National Bank of Yugoslavia for old foreign-currency deposits which were not paid to savers in the 1990s within national schemes of individual countries. In addition to states’ obligations as per the Agreement, the European Court of Human Rights stated its opinion on the relevant issue in several judgments and determined the violation of human rights. The elimination of violations is underway, and the obligation to negotiate remains a challenge for successor states of the former SFRY.
The Agreement regulates in detail the issue of dividing, copying and accessing the archives of the former SFRY. It envisages free and unimpeded access by the representatives of successor states with a material interest in the state archives of the SFRY. Access to SFRY archives in Belgrade (the Archive of Yugoslavia and the Diplomatic Archive of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is improving, but it is still difficult to access material of the former intelligence services and the National Bank of Yugoslavia archive. Every year, Slovenian archivists conduct several weeks of documenting materials in the SFRY archives.
In 2016 and 2017 , Slovenia received from Serbia more than 100 international agreements, whose depositary was the former SFRY and which relate exclusively to the territory of the Republic of Slovenia. This represented the first restitution of SFRY state archives to any successor state–. Together with the treaties, Slovenia took possession of the border documentation referring to the border with Italy (land border), Hungary (Zone A) and Austria, also containing land surveying and topographic data as well as maps.It is of special importance for Slovenia to obtain the originals of the Osimo Agreements, regarding which no agreement has yet been reached with Croatia, as required by the Agreement. At the initiative of Slovenia, talks began in 2014 over the digitalisation of the joint SFRY archives. A pilot project, involving the digitalisation of one of the smaller sets of common material, was concluded in 2016.
All successor states have reached bilateral agreements on social security and settled the issue of pensions.
Other rights, legal interests and financial liabilities
There are no major open issues in this field. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) calls on the successor states to consent to the division of royalties belonging to the former SFRY found on its account. The offset of liabilities of the SFRY is proposed. An agreement on the distribution of assets has not been achieved yet between the successor states.
Private property and acquired rights
The Annex refers to the private property of citizens and legal entities, and binds the successor states to protect such property in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement, despite the fact that private legal relations are concerned and not inter-governmental claims or obligations. The Annex is a constituent part of the Agreement and its implementation in accordance with the stated principle of direct application of international treaties does not require the adoption of any legislative and implementing legal acts. In connection with the implementation of the Annex in Serbia, there is no standardised practice owing to the conflicting positions of the executive and judicial branches of power regarding the issue of reciprocity. While the Serbian Government recognises reciprocity and generally facilitates the return of requested property to Slovenian companies, the courts have found that there is no reciprocity and reject the requests of Slovenian companies. Slovenia persistently calls on Serbia to eliminate the absence of uniform practices and implement the provisions of the Agreement.
Start 2. 6. 2004
Institution High Representative for Succession Issues