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Citizenship, Residence Rights and the Constitution in Slovenia

Neža Kogovšek Šalamon

This book is about the «erasure», a process by which the Republic of Slovenia unlawfully deprived 25 671 of its residents of their legal status following the country’s secession from the former Yugoslavia in 1992. After losing their status, these individuals were left without any rights on the territory of Slovenia. Since the Slovenian state refused to remedy the problem for many years, the European Court of Human Rights took up the case. In the 2012 Kuric and Others v. Slovenia decision, the Grand Chamber found that Slovenia had violated human rights. This book describes the full background of this case and examines its constitutional implications.
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Part III: The Elements of Totalitarianism as a Precondition for Collective Violations of Human Rights


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Part III:  The Elements of Totalitarianism as a Precondition for Collective Violations of Human Rights

The man from the country had not expected difficulties like this, the law was supposed to be accessible for anyone at any time, he thinks […] The doorkeeper gives him a stool and lets him sit down to one side of the gate. He sits there for days and years.

Franz Kafka, The Trial

How could so many people be erased, and human rights be violated on such a massive scale? Given the extent and implications of the erasure, the number of people affected, and their prolonged suffering, there is no doubt that what happened should be designated as a mass violation of human rights. This designation also applies to the response of those who took part in the erasure and of society as a whole. Certain elements were present that characterised other serious and mass violations of human rights, such as the crimes committed in Yugoslavia’s successor states in the 1990s, or in authoritarian systems such as Nazi Germany, which deprived Jewish persons of their citizenship. Although the implications and consequences of the latter were incomparably more horrendous, the circumstances that enabled these crimes and contributed to them were similar to those surrounding the erasure.

A few crucial questions can serve to pinpoint the similarities between these atrocities: What made the erasure possible? Why did the government decide to deprive a group of...

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