The murder of Róbert Remiáš is one of the cases indicative of the controversial 1990s in Slovakia under the government of Vladimír Mečiar. At the end of April, 20 years will have passed since Remiáš was killed when his car exploded as he was driving in Bratislava’s neighbourhood of Karlova Ves. The case had been suspended for eight years until it was recently reopened in light of new evidence that emerged.
Remiáš was a police officer and the best friend of Oskar Fegyveres, a former Slovak Information Service (SIS) officer who was the principal witness in the 1995 kidnapping of Michal Kováč Jr., son of the sitting president. Remiáš acted as Fegyveres’ contact in 1995, when the latter was hiding abroad.
Some prominent underworld figures, most recently Mikuláš Černák, suggested that the SIS has ordered Remiáš’ murder from one of the underworld gangs, but the allegations haven’t been proven. The Sme daily voiced speculations that the new evidence in the murder case has to do with the underworld, likely the former gang boss Róbert Lališ who recently received a life sentence.
The investigation of the murder has been shelved in March 2008 with the investigator arguing that there is no evidence that would allow charging any concrete person with the crime.
The police however reopened the case a few weeks ago after “new evidence surfaced”, the Sme daily reported. The police as well as the prosecution however remain tightlipped about the nature of the new evidence and the steps they are taking.
Sme hints at the 2015 arrests of former boss of the Sýkorovci group Róbert “Kýbel” Lališ and another member of the gang, Martin Bihári, as motivating the change of course. Sýkorovci gang has been repeatedly alleged to be the one that executed the murder. Two of its members had also been charged for it in the past.
Lališ was recently sentenced to life by the Specialised Criminal Court in Banská Bystrica; as well as two other members of the gang, among them Jozef Roháč who was also charged with Remiáš murder in 1999, along with the now late Imrich Oláh, but their charges were dropped in 2006.
The former head of the SIS, Ivan Lexa, was also charged in 2002 with ordering the murder of Remiáš, but the charges were also dropped in 2006.
Fegyveres is surprised
The account of the events that surrounded the kidnapping of the president’s son and the murder of Remiáš recently appeared independently in three books. At the end of 2015, Sme daily investigative reporter Matúš Burčík’s book was published. It is based on his long-term contact with Fegyveres and it tells, among other things, the story of Remiáš from his best friend’s viewpoint.
“Oskar does not care so much about the kidnapping case anymore,” Burčík told The Slovak Spectator shortly before his book was published. “But he regrets that the murder of Remiáš has not been clarified even though there is no fundamental reason why it shouldn’t be.”
In the story on the reopening of the case that Sme daily ran on April 2, Fegyveres was quoted as saying that he was surprised by the news.
“It would be a great satisfaction for people who were close to Róbert and for those who were persecuted for their efforts to find out about the truth or independently investigate,” Fegyveres said.
There is still time
Just before Burčík’s book, Mikuláš Černák published his own account of that time of Slovakia’s history. He suggests in his book that the entire underworld knew that the SIS has ordered the murder from one of their bosses.
Earlier still, in late 2013, Peter Tóth published his story from the time as well. In reaction to the news that the police has reopened the case Tóth suggested that the limitation period of the crime of murder, which is 20 years under the Slovak law, expires soon. But that is not the case, the Sme daily wrote.
If someone is charged in the case, the statue of limitations is counted from that moment: in this case it is since the charges were dropped in September 2006. The time during which the case was shelved does not count (in this case since March 2008 until February 2016).