Croatia Denies Meddling with Slovenia Media on Alleged Eavesdropping Case

ZAGREB, April 9 – The Croatian government and the president on Tuesday rejected allegations that they have tried to influence Slovenian media and prevent them from reporting on Croatia’s intelligence activities in Slovenia, reports  the news website;  xinhuanet.com

The Croatian Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) also denied any wrongdoing, saying the allegations are “incorrect and tendentious constructions”.

Slovenian media reported last week that the SOA had wire-tapped a Slovenian judge and an agent during the border arbitration process between the two countries in 2015.

Due to the latest allegations, Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec called for an emergency session of the Slovenian National Security Council on Tuesday. Slovenian ambassador to Croatia was called back to Ljubljana for consultations while Croatian ambassador in Slovenia was summoned to the Slovenian Foreign Ministry.

“The President has not, nor would ever ask to interfere in Slovenian media, neither directly, nor through a mediator. The fact is that Slovenia has violated the arbitration agreement and thus the international law, and that’s why the arbitration failed. It is a judicial scandal, not an intelligence issue, and we reject this attempt to replace the thesis,” the Croatian president office said in a statement.

Ever since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Croatia and Slovenia, two former Yugoslav republics who are now EU and NATO member states, have a border dispute in the Gulf of Piran in the northern Adriatic.

They decided to settle the case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

The Hague-based PCA ruled in June of 2017 that much of an area of contested waters between Slovenia and Croatia should be awarded to Ljubljana, giving Slovenia direct access to international waters.

However, the ruling was rejected by Croatia, which withdrew from the arbitration process in July 2015 by invoking Article 60 of the Vienna Convention, which allows termination of an agreement in case of a grave breach.

Croatia had withdrawn the arbitration, after media revealed alleged secret call records between a judge at the PCA and the Slovenian representative in the court about lobbying other judges to influence the outcome of the arbitration in Slovenia’s favor.

Slovenia insists that the arbitrary decision on the border must be respected and implemented while Croatia says that the issue should be resolved bilaterally.