The respect for international law guarantees a stable international environment and is therefore the obligation, value, and interest of Slovenia's foreign policy. Slovenia is committed to furthering the fundamental principle of the rule of law, which is also one of the guiding Slovenia's foreign policy principles at both the national and international levels.
Public international law
International law is a system of generally recognised binding legal rules and principles laying down the rights and obligations of entities governed by international law in their mutual relations. These legal rules and principles draw on customary law, treaties, general international principles, and international case law.
Public international law regulates international relations between entities governed by international law in many areas. Slovenia devotes particular attention to its codification and development, also through participation in the UN International Law Commission (ILC). Dr Ernest Petrič has been a member of the Commission since 2006.
Slovenia advocates strict compliance with international law and a strengthened international legal system as the best guarantees of international peace and security. It is committed to respecting and consolidating the rule of law at the national and international levels, including peaceful settlement of disputes and abiding by the decisions of international courts and tribunals. Slovenia will continue to improve the knowledge and experience gained through dispute settlement under international law, including international arbitration tribunals and other judicial bodies.
Slovenia supports efforts to bring the perpetrators of the gravest crimes to justice, the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its universality. It also seeks to ensure strict compliance with international humanitarian law.
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is the coordinator for international law within state administration, also in procedures for the adoption of international instruments and the arrangement of treaty relations.
International humanitarian law
In 1999, the Government established the Inter-ministerial Commission for International Humanitarian Law, which was tasked with preparing, coordinating, and managing activities relating to the international obligations implementation. Such obligations arise from treaty law (e.g. the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 and other international instruments associated with international humanitarian law) or the rules of customary international law. When the Commission ceased to operate, its tasks were carried on by the Permanent Coordination Group for International Humanitarian Law, which has met at least twice per year since its inception in March 2014.
The Coordination Group's main duties include intensified cooperation with the international humanitarian law committees of other countries and awareness-raising of its importance in Slovenia.
International criminal law
A number of activities are underway to ensure effective prosecution of the gravest crimes and develop an international criminal justice system.
Slovenia persistently strives to highlight the importance of an independent and effective International Criminal Court established on the basis of the Rome statute, which entered into force on 1 July 2002. It actively participates in the adoption of procedural and substantive regulations for the Court’s smooth operation and contributes to the Court’s visibility and importance, among other ways, through its engagement in the Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute for the 2017–2020 period. Since its establishment, Slovenia and its representatives have carried out several other functions within the Assembly. In 2019, it coordinated the Eastern European Group of States Parties to the Rome Statute.
Some 123 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute and Slovenia is a staunch supporter of its universal application and of removing obstacles to court jurisdiction for the gravest of crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression. The Slovenian delegation played a prominent role in the first Review Conference of the Rome Statute in June 2010 in Kampala, Uganda, which amended the definitions of war crimes and the crime of aggression. Slovenia also helped bring the countries’ different views closer together and, by putting forward concrete proposals, effected changes that have had a major impact on the practical operation of the International Criminal Court.
In fighting impunity for the most serious crimes, Slovenia is one of the leading supporters of the adoption of the Convention on International Cooperation in the Investigation and Prosecution of the Crime of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes, aware that the prosecution of perpetrators of the most serious international crimes is primarily the responsibility of states and that the International Criminal Court can only prosecute when the states are incapable or unwilling to do so.
Statements by Slovenia at the Sessions of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute
Law of the sea
Slovenia succeeded to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and participates in the work of the Conference of the Parties. The Conference advances the implementation of the Convention, often referred to as the constitution for the oceans, and the progress in managing the world's seas and oceans.
The States Parties freely and directly (also informally) express their views about the Convention and the difficulties concerning its implementation within the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process (UNICPLOS). The conclusions of the consultative process are used by the UN Secretary-General in drafting the final text of the UN General Assembly resolutions on oceans and the law of the sea. Slovenia participates in the EU Working Party on the Law of the Sea (COMAR), UNICPLOS meetings, and negotiations on the draft text of the relevant UN General Assembly resolution.
UNCLOS also provided the basis for the setting up of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which has jurisdiction in disputes between States Parties, and for the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which governs seabed and subsoil exploitation in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
In 2018 and 2019, the work of the Working Party on the Law of the Sea focused on aligning the positions of the EU and its Member States for a concerted approach at the sessions of the Intergovernmental Conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), which take place in New York.
Universal Declaration of Human RightsOn the occasion of its 70th anniversary, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs published an official translation of this fundamental document that had previously been available in the Slovene language thanks to the efforts of the United Nations Association of Slovenia. After the atrocities of World War II, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights articulated the expectations of, and efforts for, ensuring dignity for all, personal freedom, and freedom from fear and want. It is the most far-reaching UN document of its kind, which also laid the foundations for the entire international human rights framework. Human rights have traditionally been a priority of Slovenian foreign policy, with a special emphasis on the protection of vulnerable groups, the fight against all forms of discrimination, and human rights education.
Charter of the United Nations and the Statute of the International Court of JusticeThe booklet includes both documents in the revised official Slovene translation and the English original. As Slovenia was part of the former Yugoslavia at the time of UN Charter adoption, the official text was, for a long time, available only in the Serbo-Croat language. The published Slovene text was drafted in 2013 by international law experts from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in collaboration with the Ljubljana Faculty of Law and experienced translators and editors, and adapted to contemporary terminology and usage.
- Ustanovna listina OZN / Charter of the United Nations (pdf, 3.5 MB)
Right to trial within a reasonable time and short-term reform of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)During the Slovenian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which took place between 21 and 22 September 2009, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry of Justice organised the Roundtable on Ways of Protection of the Right to Trial Within a Reasonable Time (Countries' Experiences) and on Short-Term Reform of the ECHR. In collaboration with the Council of Europe Secretariat, the organisers published a collection of articles under the same title in English that was published as part of the eminent collection of the Council of Europe, Applying and Supervising the ECHR.