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Slovaks fighting in foreign armed groups to be prosecuted

SLOVAKS who take part in the military activities of an organised armed group on the territory of another state will face two to eight years in jail, according to an amendment to the Criminal Code passed by Parliament on November 13.

Ukrainian separatists, illustrative stock photo.(Source: AP/TASR)

The new legislation, conceived in response to the emerging global phenomenom of so-called foreign fighters, stipulates that the same punishment will apply to those who publicly incite others to commit such a crime. The bill was drafted particularly with reference to the Ukrainian conflict after it was reported that the ranks of pro-Russian separatists have been reinforced also by Slovak nationals, the TASR newswire wrote.

“This applies to perpetrators who are not citizens of a state where an armed conflict is taking place, have no ties of kinship within the given state, operate as part of an armed group outside the military structure of the country in question and carry out their activities in person and directly in combat,“ reads a text released by the Justice Ministry to disambiguate foreign fighters from mercenaries. “Their primary motivation is not oriented towards financial profit but is rather ideological in nature. Often they receive no payment for their activities.“

The ministry adds that foreign fighters with their activities increase the intensity and continuation of armed conflicts they get involved in; while also representing a grave security risk for their home countries, as well as transit countries. 

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