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Government approves proposal to overturn Mečiar's amnesties

The Slovak government on June 22 approved a MPs' Constitutional Law proposal that is designed to overturn the so-called Mečiar's amnesties, the TASR newswire reported. If the law is passed by parliament, the decisions made by state bodies that have blocked criminal prosecutions linked to the abduction of Michal Kováč Jr. to Austria in 1995 will be overturned. "The amnesties were granted in connection to activities in which there are suspicions that state bodies took part in criminal activities. The result of the amnesty is that no criminal prosecution of those responsible for the activities can take place," states the proposal, adding that this obstacle would be removed if the new legislation were adopted. The MPs express their concerns that the amnesties were not in line with the principles of a lawful state. They have had a negative effect on natural justice and decency in law.

The Slovak government on June 22 approved a MPs' Constitutional Law proposal that is designed to overturn the so-called Mečiar's amnesties, the TASR newswire reported. If the law is passed by parliament, the decisions made by state bodies that have blocked criminal prosecutions linked to the abduction of Michal Kováč Jr. to Austria in 1995 will be overturned.

"The amnesties were granted in connection to activities in which there are suspicions that state bodies took part in criminal activities. The result of the amnesty is that no criminal prosecution of those responsible for the activities can take place," states the proposal, adding that this obstacle would be removed if the new legislation were adopted. The MPs express their concerns that the amnesties were not in line with the principles of a lawful state. They have had a negative effect on natural justice and decency in law.

Past prime minister and acting president Vladimír Mečiar on March 3, 1997 – one day after Kováč's term of office expired – issued amnesties from prosecution for any crimes committed in connection to Kováč Jr's abduction. He ordered that criminal proceedings should not even be started and that any that had already started would be halted. A second amnesty with the same content was issued on July 7, 1998.

It was widely thought that the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) was involved in the abduction. The MPs' proposal aimed at overturning the amnesties has already passed to its second reading in parliament with 85 votes. This is a constitutional change so 90 votes are needed to pass the proposal. In addition to MPs from the governing coalition, the proposal was supported by all Slovak National Party (SNS) lawmakers and MP Ján Počiatek from Smer.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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