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Cancellation of 'Mečiar Amnesties' passed to second reading

MPs of the ruling coalition on Tuesday, May 31, took a step towards overturning the so-called 'Mečiar Amnesties', which date back to spring 1998. A constitutional law to reverse some decisions based on the amnesty was moved to its second reading by 85 votes, but for the draft to be finally approved, five more votes will be necessary in June when it will return to parliament. Ninety out of the 150 MPs in parliament are required to support a draft constitutional bill in order for it to be passed.

MPs of the ruling coalition on Tuesday, May 31, took a step towards overturning the so-called 'Mečiar Amnesties', which date back to spring 1998. A constitutional law to reverse some decisions based on the amnesty was moved to its second reading by 85 votes, but for the draft to be finally approved, five more votes will be necessary in June when it will return to parliament. Ninety out of the 150 MPs in parliament are required to support a draft constitutional bill in order for it to be passed.

Ján Počiatek (from the opposition Smer party) supported the bill, along with all SNS MPs present, the SITA newswire wrote. In the past, Smer leader Robert Fico has opposed reversing the amnesties, saying that even if they are immoral, they must not be reversed – something which he says the European Court for Human Rights has confirmed.

Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic says that amnesties have been cancelled in many countries where they were granted under dictatorships or dubious circumstances. This is the sixth attempt to cancel the amnesties granted by then-acting president Vladimír Mečiar. Mečiar, leader of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), and at the time also prime minister, granted the amnesties during his brief presidential incumbency to protect unknown perpetrators involved in the case of the abduction of former president Michal Kováč's son in 1995.

Investigators believed that the former boss of Slovakia’s SIS intelligence service, Ivan Lexa, masterminded the kidnapping. Lexa, who later became Slovakia’s most wanted fugitive, was accused of several serious crimes including abduction, sabotage, robbery, treason and misuse of power. In addition, he was accused of having ordered the March 1996 murder of Robert Remiáš, who was believed to have been involved in the kidnapping. However, Lexa has to date been shielded from the most serious charges by the amnesties.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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