European Court of Human Rights – Ljubljanska banka #2

European Court of Human Rights – Ljubljanska banka #2

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3. The Croatian Government

58. The Croatian Government submitted that Serbia and Slovenia should be held liable in the present case. Their reasons were along the lines of those of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Government (see paragraph 56 above). As to the obligation to negotiate set out in Article 7 of Annex C to the Agreement on Succession Issues, this Government maintained that they had negotiated in good faith, whereas the Serbian and Slovenian Governments had shown no willingness to abandon earlier positions.

4. The Serbian Government

59. After a long analysis of international practice concerning a pactum de negotiando, the Serbian Government submitted that they had negotiated in good faith. As to the conduct of the other successor States, they criticised in particular Croatia for notifying the BIS of their willingness to continue negotiations concerning this issue only in 2010 (see paragraph 44 above). If the Court was to consider that Serbia interfered with the ?possessions? of Mr ?ahdanovi? for the purposes of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, the Serbian Government argued that the interference was justified as it simply froze his savings in the Tuzla branch of Investbanka pending succession negotiations (see paragraph 34 above). Lastly, they asserted that Bosnia and Herzegovina had benefitted the most from ?old? foreign-currency savings in the Tuzla branch of Investbanka; it should therefore be held liable in the present case. In support of their position, they submitted a contract pursuant to which a certain E.M. from Tuzla had obtained a dinar loan from the Tuzla branch of Investbanka in exchange for his foreign-currency deposit.


5. The Slovenian Government

60. The Slovenian Government submitted that the issue of ?old? foreign-currency savings in the Sarajevo branch of Ljubljanska Banka Ljubljana and the Tuzla branch of Investbanka was a succession issue. They further argued that Slovenia had at all times worked to find a solution to the distribution of the SFRY guarantees of ?old? foreign-currency savings and that their efforts had failed because of Bosnia and Herzegovina?s and Croatia?s frustration of the negotiations. Notably, the Slovenian Government criticised Croatia for having refused to resolve the issue by IMF arbitration in 1999; for having refused to discuss it in the meetings of the Standing Joint Committee; for having agreed to continue BIS negotiations, allegedly under the pressure of the EU, only in 2010 (see paragraph 44 above); for having reneged on that offer after the closure of the EU accession negotiations in 2011; and, lastly, for making it impossible for Ljubljanska Banka Ljubljana?s Zagreb branch to engage in regular banking activities and thus generate additional assets. The Slovenian Government criticised Bosnia and Herzegovina for having taken a series of unilateral measures, shortly after the conclusion of the BIS negotiations, designed to improve its negotiating position towards Slovenia: on 15 July 2002 the FBH Government adopted a decision requiring the Ministry of Justice to propose an amendment to the Companies Register Act 2000 to retroactively extend the statute of limitations for the deletion of the 1993 entry in the companies register regarding the domestic Ljubljanska Banka Sarajevo and requiring the management board of that bank, which had been appointed by the Ministry of Finance, to apply for the deletion of that entry (see paragraph 24 above). In conclusion, they argued that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia should be held liable in the present case.

61. As regards the transfers of foreign currency from Ljubljanska Banka Ljubljana?s Sarajevo branch to the National Bank of Slovenia, the Slovenian Government showed that a part of those funds had afterwards been shipped back to Sarajevo. They argued that the remaining funds had been forwarded to the NBY. However, while they showed that those funds had indeed been recorded as a claim of the Sarajevo branch against the NBY, they failed to show that they had been physically transferred to the NBY (see paragraph 11 above). In this regard, the Slovenian Government invited the Court not to accept any theory according to which physical cash would be more valuable than book entry cash (that is, paper transactions).


6. The Macedonian Government

62. The Macedonian Government submitted that they did not violate the applicants? property rights as they had negotiated this issue in good faith.

B. The Court?s assessment

1. Applicable rule of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1

63. As the Court has stated on numerous occasions, Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 comprises three rules: the first rule, set out in the first sentence of the first paragraph, is of a general nature and enunciates the principle of the peaceful enjoyment of property; the second rule, contained in the second sentence of the first paragraph, covers deprivation of property and subjects it to conditions; the third rule, stated in the second paragraph, recognises that the Contracting States are entitled, amongst other things, to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest. The second and third rules are concerned with particular instances of interference with the right to peaceful enjoyment of property and should be construed in the light of the general principle enunciated in the first rule (see, among other authorities, Iatridis v. Greece [GC], no. 31107/96,