NEWS IN SHORT

Government issues two apologies

THE SLOVAK government has apologised to the former president, Michal Kováč, for not being able to find enough votes in parliament to abolish amnesties granted in 1998 by Vladimír Mečiar, the prime minister and acting-president at that time. The amnesties Mečiar issued made it impossible to investigate and prosecute individuals who were involved in abducting Kováč’s son and taking him to Austria in 1995, the SITA newswire reported.

THE SLOVAK government has apologised to the former president, Michal Kováč, for not being able to find enough votes in parliament to abolish amnesties granted in 1998 by Vladimír Mečiar, the prime minister and acting-president at that time. The amnesties Mečiar issued made it impossible to investigate and prosecute individuals who were involved in abducting Kováč’s son and taking him to Austria in 1995, the SITA newswire reported.

The government’s apology stated that the amnesties do not represent the principles of a lawful state and had been granted even though individuals associated with several state agencies were suspected of being involved in the abduction.

In addition to apologising to the Kováč family, the government apologised to the family of Robert Remiáš. Remiáš, a go-between for a key witness to the abduction of Michal Kováč Jr, was killed in a car bombing in 1996.

The government apologised to his family for not investigating “the serious suspicion of involvement of state bodies in the crime” and not finding and prosecuting the perpetrators, SITA wrote.

The government stated it hopes the amnesties will be abolished sometime in the future and that both cases can be properly investigated.

Kováč accepted the apology but said “it is only a weak patch”. Stanislav Háber from the press department of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), the party led by Mečiar, said that the government’s apology was “nonsense and resembled the totalitarian regime which passed rulings also without evidence or a trial”, as quoted by SITA.

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