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PRESS digest: HOSPODÁRSKE NOVINY DAILY

News item: Bratislava Regional Prosecutor's Office drops charges against Imrich Oláh and Jozef Roháč for the 1996 murder of Robert Remiáš.


A story full of questions
By Ján Borčin


It's become a well-known script in Slovakia. It begins with a convincing statement by the police that they have solid proof and reliable witnesses, continues with the naming of perpetrators, and then is followed by years of investigation accompanied by close media and political interest. And then the conclusion, which rejects everything that has gone before.

This is the script that is being followed by the last remaining open court case from the pre-1998 era within the SIS secret service - the murder of Robert Remiáš, a witness in the Kováč Jr. kidnapping case. The Bratislava regional prosecutor has declared that the men that for seven years the police said were behind the Remiáš killing did not in fact murder him. It looks as if dropping the charges against these men will also lead to charges being dropped against former SIS chief Ivan Lexa for ordering the murder.

While we still have to wait a few days to see if this will in fact happen, the words of the special prosecutor on Lexa's case for Hospodárske Noviny say a great deal: "If my colleague judged that these two accused did not commit the murder, and Lexa is among other things accused of having ordered them to do it, that says a lot."

What would this mean? Even though the criminal justice system does not deny the murder occurred, the crime will remain without perpetrators. This part of Slovak history will also remain with many questions unanswered, such as whether the police failed to assemble sufficient proof, whether the courts lacked the courage to convict, or whether the murderers covered their tracks too well.

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