Bosnia pays out first wartime debt to depositor, by court order

BANJA LUKA – The Serb Republic will pay some -168,000 ($231,500) to the first person in Bosnia to have won a compensation case at a European court for foreign savings lost in war, an official said on Thursday. Thousands of Bosnians have been fighting for years to get compensation for hard-currency savings deposited in banks based in Slovenia and Serbia before the breakup of the former Yugoslav federation and frozen since the end of the 1992-95 war. The European Court for Human Rights ordered Bosnia last October to pay out the first of a dozen depositors who have filed complaints against the Balkan country. Executive powers in Bosnia lie with its two autonomous regions, the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation. The Serb Republic waited until now to obey the court’s order. «We shall pay -163,500 for the material damage, an additional -4,000 for consequential damage, and the interest rates,» Serb Republic Deputy Prime Minister Anton Kasipovic told a news conference. Kasipovic said the government would very soon pay Ruza Jelicic, who has worked with her husband in Germany for 35 years. The central government has estimated the debt for frozen foreign savings at 1.7 billion Bosnian marka ($1.2 billion). It said it would try to settle the debt through the issuance of long-term securities that will be distributed to depositors next year, as well as through small-scale payments.

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