The Slovenia Times

2001 Yugoslavia succession treaty far from implemented


The document regulates rights and obligations of successor states stemming from the break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).

It was signed in Austria's Vienna in June 2001 by Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Yugoslavia (now Serbia) under the auspices of the international community.

The treaty, which took effect in July 2004, confirmed the collapse of the SFRY resulted in five new sovereign states that are equal successors to the former Yugoslavia.

The high representatives, who have until now met only three times, are tasked with monitoring its effective implementation.

They may also make recommendations to the governments of the successor states.

Below is a short review of what has already been implemented, broken down by chapters and focussing on Slovenia.

Annex A (movable and immovable property)

A territorial principle applies to the division of the SFRY's movable and immovable property.

This means that the successor state on whose territory a piece of movable or immovable property was when the state declared independence, is entitled to claim it.

An exception to the rule is pieces of cultural heritage of great importance to one of the successor states and which originate from that state.

In April 2015, Slovenia sent a list of 313 pieces of Slovenian movable cultural heritage (works of art, films...) to Serbia, but has not yet received an answer.

A relevant committee has not yet met on this issue.

Annex B (diplomatic and consular properties)

Slovenia is entitled to 14% of the SFRY's diplomatic and consular properties listed in the treaty.

Slovenia has already been handed over the embassy in Washington, US; consulate generals in Austria's Klagenfurt and Italy's Milan; and the residence in Rome, Italy.

It is entitled to another six properties under a 2012 agreement, but successor states have not yet agreed a handover timeline.

These properties are a villa in Brasila, a consulate general in Sao Paulo (both in Brazil), the embassy in Marocco's Rabat, the embassy and the residence in Tanzania's Dar es Salaam and the residence in Mali.

To fully implement Annex B, a special group of experts is studying works of art at the SFRY's diplomatic and consular missions to assign them to a successor state on the basis of the author.

Movable assets at a particular diplomatic and consular missions go to the successor state which gets that diplomatic or consular property, with the exception of works of art of great importance to the cultural heritage of another successor state.

The Slovenian Foreign Ministry has already obtained some 200 pieces of art by Slovenian artists, some have already been exhibited at the National Gallery in Ljubljana.

Annex C (financial assets and liabilities)

This part of the treaty deals with issues of finances and the SFRY's obligations stemming from them.

It covers cash, monetary gold, deposit accounts, securities, foreign currency assets, external debt, guarantees, etc.

Slovenia is entitled to 16% of all available finances assets.

The division of monetary gold and deposits of the Yugoslav central bank in commercial banks abroad has been largely settled.

What remains open is the division of guarantees for foreign currency deposits, the division of foreign currency assets the Yugoslav central bank deposited at six banked with mixed capital abroad, and the SFRY's debt to international organisations, including the UN.

Annex D (archives)

The division and copying of as well as access to the SFRY's state archives is regulated here. The treaty sets down free and unhindered access to the archives.

While access to the SFRY's archives in Belgrade (Yugoslav archives, diplomatic archives) is improving, there are problems in accessing materials of the former intelligence services, the military archives and the archives of the central bank.

Slovenian archives experts make several-week visits to SFRY's archives each year.

In April, Slovenia sent a list of treaties related to Slovenia's territory or institutions to Serbia, requesting the original treaties when these refer only to Slovenia's territory and asking for a certified copy of the other relevant treaties.

Talks to digitalize the SFRY's archives were launched last year upon Slovenia's initiative, with the first pilot project to be finalized in 2016.

Annex E (pensions)

All successor states have reached agreements on social security and settled the issue of pensions, whereby fulfilling all provisions from Annex C.

Annex F (other rights, interests and liabilities)

This annex regulates issues such as patents, trade marks, copyrights and royalties, and does not present a major issue.

However, in 2010, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) urged successor states to give consent to the division of royalties belonging to the SFRY on the WIPO accounts.

WIPO suggested the successor states should opt for a settlement, but the states have not yet reached agreement.

Annex G (private property and acquired rights)

Under this part of the treaty, the successor states are obliged to protect the private property of citizens and legal entities.

The annex is applicable directly, meaning no special agreements are need to secure individuals and legal entities the protection of their property or rights which they had before the breakup of the SFRY.

However, some Slovenian companies have problems establishing legal title to their property in Serbia.


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