NEWS BRIEFS

Dzurinda revises Mečiar amnesties

Premier Mikuláš Dzurinda on December 8 revised a pair of amnesties granted by his predecessor, Vladimír Mečiar. The revisions will enable the investigation of crimes related to the thwarted May 1997 referendum on NATO entry and on direct presidential elections and the abduction of the former President's son, Michal Kováč Jr., to Austria.

Dzurinda told a press conference that he was defending the interests of the public, and had not been motivated by personal animosity towards former Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) boss and Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) deputy Ivan Lexa or former Interior Minister Gustav Krajči.

Dzurinda said the cases are now in the hands of independent investigators, but refused to provide further details. "My decision opens up possibilities for the police and the prosecution to investigate the [Kováč] case. I believe that they will use all available information to trace the criminals," he added.

Opinions on Dzurinda's amnesty revisions differ, but he himself refused to comment on them. "It is an individual decision and I am fully aware of my responsibility," he emphasized.

Parliamentary Speaker Jozef Migaš, however, said he was not happy that Dzurinda had made the decision unilaterally, and that he hoped all matters affecting the ruling coalition would not be settled in a similar way.

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