Ruža Jeličić was a citizen of the former Yugoslavia. In the 1970s and 80s she lived and worked in Germany, in order to save money. She deposited her savings of German marks in a bank account in her home country.
Mrs Jeličić returned home to live off the money that she had earnt. However, in the late 1980s the former Yugoslavia experienced a financial crisis. With the banking system on the verge of collapse, a law was passed banning individuals from withdrawing money from accounts containing foreign currency. Along with thousands of others, Mrs Jeličić was banned from accessing her savings.
According to Mrs Jeličić, the loss of her money left her without sufficient financial support. Her husband died and she no longer worked, but she had no pension after her foreign currency savings were blocked.
In 1998 the courts ordered that the bank would have to pay Mrs Jeličić her money. However, the bank refused to comply with the court order and the authorities refused to enforce it. The money later became a public debt, but the authorities still refused to pay it back.