Attorneys Andrea Saccucci and Anton Giulio Lana (Italy) and the Peace Institute (Slovenia) received PILnet’s 2012 European Pro Bono Award for exemplary partnership in the public interest
Press release, Madrid, 26 October 2012
Madrid: Today the Peace Institute (Slovenia) along with the Italian attorneys Andrea Saccucci and Anton Giulio Lana received PILnet’s 2012 European Pro Bono Award for exemplary partnership in the public interest. The award was bestowed at the closing ceremony of the 6th European Pro Bono Forum hosted by PILnet – The Global Network for Public Interest Law, and was accepted by attorney Antion Giulio Lana and Neža Kogovšek Šalamon, the director of the Peace Institute.
The award honours the successful litigation before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the issue of “erased people” that Mr. Lana and Mr. Saccucci achieved in partnership with the Peace Institute. The “erased people” of Slovenia are a group of 25.671 individuals who have been unlawfully and arbitrarily deprived of their legal status of permanent residents of Slovenia. This state measure, which was carried in 1992, became known as “the erasure”. More information about the erased people and the litigation is available at www.mirovni-institut.si/izbrisani/en.
With the Strasbourg court decision issued in the case Kurić and others v. Slovenia, the first six erased persons were awarded compensation for the suffering they went through due to this arbitrary measure and due to the prolonged failure of the Slovenian state to remedy the violations. In addition to awarding compensation to the erased applicants, the court ordered Slovenia to adopt an ad-hoc compensation scheme in order to enable access to compensation for other erased persons as well. The judgment will therefore not only change the lives of the six applicants, but will have an impact for the entire group of concern.
As the judgment requires that Slovenia adopt legislative measures the collaboration between Mr. Lana, Mr. Saccucci and the Peace Institute continues, as there is a need for monitoring whether the judgment will be implemented appropriately. The award bestowed today in Madrid represents an important encouragement for continuation of this fruitful and inspiring partnership.
Background information on the case:
In 2005 a group of Slovenian and Italian activists (Uršula Lipovec Čebron, Sara Pistotnik and Roberto Pignoni) made a crucial step by initiating a preparation of the complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. They approached Mr. Lana and Mr. Saccucci, attorneys with many years of experience with litigating before the Strasbourg court, who agreed to represent the clients pro bono. After the complaint was lodged in 2006 there was a need for Slovenian lawyers to get involved and support the litigation. In 2007 the Peace Institute, a research and advocacy organization from Slovenia which has been actively working on the issue of erased people since 2001, got actively involved in the case. The work of the Peace Institute on the issue of erased was made possible by the support of the Open Society Foundations (Human Rights and Governance Grants Program).