Welcome to your weekly commentary and overview of news from Slovakia. Fico and Kaliňák fail to impress Strasbourg judges. The Tepláreň attacker may not have been a lone wolf. And The Slovak Spectator has some tips on how to approach the Foreigners’ Police.
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Fico and Kaliňák schooled by the ECHR
Robert Fico has lately been attracting international attention to the criminal investigations he faces in Slovakia – just not quite in the way he intended.
The former Smer party prime minister and his long-time right-hand man, Robert Kaliňák, recently received a response from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to a complaint that they had submitted to the Strasbourg tribunal demanding that it uphold their claims against Slovakia’s current government and criminal prosecution bodies.
What offence had these institutions supposedly committed? Firstly, they had the temerity to investigate and even charge Fico and Kaliňák with corruption while in office. Secondly, and perhaps even more damningly in the eyes of these former ministers, their successors in government had failed to prevent such inexcusable acts of lese-majesty. According to Fico and Kaliňák’s telling, they are at imminent risk of becoming political prisoners, victims of fabricated cases orchestrated by their political opponents (readers who have followed the recent indictment of another former leader this week, in New York, may recognise a familiar tone to these complaints).
Smer politicians have pursued this line for a long time now. They hold regular press conferences whose main point is to bash the police officers of the National Crime Agency (NAKA) as well as Special Prosecutor Daniel Lipšic and his subordinates.