Kuciak murder retrial nears its end, verdict expected in spring

The Slovak Spectator recaps the Kuciak murder trial.

Marian Kočner in the courtroom.Marian Kočner in the courtroom. (Source: SME)

In Slovakia’s modern history, the end of February marks a bitter anniversary: the killings of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.

They were murdered in their home in Veľká Mača, a small town located about 60 kilometres away from Bratislava, on February 21, 2018.

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Though the police were quick to detain and charge not just the persons who they believed had fired the shots, but also those alleged to have ordered Kuciak’s murder, the families of the murdered couple have not learned the final verdict to date.

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“We’ve been waiting for the culprits who murdered our children to be punished for five years already,” said Jozef Kuciak, father of the murdered journalist, at the For a Decent Slovakia gathering on February 21. “Time has passed, pain has slightly changed in form, but it remains. A fair trial and punishment for the offenders is the minimum we can ask for our children.”

While several people involved in the killings have already pled guilty, those considered the masterminds of the double murder, Marian Kočner and Alena Zsuzsová, continue being tried in what is now a retrial. This was after the Specialised Criminal Court acquitted the pair in 2020, but was ordered to retry the pair by the Supreme Court almost a year later.

Today, the court is handling two different criminal cases in the retrial; apart from the two murders, judges will also decide on Kočner and Zsuzsová allegedly plotting the murders of three prosecutors in 2017 and 2018.

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Following Specialised Criminal Court Judge Ružena Sabová’s earlier statement that the verdict could be delivered in April 2023, hopes that the retrial will come to an end after five years and justice may be served are high in Slovakia.

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