Turmoil surrounds Slovenia-Croatia Boundary Dispute at the ICJ
(29 July 2015)
Revelations suggesting that an International Court of Justice (ICJ) judge involved in negotiations between Slovenia and Croatia had broken impartiality rules of the court has caused fallout in both countries. Croatian media released evidence of phone conversations between Slovenian Judge Jernej Sokolec and Slovenian government representative Simona Drenik, contact that was against the rules of the ICJ panel and resulted in Judge Sokolec’s resignation.
The Prime Minister of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, announced this week that Croatia intends to pull out of the arbitration process after accusations against a Slovenian judge came to light. Milanovic said that, “The process has been contaminated...Croatia cannot stay in this arbitration. It has to quit.”
Slovenia followed this announcement by appointing the head of the ICJ, Ronny Abraham, as Slovenia’s representative in arbitration. Premier Miro Cerar hoped that the appointment of Abraham would allow the panel to continue the arbitration process.
Slovenia and Croatia have been negotiating access to 13 square kilometers of disputed territory that surrounds Piran Bay on the Adriatic Sea since 2011. Negotiations commenced in an attempt to allow Croatia’s bid for EU membership to go forward.
Slovenia Appoints ICJ Head as Arbitration Representative, 28 July 2015, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/slovenia-appoints-icj-head-arbitration-representative-32736392
Croatia to pull out of border dispute arbitration with Slovenia, 27 July 2015, Deutsche Welle, http://www.dw.com/en/croatia-to-pull-out-of-border-dispute-arbitration-with-slovenia/a-18610325