Parliament on Wednesday, December 19, failed to approve a resolution condemning the amnesties decreed in 1998 by then-acting president Vladimír Mečiar concerning the kidnapping of the former president's son Michal Kováč Jr to Austria in 1995 and the marred referendum in 1998.
Only 62 lawmakers out of 142 present in the chamber voted for the proposal, sponsored by Christian Democratic Movement-KDH MP Pavol Hrušovský. The resolution stated that the amnesties were immoral and unprecedented decisions that were at odds with the principles of legal certainty and justice. Hrušovský in the debate said that the kidnapping of the former president's son is a black stain on the history of contemporary Slovakia, and it is necessary to remove it inasmuch as this is possible.
"The act took place indeed - Kováč's son was abducted. Don't bury our heads in the sand," said Hrušovský as quoted by the TASR newswire. [The then-president's son was the subject of an international warrant based on his alleged involvement in the large-scale fraud of a Slovak company called Technopol. - ed. note] The Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS), which was headed by Mečiar's associate Ivan Lexa in 1995, was strongly suspected of carrying out the kidnapping at a time when disputes between Mečiar and then president Michal Kováč were escalating.
The referendum on direct vote of the president by citizens and Slovakia's membership of EU and NATO was marred by Mečiar's interior minister Gustáv Krajči and it ended in fiasco – and without a result. After the change of power following the general election in late 1998, parliament enabled the investigation of Krajči – involving an alleged fraud and misconduct – but the investigation had to be halted as Mečiar's amnesties covered the entire issue of the so-called 'marred' referendum. In the intervening 14 years, there have been innumerable attempts to annul the amnesties.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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