Call for Boycott

Villa Ruza at recent times

Dubrovnik/Kolocep
Villa Ruza:
Confiscated Property

contact: villaruza@hotmail.com

Villa Ruza in the 1930's

Villa Ruza in the 1930's

View to the water

 

taking a swim

NOTICE TO POTENTIAL VISITORS to Hoteli Kolocep:

HOTEL KOLOCEP (Known also as Hoteli Kolocep or Villas Kolocep) claims ownership of a beautiful Property known as Villa Ruza. Villa Ruza was once a private residence confiscated from its owners in 1944 by the yugoslav communist regime.

Villa Ruza is subject to a legal claim by former and rightful owners. The denial of their property rights is a violation of Human Rights, protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

The rightful owners ask for the support of tourists considering staying at Hotel Kolocep.

We recommend the Hotel be totally boycotted so long as its owners benefit from the use of confiscated property, and so long as the rights of former owners are deliberately ignored.

Summary
This web-site concerns a property, Villa Ruza, on the Island of Kolocep near Dubrovnik, that was illegally confiscated from its owners in 1944 by the Yugoslav Communist Regime. Hotel Kolocep has in our view unlawfully registered this property in its name. We are presently (2007) asking for this registration to be reversed in the Croatian courts.
The Hotel is attempting further registration of additional parts of the property, knowing full well that a pending and unresolved property claim exists. The rightful owners ask tourists considering staying at Hotel Kolocep  to reconsider their stay and boycott the  hotel so long as it  continues to use properties in defiance of the rights of the true owners. The former owners consider this matter a violation of basic human rights and intend to plead this case to the European Court of Human Rights. Please do not support a hotel that ignores basic human rights and entices tourists through the fruits of this violation.

The Villa Ruza residence on the island of Kolocep near Dubrovnik, currently used by the Hotel Kolocep as a restaurant and beach, is a property which was confiscated from its owners some 60 years ago by the Yugoslav communist regime. The former owners have never received compensation.

Villa Ruza was built as a summer residence in 1936 by Dubrovnik ship owner and industrialist Marko Rusko. He purchased the land, commissioned a leading architectural firm Kauzlaric and Gombos to design the villa and financed the entire construction.

After the communist partisan army arrived in Kolocep in 1944, the local communists, with the assistance of the partisan army unit stationed at the time on the island, occupied the house and looted all its movables. A trial was initiated in absentia and without any pretence of fairness to justify confiscation of the property.

When the first state-owned hotel enterprise was formed in Dubrovnik in 1950, the small hotel which existed in Kolocep used the house. There is no formal record that permitted the use, and the property remained until 2004 (and still in part) as state property in the land register.

By virtue of Croatian law this property is to be returned to former owners

According to Croatia’s 1996 law on Compensation of the Property Dispossessed during Yugoslav Communist Rule, this property is to be returned to the formed owners. The former owners have duly claimed the return of Villa Ruza from the Croatian state. This claim has been registered and appears in the land registry for all to inspect. There are also several law suits related to Villa Ruza appealing to the constitutional court of Croatia. However, when the Hotel Kolocep (then still a state owned hotel) went to court in 2004 to register Villa Ruza in its name, the City of Dubrovnik (under whose name state property was registered) did not even appear as a defendant. A judgment was issued registering the property to the Hotel, despite a pending and unresolved legal claim that favoured restitution to the former owners.

The current and new owners of Hotel Kolocep are fully aware that they purchased confiscated property, which makes comical their claims to be attuned and sensitive to the traditions of the island. Importantly, the current owners of Hotel Kolocep could not claim, when they purchased the hotel complex in 2006, the protection of good faith or bona fide purchase.

Violation of European Convention on Human Rights

The former owners will not give up their quest to have this property restored to them and to have the Croatian law which promised its return properly applied. If necessary, they intend to plead this case before the European Court of Human Rights. They will do so on the basis of Article 1 Protocol 1 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which protects the right to peaceful enjoyment of property, and Article 6 of the Convention, which guarantees the right to a fair trial in both civil and criminal proceedings.

Tourist deserve to know the truth, not a glossy story

Tourists visiting Kolocep deserve to know the truth: that part of Hotel Kolocep remains in the use of Hotel Kolocep only because the human rights of the former owners are being violated. Tourists should be aware that vacationing at Hotel Kolocep and using Villa Ruza is to vacation on what was once someone else’s home, taken from them by force with no just cause. The rights of the formed owners are being violated, in violation of domestic and international law, and in a manner that defies the principles of legality most civic minded citizens respect.

Call for Solidarity

The heirs of Marko Rusko will not rest until Villa Ruza is returned. They ask for your solidarity in boycotting Hotel Kolocep. Only through collective opposition to the policy of maintaining the legacy of communist confiscation, will Croatia reverse its policies and restore property rights to past owners.