THE POLICE have launched a criminal prosecution over abuse of powers by public officials and child trafficking on June 25 in a case pertaining to intercountry adoptions. The prosecutor heard the first witness on October 1, the SITA newswire reported.
Reports of questionable practices surrounding adoptions of Slovak children abroad, particularly to Italy, involving the Slovak state body that facilitates them, the Centre for International Legal Protection of Children and Youth (CIPC), surfaced in the media in 2012 and 2013
The prosecution was launched after Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP Lucia Nicholsonová and her party colleague Natália Blahová filed a criminal complaint in November 2012. They criticised the activities of the CIPC under its previous director Alena Mátejová, who has since been replaced by Andrea Císarová.
A 2012 parliamentary audit of the CIPC revealed that the centre possessed practically no archival documents from before 2003, and that even after that date the archives were incomplete, with some key documents missing, such as post-adoption reports provided by families from abroad who adopted Slovak children. That, in addition to the fact that the vast majority of children adopted abroad were placed in Italy, attracted the attention of the media and the opposition to Slovakia’s cooperation with Italy on intercountry adoptions.
The CIPC underwent several audits - by the MPs, by the ministry, as well as by the ombudswoman, with each of the parties stating that the centre has not always acted in the best interest of the children, SITA wrote.
The audits found the relations between Slovakia and Italy particularly alarming. More than half of all the children sent for adoption from Slovakia went to Italy between 2003 and 2012.
Two Italian agencies were active in intercountry adoptions in Slovakia until 2010: the private Famiglia e Minori, which lost accreditation in 2010, and the regional agency of the Piedmont region, ARAI.
The latter has invested almost €190,000 in Slovakia within five projects since 2004, the Sme daily reported in early June. The projects included seminars, round tables, as well as trips to Turin for the staff of orphanages, social workers and even judges: simply anyone who was involved in the decision-making on intercountry adoptions, according to Sme.
Source: SITA, Sme, Slovak Spectator archive
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.
8. Oct 2013 at 10:00