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Implementation of the Ališić case

On 16 July 2014, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) announced its judgment concerning the case of Ališić and others v. successor states of SFRY, i.e. the three savers who lodged an application in 2005 with the Court against all successor states of the SFRY because they had not been able to withdraw their foreign-currency savings deposited with the former Sarajevo branch of Ljubljanska banka (LB) and Tuzla branch of Belgrade’s Investbanka.

The Court’s final decision was that Slovenia and Serbia violated the applicants’ right to the protection of property and the right to an effective legal remedy.

The judgment imposed on Slovenia the requirement to adopt all measures necessary within one year and under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, including legislative amendments, so that applicants and all others in the same situation are paid old foreign-currency deposits under the same conditions as those who had such deposits in domestic branches of Slovenian banks.

The Court suspended all other procedures by foreign-currency savers against the Republic of Slovenia with the ECHR for one year (1,850 applications and 8,000 savers), which would be reopened if Slovenia failed to observe the judgment.

Path towards the judgment

After the dissolution of the SFRY in 1991 and 1992, foreign currency deposited by the applicants (and many other savers) remained frozen, as the successor states assumed the guarantees for foreign-currency deposits of the former SFRY in various ways. Slovenia applied the territorial principle, i.e. it assumed the guarantee for “old” foreign-currency savings in all banks and bank branches on its territory, regardless of the bank’s head office and the citizenship of savers. Such an approach seemed the most appropriate, since it was in accordance with the relevant practice of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on dividing assets and liabilities for the repayment of loans of the former common state.

Due to different legislative arrangements for assuming the guarantees of the SFRY, the successor states agreed in the Agreement on succession issues that “the guarantees of hard currency savings by the SFRY or its National Bank of Yugoslavia” are a succession issue. This decision was also confirmed by the ECHR in its judgment concerning the case of Kovačević and others v. Slovenia (nos. 44574/98, 45133/98 and 48316/99), which called upon successor states to proceed with succession negotiations in a fast-track procedure.

These negotiations failed to bring any tangible results for a long time and are now at a standstill. Consequently, the Court also determined in its judgment in the case of Ališić and others that a succession matter was concerned, and it was of the opinion that it was not the task of the Court to settle this issue. The Court’s final decision stated that Slovenia and Serbia violated the applicants’ rights to the protection of property and an effective legal remedy. 

Slovenia does not agree with the judgment, since it places a disproportionate financial burden on Slovenia if compared to other successor states of the former SFRY, but it nevertheless respects the decision of the Court and is duly eliminating the violations of savers’ human rights.

Adoption of the Act and the method for enforcing the judgment

On 22 June 2015, the National Assembly adopted the Act Regulating the Enforcement of the European Court of Human Rights Judgment in Case No. 60642/08 (ZNISESČP). Slovenia thus introduced legal basis for verification and payment of unpaid foreign-currency deposits to savers of Sarajevo and Zagreb branches of Ljubljanska banka in a timely manner, i.e. within the deadline set by the ECHR. 

Filing of claims for verification

By means of a public appeal, the holders of unpaid foreign-currency deposits with claims against Ljubljanska banka were asked to file their claims for the verification of unpaid old foreign-currency deposits at the Succession Fund.

Between 1 December 2015 and 31 December 2017, the Fund received over 38,500 claims for verification arising from the principal in the total amount of EUR 220 million.

Supervision of the execution of the judgment completed

On 15 March 2018, the Council of Europe Ministers' Deputies adopted a final resolution that formally closed the supervision of Slovenia's execution of the ECHR judgment in the Ališić case.

This decision is a great acknowledgement that Slovenia adopted many suitable measures in a short time, which enabled full execution of the judgment. 


The Fund’s decision on received claims for verification

By 31 October 2018, the Fund decided in more than 36,570 individual cases, whereby it issued indicative calculations to over 33,130 savers in the total value of EUR 295 million. Based on the indicative calculations already issued that became final decisions, over 32,370 payments were made up to 31 October 2018 in the total amount of EUR 289.7 million.

By 31 October 2018, the Fund had received only a total of 284 complaints against the indicative calculations issued which is 0.9% of all indicative calculations issued. Majority of these complaints were unfounded.