WHEN the civic association Eurea asked the Officials Protection Office to provide information about the incident between Ján Slota, the leader of the Slovak National Party, and police officer Ľudmila Nováková in the garage of the parliament building in May 2009, the association was quite surprised by the official answer they received.
Alexander Bachratý, an officer from the Officials Protection Office, wrote in his reply to Eurea that the information the organisation was seeking had already been published and he provided a link to the website of Slovenská Pospolitosť, an ultra-right extremist movement which had been once been banned by the Interior Ministry.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Erik Tomáš told the Sme daily that disciplinary proceedings have already been launched against the authors of the letter: not only Bachratý, but also the director of the Officials Protection Office, Milan Marko, who also signed the letter.
“It was a mistake in the process of providing information and not within the competencies which grounded the establishment of the office,” Tomáš told Sme. “A new, professional, and lawful reply was sent immediately.”
According to Tomáš, employees of the Officials Protection Office will now be required to go through training in the competencies of providing information.
Slovenská Pospolitosť was banned as a political party in 2006 and the Interior Ministry had also once disbanded it as a civic association. However, Slovakia’s Supreme Court cancelled the Interior Ministry’s decision, made in November 2008, for what the court called procedural failures. The ministry is now attempting to again disband Pospolitosť as a civic association.
According to the People against Racism NGO, the incident shows “which internet pages the employees of the ministry browse in their working time” and what their attitudes and willingness to deal with these issues in Slovakia are, Sme wrote.
Slovenská Pospolitosť had been a political party until it was banned in 2006. As a civic association, it was ruled illegal by Slovakia’s Interior Ministry shortly before talks between Prime Minister Robert Fico and his Hungarian counterpart, Ferenc Gyurcsány, were held on November 15, 2008.
The Supreme Court this year overturned the Interior Ministry’s decision and returned the matter to the ministry, ruling that the legal conditions for disbanding Slovenská Pospolitosť had not been met. The Interior Ministry had decided to outlaw the civic organization on the basis that it engaged in “activities that incite hatred and national, racial, religious as well as political intolerance, achieving its goals via actions that contradict the Slovak Constitution and law”.
28. Jul 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff