Possibility of Mečiar’s prosecution for amnesties will be checked

The court claims that the former prime minister exceeded his powers, but there is a question as to whether the deed is time-barred.

Vladimír(Source: SME)

Vladimír Mečiar may face prosecution 19 years after leaving the prime ministerial post, as the General Prosecutor’s Office confirmed it will scrutinise whether he exceeded his powers.

The ruling of the Constitutional Court was issued in connection with the cancellation of the Mečiar amnesties, which were granted in 1990s. The court explains in the ruling why it approved the motion passed by parliament in April concerning the cancellation of the amnesties, the Sme daily reported.

The judges claimed that Mečiar granted the amnesties on actions linked to abduction to Austria of the son of then-president Michal Kováč only one day after Kováč’s term in office had expired. At the time, Mečiar had been acting as deputy president.

“It is obvious that the prime minister did not follow the requirement of restraint when using his power to grant amnesties; conversely he seriously abused it [his power to grant amnesties] when applying it,” the statement of the Constitutional Court reads, as quoted by Sme.

Read also:Mečiar: Amnesties are still valid

Following the orders of the General Prosecutor’s Office, the regional prosecutor’s office in Bratislava will now check whether Mečiar exceeded his powers while serving as a public official.

The prosecutor’s office told Sme it will decide on its next steps only after reading the Constitutional Court’s verdict.

If Mečiar is found guilty of abusing his powers, he could face 3.5-10 years in prison, Sme wrote, referencing the Penal Code valid at the time the amnesties were granted.

Lawyers addressed by Sme, however, say that no prosecution may take place, as the events took place nearly 20 years ago and are time-barred from prosecution.

For now, the scrutiny of the prosecutor’s office should say whether or not it is possible to prosecute Mečiar, Sme wrote.

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