Border Arbitration Proceedings between Croatia and Slovenia to Continue

By 30 June 2016

The arbitration court in The Hague makes a procedural decision in favour of Slovenia.

The arbitral court in The Hague decided that Slovenia did violate the Arbitration Agreement with Croatia, but also noted that the procedure at the Tribunal would continue and that the decision on border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia would be made, reports Index.hr on June 30, 2016.

“The arbitration court has issued a decision that proceedings between Slovenia and Croatia would go on. Slovenia has violated the rules of the arbitration agreement, but this violation was not serious enough to justify the Croatian request for the termination of the proceedings. The court has already informed Slovenian and Croatian governments about its decision”, writes Slovenian daily Delo.

The Slovenian-Croatian border dispute has remained unsolved after 25 years and the issue represents a major political burden in relations between the two countries. Last year, Croatia decided to leave the arbitration proceedings, which it considered to be irretrievably compromised after last year information appeared about illegal contacts between Jerner Sekolec, an arbitrator appointed by the Slovenian government, and Simona Drenik, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ljubljana.

Croatian Parliament made a unanimous decision to leave the arbitration proceedings, referring to the provisions of the Vienna convention on international agreements.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) based in The Hague decided in March this year to freeze the arbitration proceedings until legal consequences of the Croatian decision to leave the process had been assessed. Slovenia officially stated that arbitration was not interrupted, that there was no violation of the procedure which would lead to the interruption of arbitration, and that arbitrators must continue with their work until the final judgment.

According to today's decision, the judges of the arbitration court concluded that the arbitration proceedings were not violated to such an extent that the process could not continue, and added that the independence of other judges was not in question.