Court rules in favour of Slovenia over Croatia in maritime dispute
(7 July 2017)
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has ruled that Slovenia should have access to international waters by means of a ‘Junction Area’ through a portion of Croatia’s territorial sea.
The dispute between the two nations goes back to the 1990s and the break-up of the former Yugoslavia and the ICJ’s decision contained three parts. In addition to determining land boundaries and determining he boundary in the Bay of Piron (which awarded the vast majority of the bay to Slovenia), the decision established a ‘Junction Area’. This area is a 2.5 nautical mile strip at the outermost edge of Croatia’s territorial sea, and under the terms of the decision, Croatia is required to permit Slovenian vessels the Junction Area the equivalent transit rights that they would have on the High Seas, effectively giving Slovenia direct access to international waters.
Croatia, however, has failed to recognise the judgement saying that it had withdrawn from the arbitration back in 2015 after it alleged Slovenia had ‘violated’ the terms of the process when a Slovenian official had contacted a member of the arbitration committee.
The Slovenian government and European Commission have called on Croatia to implement the tribunal’s verdict, however Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has stated that the commission has no jurisdiction on border matters and insisted that territorial issues should be resolved between two states.