Croatia wants out of border arbitration with Slovenia

AP News
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Posted: Jul 27, 2015 9:03 AM

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said Monday his government wants to withdraw from border arbitration with Slovenia following revelations that one of the judges had violated rules for the international panel.

Milanovic said the arbitration process, which was set up in 2011 to help unblock Croatia's EU membership bid, has been compromised by the affair.

Judge Jernej Sokolec, a Slovenian, resigned from the five-judge panel after Croatian media last week published leaked phone conversations showing him conferring with a Slovenian government representative, contrary to tribunal rules.

Slovenia has moved to name another judge to save the process. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar said Monday that Croatia cannot unilaterally withdraw from the body that also includes three international judges and one from Croatia.

Milanovic, however, insisted that "this is unbearable, we must get out."

"Croatia is getting out of the arbitration, we must end such an agreement," he said. Croatia's parliament will meet later this week to vote on the issue.

The sea and land border dispute has remained unresolved after the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1990s. The Netherlands-based arbitration panel has said it could rule on the matter in December. There has been no immediate reaction from the tribunal to the Croatian withdrawal announcement.