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Appeal by personalities: We want to trust the state again

The signatories of the We Want to Trust appeal have a set of demands, including the removal of the police president and special prosecutor, a credible interior minister and measures to find the murderers of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová.

The protest 'For a decent Slovakia' in SNP Square, Bratislava, March 16.(Source: SITA)

The “We Want to Trust” (Chceme Veriť) appeal to the government is an initiative by 145 personalities and activists demanding independent and honest institutions, the rule of law and the identification of those involved with the murder of the Aktuality.sk news website investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.

It was made available to the media by its co-author, programme director of the Fair-Play Alliance Zuzana Wienk, and features specific requirements, the SITA newswire wrote on March 15.

The signatories include many famous performers and artists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, academics, and people from the civic community, among others.

What Slovak democracy is missing

“Our democracy vitally lacks an independent and functioning police force, prosecution service and judiciary… Without them, the rule of law cannot be guaranteed. The death of Ján Kuciak and the testimony of prosecutor Vasil Špirko are manifestations of a deep disintegration of this key democratic pillar,” they write in the document.

Therefore, they are calling on Police President Tibor Gašpar and Special Prosecutor Dušan Kováčik to step down and give their institutions a chance to regain the citizens’ trust. They also ask the government to fill the post of interior minister with a person “who enjoys the broad trust of society and has indisputable professional and moral credit”.

The signatories also want those in power to choose interim successors to the police and special prosecution service management in an open process with clear criteria in the current exceptional situation and that these representatives have proven experience, high expertise, and indisputable moral credit, according to SITA.

Murder must be investigated independently

Another demand of the initiative is for the murder of Kuciak and Kušnírová to be investigated by an international team but also by widely accepted, local, moral and expert heavyweights, overseen by a special audit of the General Prosecutor’s Office. The political representatives should enable this by preparing systemic measures for the police, the Prosecutor’s Office and the courts which will bring their real and permanent improvement.

Moreover, the appeal – meant also for political parties – states that the trust in state institutions and its political representation needs to be renewed, and this need is more pressing than ever, after the ground-shaking murder of a journalist who wrote about the shady connections of top politicians, possibly including criminal ties.

Individuals not institutions

This is an appeal of individuals, not institutions. However, the above-mentioned measures will be prepared by NGOs listed on chcemeverit.sk, the organisers write.

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