NEWS BRIEFS

McCain: HZDS must explain past

US SENATOR John McCain, following a lecture in Bratislava August 22, slammed the Slovak opposition HZDS and said Slovakia had no chance of entering Nato if the party returned to power following fall elections.

While the HZDS director of foreign relations Michal Zoldy said the West need not fear a retreat from democracy under the HZDS and its strong-arm leader, Vladimír Mečiar, McCain said the party would have to offer a convincing explanation for some of the infamous crimes that occurred under its 1994-1998 rule before the West would change its opinion.

"I watched the steps of the former government very closely, and I saw infractions against human rights, I saw corruption, I saw a murder that was never fully investigated," McCain said.

In 1996, former policeman Robert Remiaš was murdered by a car bomb. Remiaš had been acting as a go-between for a key witness who claimed the SIS secret service had kidnapped the president's son to Austria in 1995. Mečiar government justice officials hampered the investigations of both crimes, and in the end Mečiar issued a blanket amnesty in the kidnapping blocking the work of both courts and state prosecutors.

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