To see the text,
please, click above
on the link "Text of the message".
Zagreb, June, 2003
What is happening in Croatia could bluntly be called a
"legislative robbery". If our just demands are ignored today, our children will be treated even worse tomorrow. Depriving old people, who will sooner die than be able to defend their rights, is not much
better than killing and robbing them. The good and honest people should
hurry to help us while we are still alive.
WHO WILL HELP US TO REALIZE OUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND
KEEP OUR PROPERTY?
The "tenantship right" ("dwelling right") in Croatia was not a temporary tenancy or lease, it was a
valuable permanent property ("divided ownership").
The US Congress demanded in 1998 that Croatia should restitute the
previously seized property (H. Res. 562, citing
Resolution 1096 of PACE). Now the Congressmen should again demand that Resolution
1096 be respected and the property of another group be not seized! The US leaders (rather than others)
are the ones who can easily stop the injustice, simply by taking an honest stand and speaking out! Para 10 of the
Resolution 1096 must be applied in its entirety, not only half-way!
It may seem that it is certainly just and honest to return all
the property that was seized 50 or 60 years ago by the communist states, but it is not so
simple! Even a greater injustice can result in some cases! So, a
compensation may sometimes be necessary, instead of a restitution.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recommended in
1996 (by its Resolution 1096, para 10, cited with the H. Res. 562 of the US Congress - see: Congressional
Record - House, October 13, 1998, p. H10727 ) that the property, seized
during the communist rule, should be restituted without violating the rights of tenants or current
owners. This advice has been abused in Croatia, so that a grave injustice resulted. In 1996 some
of us were deprived of our "tenantship right" ("dwelling right"), which was as strong, valuable and permanent as
an ownership on an apartment! Besides, it seems to be forgotten, that not only the original owners lost their property
in former Yugoslavia (SFRJ), but also many of us, who had worked for small salaries almost all our lives,
have likewise been the victims of communism! [I have worked during SFRJ as a
physician - a general practitioner in Zagreb - for more than thirty years, for a salary of about 700 DEM (German marks)
per month, on average. In Germany I would have been paid five (or more) times as much. But I stayed here because
I had my apartment i.e. my "tenantship right"].
conformity with the Resolution 1096 the nationalized apartments have not been restituted to original owners, but
were cheaply sold to "tenants". Moreover, even some of the private owners were compelled
(in the new Republic of Croatia, by the Law on Renting Apartments, in 1996) to cheaply sell their own (not-nationalized!)
apartments to tenants. This has been approved by the Constitutional Court too, for the sake of social
justice. However, thousands of "tenantship-right holders" (briefly: "tenant-owners") in Croatia, who live, together with their families, in the so-called "occupied nominally-private apartments"
(seized from original owners in SFRJ), are being deprived
of their property, denied the same right to cheaply buy their apartments, gravely damaged and discriminated
against, although their positon had always been quite equal to the position of "tenant-owners" in formally-nationalized
apartments! I am one of them. There are about 7000 such families, who want everybody to know
about our problems, but our access to the media has been unjustly restricted in order to deceive
the public by false propaganda.
deprived tenantship-right holders are compelled to sign contracts by which they should become temporarily-protected "lessees".
I have NOT signed such a contract, because I resist being deprived of my permanent, forever-inheritable tenantship right,
which is my forever-acquired property and ownership!).
This text is based on opinions of many tenantship-right holders, lawyers, and others. (Unfortunately, the
problem cannot be explained quite briefly).
In former Yugoslavia (SFRJ), after
the 2nd world war, all the rented private apartments have been seized from original owners (but the apartments in which they lived were left to them). The means of seizure were mainly nationalization and confiscation. Besides, there was also a specific
legal manner of seizing the owner's property and rights upon an apartment
(which is the cause of all our troubles!), namely this: In some cases, although no seizure of ownership was recorded in land-registers, almost all the ownership rights have forever been taken away from an owner by means of legally granting
the so-called tenantship right (dwelling right,"stanarsko pravo") to
a tenant who had lived in a private-owner's apartment before 1945, and who also
remained there after 1945. (Such tenants had no choice, they had to accept what
they were given by the laws, because they could not obtain any other apartment. Equal tenantship
rights in "private" and "public" apartments have forever been given to tenants by the Law
on Housing Relations). Today,
most of those original private owners are dead, but their inheritors should get
a just compensation.
I have continuously lived in such an apartment in Vlaska 84,
Zagreb, Croatia, ever since 1938, i.e. for 65 years, and now I am in danger
of losing my right upon this apartment, which is almost all the property that
I possess. [Moreover, unlike many other tenantship-right
holders, I have been forever granted the tenantship right by the original private owner (now deceased) of her own free will, by a correct, legally based contract, which fact
is well-known, and it has never been disputed by anybody. (She
had built and owned the whole house. She had no children of her own, and she knew me
very well since my childhood). If I had known what would happen later, I
would have worked abroad and would have certainly earned much more money in order
to buy another apartment
Falsehoods concerning the tenantship right in general, and especially in my case, have been produced in recent years by some
person(s) at the European Court of Human Rights (among others), either mistakenly or deliberately].
The tenantship right was not
a temporary tenancy or lease! (We have not signed lease contracts). On the contrary, the tenantship right comprised
(by the Law on Housing relations) the main ownership rights to possess
and use an apartment forever
(namely, it could forever be inherited by the "tenant-owner's" family-household
members, from one generation to the next one, forever). In this way, the original
private owner has forever lost the most important and most valuable owner's rights on such an apartment, and so he lost his
property i.e. more than 90 percent
of the economic value of such an apartment (which has been transferred upon the
holder of the tenantship right, to be forever inherited by his household members). Such
nominal private owners, who sold such "occupied private apartments" during SFRJ, mainly to speculators, could only obtain about 10 percent of the market price of an empty (unoccupied)
apartment. The tenantship rights existed on "public-property" ("social-property")
apartments too, and these apartments have cheaply been sold by the State to "tenant-owners" in 1991 (also for less than 10 percent
of the value).
Why were the former-owners'
names left in the land-registers, although their property had been seized?!
That was done on purpose;
that was (and is) a dishonest scheme of the then communist lawmakers (as well
as some of them today), who in that way made such apartments worthless, in order to buy them cheaply from the original owners, with the intention to change the laws later and sell the apartments expensively, i.e. to deceitfully and unlawfully deprive us of our tenantship
rights, and to grab our property,
as well as the original-owners' property. (In other words: the seized property was given forever to tenantship-right
holders, but later, in the new Republic of Croatia, the tenantship right was falsely equated
with a "lease"). Many such profiteers have always belonged
to the ruling parties and bureaucracy (both in SFRJ and later). They make unjust laws in order to suit personal
What is the essence
of the problem?
In spite of the fact that the ownership rights and the property
(i.e. economic value of apartments) have forever been seized from private owners by
the law in SFRJ, the lawmakers in Croatia have pretended that
nothing had been seized from those owners, because they have (almost continuously) been registered as "owners" in the land
registers. (In fact, that had been derogated in SFRJ by the Law
on housing Relations, so that land registers, in this case, have been no proof of ownership
Note: These apartments have obviously been seized, because, by the law,
the nominal owners could never get them back; they, or anybody else, could never
use them or move into them without the tenantship-right-holder's permission. If the apartments had been seized
illegally, the owners would not lose their rights. Nevertheless, it follows from Resolution 1096 that
the tenantship right should never be violated, no matter whether the property had been seized legally or
( See also "Lalic's Black Magic" - click here:
What is "ownership" and what is "property"?
("vlasnistvo") is a permanent right (lasting and inheritable forever) to possess, use, exploit and dispose of a corporeal thing. (E.g., a copyright is not considered to
be an ownership, because it ceases after a certain number of years, and it is not corporeal).
i.e. "possessions" in the sense of the European Convention on Human Rights) comprises any rights with an economic value, belonging
to a person.
Obviously, the tenantship right is property. It has also been considered as a "divided ownership" ("dominium divisum"),
although some people argued that it was not an ownership, because an owner is a person who has all the ownership rights.
It is true that, in principle, the ownership is indivisible, and today, in Croatia, the law prescribes only one
type of ownership, comprising all the ownership rights. However, if a holder
of the tenantship right were not considered an owner, then the nominal owner is even less an owner (because he has had almost no ownership rights, since he lost them forever by force of law, regardless of the land registers). If such an incomplete
"nominal ownership" is considered
to be no ownership at all (because there can
be no other type of ownership than the one which is indivisible
and comprising all the owner's rights), it follows that - due to the permanent tenantship right - such nominal owners
have definitively been deprived of both the ownership and the property.
By the laws (in SFRJ as well as in today's Croatia) the ownership on landed property is acquired (and, consequently, proved too) by means of registration in the land registers. Neither the Constitution of SFRJ nor the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia mentions land
registers, which have only been prescribed by other laws, and all the laws have
equal legal power. Generally, a person who is registered as an owner in a land
register, has all the ownership rights, unless an exception is made by
another law. That exception has been made in SFRJ by the Law on Housing Relations. But some of the today's nominal owners, the Cabinet (some ministers), and some others,
are deceiving the public by saying (wrongly, absurdly) that no property or ownership
has ever been seized from the nominal owners of the "private occupied apartments", because
of the above-mentioned registration in land registers. However, the truth is just the opposite: By the Law on Housing
Relations, a nominal owner could never get "his" apartment against the "tenant's"
will, unless he gave another, practically equal apartment, together with a tenantship right on it (worth about 90 percent
of the apartment price), in exchange for "his" apartment. So, he had to buy "his" apartment, which
also makes it obvious that his property had been de facto seized by the
The Croatian Constitution (1990) has no retroactive effects.
It does not order or require the restitution of previously seized property or ownership. Therefore, the formally-nationalized apartments have not
been returned to original owners, which
is in conformity with the Resolution 1096 of the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe (1996). But,
in our case, the Resolution 1096 has not been respected! Instead, on
the above-mentioned and similar pretexts, and in order that the resellers and other nominal owners of the "occupied private
apartments" should profit, our tenantship right has unjustly been abolished by the Law on Renting Apartments in 1996 (even
without a compensation for its value, which
amounts to more than 90 percent of the market value of an empty apartment). The Constitutional Court, which is not better or more impartial than
the rest of the government, ruled wrongly (against us), while the European Court of Human Rights must obviously have been deceived and
misled into believing that the tenantship right was nothing more than a common renting or leaseholding!
Honest and intelligent people here agree, that the Courts' decisions
are obviously and undoubtedly wrong. That
is why it seems necessary to inform directly the public - the people of the USA and Europe. (If
all that seems unbelievable to you, I agree that it really is. We also could not believe it, untill we saw it happen!).
Besides, contrarily to the Courts' illogical decisions, the discrimination is obvious
and undeniable, because not only the publicly-owned and nationalized apartments, but also a part of
PRIVATELY-OWNED apartments (by the Law on Renting Apartments, Article 48, 1996)
have been CHEAPLY SOLD TO TENANTS (for less than 10 percent of the value) against
the owners' will*(!); while we are denied the same right to cheaply buy the
nominally-private apartments that we occupy, and, moreover, we are deprived of our permanent property and ownership
(i.e. our tenantship right)!
( * Remark: Some private
owners of apartments, in former Yugoslavia, were
given tenantship rights on larger "public" apartments. Therefore they had to let
out their own apartments,
but they always remained the owners. In 1996 the new Law on Renting Apartments compelled them to cheaply sell their own apartments to tenants, on
the pretext that they were compensated by cheaply buying those "public" apartments. However, that compensation is questionable,
because other people also cheaply bought "public" apartments without having to cheaply sell anything!).
to Resolution 1096, our tenantship right should never be taken away from us, and the original owners should be granted a just compensation!
1999 and 2003 it was repeatedly proposed in the Sabor (=parliament) by HDZ, SDP, and many other representatives,
that we should get the right to cheaply buy our apartments like others had got too,
while the nominal owners should get a just compensation from the State. However, up to now, HDZ, SDP
or others have not made actual drafts needed for changing the bad laws!
The Cabinet has recently made a contrary proposal, by
which we might be evicted and forcibly moved to other (much worse, smaller and cheaper) apartments, where we would be
"protected lessees" (but not forever; and that "protection" has no permanent economic
value, it is far less and weaker than our tenantship right, which was our permanent property -
now being seized from us!), or we
should pay almost a full price in order to buy those or other apartments.
[Note: The Croatian Constitution guarantees the right
of "ownership" (without mentioning the word "property"), and so they pretend that they are free to seize our property
(although it is, in fact, a legal de facto ownership) as they please, even without a compensation! At the same time, they pretend to "forget" that they
are violating our human and constitutional right to property!] The
proposal is expected to be presented to the Sabor (=parliament), and it is as yet unknown what will be the result. For many years, the government
has inexcusably, irresponsibly, inhumanely and inhumanly been delaying the just restoration of our tenanship right
- obviously waiting for us to die! (I am seventy (70) years old on September 13, 2003).
(The Serb refugees
who return to Croatia are in a similar, though not identical situation).
I don't know if I have succeeded to make the above account
clear and understandable. I certainly could not have said everything that is important.
I beg you to put questions to me and to require additional information and explanations. Also, we would like to learn anybody's honest opinions and suggestions.
Thank you very much!
Soric, dr. med.
See the links at the bottom of this page!
http://soric-b.tripod.com/id2.html - Resolution 1096, para 10
http://soric-b.tripod.com/hho/id9.html - CHC's support
See also these pages: