The Slovenia Times

Arbitration tribunal analysing implications of Croatian withdrawal


Until it has reached a decision, it will not be deciding on the merits of the dispute, the tribunal said Friday.

"In the meantime, any consideration by the tribunal regarding the merits of the underlying territorial and maritime dispute remains suspended," the tribunal said in a press release.

The message comes a day after the arbiters hosted an oral hearing to hear additional explanations by both sides. Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec attended on Slovenia's behalf, while Croatia did not attend and instead presented its arguments in favour of terminating the arbitration to UN member states.

In today's press release the tribunal presents at length the positions both sides have adopted since last summer, when Croatian media published recordings of Slovenia's arbiter, Jernej Sekolec, conversing with Slovenia's agent at the tribunal, Simona Drenik, in violation of the rules.

Subsequently, Sekolec and Drenik stepped down and Croatia proclaimed the process dead, with its arbitrator also resigning. Slovenia has insisted that a unilateral withdrawal is not possible.

Slovenia yesterday explained that the Tribunal had the competence "to determine the legal ramifications of Croatia's unilateral declaration to terminate the Arbitration Agreement."

Accordingly, it insisted there was "no impediment preventing the tribunal from fulfilling its duty, and that the tribunal possessed the tools to remedy the effects of any wrongdoing that may have occurred."

In particular, Slovenia suggested that the resignation of those involved in the events, and the appointment of new arbitrators, constituted "adequate means of redressing the purported breach of the Arbitration Agreement," the tribunal said today.

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar responded to today's announcement by saying it was completely normal that the tribunal had taken some time to examine the arguments presented following the developments from last summer.

While Cerar argued that "this is no special delay in the procedure", the Croatian side said today it expected from the arbitration tribunal to terminate its work without further ado.


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