NEWS BRIEFS

Constitutional Court amnesty verdict expected

The senate of the Constitutional Court, led by Justice Tibor Šafárik, came to a decision on June 28 after more than four-hours of debate on the legality of the amnesties granted by former acting president Vladimír Mečiar and later revised by his successor Mikuláš Dzurinda. Although the verdict will be made public after July 1, some Slovak media have already reported that the court decided to let the Dzurinda revisions stand, but to prevent any such revisions from occuring in the future.

The Constitutional Court was asked to decide the case after a complaint submitted by the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) against the revision of the amnesty. The amnesty, originally issued by Mečiar on March 3, 1998 and amended in June that year, would have prevented the prosecution of former Interior Minister Gustáv Krajči and former Slovak Intelligence Service director Ivan Lexa for offenses committed while they held office.

On December 8, Prime Minister Dzurinda exercised presidential powers devolved to him to revise Mečiar's amnesty to allow investigation of the thwarted referendum on Slovakia's NATO membership and direct presidential elections, and of the abduction of Michal Kováč Jr. to Austria.

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