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UPDATED: 9. FEB 2017, AT 5:55

UPDATED: Slovak OSCE mission member is an extremist

The organisation has distanced itself from his statements, while the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry has cancelled its permission for him to serve in the mission.

Illustrative stock photo(Source: AP/TASR)

A Slovak observer at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission at the Russian Checkpoints of Gukovo and Donetsk (OM), on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine is publicly presenting his extremist opinions.

The information was first published by blogger Ján Benčík, a laureate of the White Crow award for whistleblowers.

A former Slovak soldier, Martin Gutten joked with pro-Russian soldier Mário Reitman about killing Benčík on a Facebook site. He also had scornful comments about his OSCE colleagues, saying they are not Slavs, and described refugees as parasites whom he will kill off, the Sme daily reported.

OSCE distanced itself from the “inappropriate postings of political views on social media”.

“This posting does not represent an official position of the OSCE and is inconsistent with its internal policies,” Natacha Rajakovic of OSCE told Sme. “Consequently, the OSCE is reviewing the issue and will follow up administratively as necessary.”

Observers in the OSCE OM are selected through the same rigorous procedure as all other OSCE mission members. They are required to sign the OSCE Code of Conduct as part of their condition for employment, and go through intensive training, Rajakovic explained.

Read also: Read also:Police to check Slovak soldiers in Ukraine

Once they join the OM, all observers are required by the OSCE Code of Conduct to serve as international civil servants and to uphold all the values of the OSCE in their professional work.

“The Code of Conduct also stipulates that they may not represent the interests of their respective countries, and are expected to maintain the highest levels of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism,” Rajakovic added.

Permission cancelled

It is possible Gutten applied for the post in the OSCE mission on his own, via the application form on the internet. Before he took the position, however, he would have needed confirmation from the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry that he met all conditions and there was no reason why he could not serve in the mission, Sme wrote.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry shares the OSCE’s opinion that Gutten’s postings are unacceptable and has cancelled its permission for him to serve in the OSCE mission.

It is possible that they will withdraw him from the mission, Sme reported.

“The actions of the Slovak observer in the OSCE mission is at odds with the principles and values supported by Slovakia and the OSCE,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Peter Susko, as quoted by Sme.

The former and currently retired soldier wrote on his Facebook profile that he was bored and that as an observer he received a diplomatic passport and higher rank.

Security analyst Jaroslav Naď says it is possible that the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency had made a mistake. If it monitors Slovak soldiers in Ukraine, it should have known about Gutten’s contacts, he added for Sme.

SIS responded that it fulfills its duties.

Topic: Ukraine


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