FRY v Republics of Croatia and Others

CourtCourt of Cassation (France)
Date12 octobre 1999
France, Court of Cassation (First Civil Chamber).

(Lemontey, President; Bargue, Judge Rapporteur; Petit, Advocate General)

Federal Republic and National Bank of Yugoslavia
Republics of Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

State succession Identity and continuity of States Whether international law lays down any procedure for determining the existence of successor States Whether Federal Republic of Yugoslavia constituting a continuation of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Claim not accepted by international community and opposed by other former Republics of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

State immunity Immunity from jurisdiction and execution Foreign States Funds belonging to State which has disappeared Funds subject to dispute between States claiming succession Whether such funds capable of being covered by immunity The law of France

Summary: The facts:The Republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina applied to the French courts for an order blocking funds deposited in a French bank in the name of the Yugoslav National Bank. The applicants claimed to be acting as successor States of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and asked for the funds in question to be blocked until an agreement could be reached between the successor States, or a binding international award could be made, dividing the funds at issue. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav National Bank asserted immunity from jurisdiction and execution against the application, claiming to be continuations respectively of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its emanation, the National Bank of Yugoslavia. Their plea was rejected by the Court of Appeal of Paris which, in a judgment of 27 February 1997, granted the application for the blocking of the funds at issue. The Federal Republic and the National Bank appealed to the Court of Cassation.

Held:The appeal was dismissed.

(1) International law did not provide any specific procedure for determining whether or not a State had disappeared and whether there was any State which was a continuation of it. The courts were entitled to base themselves on the position adopted by the international community in order to find that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had disappeared and given birth to States which were not its successors. It was not necessary to examine the continuing nature of the diplomatic relations of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Whilst it was undisputed that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a sovereign State, this had no bearing on the question of whether or not it was the sole...

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