Property Restitution

  1. Current Issues
  2. Property Restitution

The issue of expropriated property in Croatia is quite complicated due to the changes in Croatia’s status over the past seventy years. In 1948 and 1964, the United States signed two claims agreements with the Government of Yugoslavia, which settled the claims of persons, who were American citizens at the time their property was taken in the period from 1939 to 1964. However, the cases of persons who became American citizens after their property was taken are more difficult.

In 1996, Croatia enacted a Property Restitution Law to enable persons whose property had been expropriated by the Yugoslav government to file claims for restitution. However, relief under this law was available only to those claimants who were Croatian citizens at the time of the law’s passage. As a result the law did not apply to persons who had property expropriated but left Croatia and became citizens of the United States or other countries. The Croatian government intended to deal with these claims by concluding bilateral agreements with the countries of claimants. However, in 2006, the Croatian government decided instead to amend the 1996 law to allow foreigners the ability to pursue restitution under the 1996 law on an equal basis with Croatian citizen claimants. Unfortunately, the amendments to the 1996 were never submitted to the Croatian Parliament.

Following the Croatian elections of December 2007, the Croatian government has again stated its intention to amend the 1996 law to permit equal treatment of claims from foreign citizens. The American Embassy continues to follow this issue closely and takes every appropriate opportunity raise it with the Croatian government. At this point, we cannot predict when the law might be changed, but we monitor the situation closely for any new developments.