Lexa withdrew from dispute over Kováč’s abduction

The protracted dispute between ex-president and former head of the secret service SIS may come to an end as the former head of SIS withdrew his suit.

Michal Kováč SrMichal Kováč Sr (Source: Sme)

The legal dispute between former president Michal Kováč (1993-1998) and ex-leader of SIS Ivan Lexa (1995-1998) has lasted for already 20 years. In it, Lexa sues Kováč for his statements connecting the former with the abduction of the son of the latter.

In August 1995, Michal Kováš Junior was found tied and drunk in the boot of his car in Austria, close to the Slovak border. According to SIS, he abducted himself. After the investigation of this mysterious incident started, one of the SIS employees, Oszkar Fegyveres, emigrated abroad, and his liaison, Róbert Remiaš, died due to explosion of his own car. The investigation was stopped by then-prime minister Vladimír Mečiar who temporarily (in 1998) acted also as president; he amnestied all deeds connected with this abduction and since then, MPs have tried in vain to break their validity.

 

Kováč Sr claimed that Lexa knew about the abduction of his son, and the former secret service head sued him, using the fact that courts (because of the amnesties refusing to deal with the case) never determined whether SIS participated in the abduction, or not. After several trials, Bratislava Regional Court in June 2012, ordered Kováč to apologise to Lexa and pay non-pecuniary damages of €3,319. Kováč then filed an extraordinary appeal and the Supreme Court ordered the case to be reopened in December 2013.

Kováč, now aged 86, is seriously ill, so it would be unethical to continue the dispute, Ľubomír Hlbočan, Lexa’s lawyer, reasoned the decision to withdraw the lawsuit.

The court has complied with Lexa’s request, the Sme daily wrote. However, Kováč wants to continue the dispute and he claims that his motor skills’ disability does not make him incapable of continuing legal proceedings. Also Kováč’s lawyer, Marta Gahérová, asked for a continuation of the trial, as she deems her client mentally fit to participate. The fact that he has a motor skills’ disorder and speaks with difficulties does not make him an incapable person, she stressed, as quoted by Sme.  

Lexa also asked that none of the parties have their court fees reimbursed; he argues that he had already won the case, and Kováč has sizeable income and is able to do without this money. However, the court did not agree and argued that as Lexa himself wanted to withdraw the case, he should pay court fees. The decision is not final yet as both sides have 15 days to challenge it, according to Sme.

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