Today the Republic of Slovenia paid compensation of 20.000 EUR for non-pecuniary damages to each of the six erased people who were applicants in the case Kurić and others v. Slovenia, decided by the European Court of Human Rights on 26 June 2012.
Compensations for the six applicants are first ever paid by the Slovenian state to the erased people due to the unlawful deprivation of legal status and the suffering that followed. This is a landmark development not only for all victims of the erasure but also for all the people in Slovenia, especially those who lost their trust into the rule of law. The compensations for erased people prove that it is possible to achieve justice, even if this requires a long-term fight in which all available legal remedies have to be used, including a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.
Despite all odds the authorities showed respect for the European Court of Human Rights judgments. However, payment of the compensation is only the first and easier step towards the execution of the judgment. The second step, which requires setting up a compensation scheme, will be much more difficult since the law has to be prepared and passed in the National Assembly. At the same time this is an opportunity for the Government and the National Assembly to show a high level of legal culture and political maturity that the citizens expect from the state.
The European Court of Human Rights has not yet fully completed its procedures as it has yet to decide on pecuniary damages. It called upon the government to consider concluding an agreement with the applicants on this issue in the meantime. The Italian attorney of the six applicants Andrea Saccucci underlined that such an agreement is definitely in the best interest of the state as it would enable the state to maintain control on the amounts of pecuniary damages following possible further claims lodged by other erased people. If the state leaves the issue for the European Court to decide, it avails itself to a substantial risk of high compensations as the criteria on the basis of which the Court would determine pecuniary damagesfor the six applicants could become relevant also for all other erased people.