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Čarnogurský calls for bureau to dig up communist crimes

During an August 13 visit to the Bratislava prison where he was jailed 10 years ago for trying to subvert the then-communist Czechoslovak Republic, Justice Minister Ján Čarnogurský announced he would call for the establishment of a special bureau to investigate crimes committed under communism.

Čarnogurský said that he has two alternatives in mind. Preferably, the bureau would be established through a separate law as an independent institution. If this move fails to gain enough support from the ruling coalition, he will establish the bureau through a ministerial directive as part of the Justice Ministry.

Ten years ago, on August 14, 1989, the former state police jailed Čarnogurský along with writer Hana Ponická, political scientist Miroslav Kusý, publicist Anton Selecký, and Vladimír Maňák. The so-called "Bratislava Five" were accused of opposing the communist regime by organizing a commemoration for people killed during the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Army. Čarnogurský was also condemned for disseminating an anti-communist bulletin called Bratislava Letters.

The Czech Republic has a bureau for the documentation of the crimes of communism, which was established in 1994. The bureau also has the authority to investigate the crimes of the totalitarian regime.

Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, a former high-ranking communist himself, told the media late last week that he was opposed to the creation of such a bureau.

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