Constitutional Court: Meciar’s Amnesties Can Be Scrapped

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Former president Michal Kovac (left) and former prime minister Vladimir Meciar (stock photo by TASR)

Kosice, May 31 (TASR) – The Constitutional Court at a session behind closed doors on Wednesday ruled that the amnesties issued by Vladimir Meciar as acting president in 1998 as well as the pardon granted by former president Michal Kovac [1993-98] to his own son in 1997 can be scrapped in line with a decision by Parliament, TASR learnt from the court’s spokesperson Martina Ferencova on the same day.

The tvnoviny.sk website was first to report the court’s ruling even before the official statement. As many as eight out of the ten judges present at the session voted in favour of allowing abrogation, while the remaining two judges were against, according to the website.

MPs on April 5 revoked Meciar’s amnesties as well as Kovac’s pardon via a resolution that garnered 129 votes from the 144 MPs present at the session.

The document approved by the MPs states that Slovak society has been disturbed long term by the amnesties of Vladimir Meciar and Michal Kovac’s pardon for his own son. Therefore, Parliament opted to override these decisions out of the conviction that “respect for basic human rights and freedoms is an inalienable part of the rule of law, while respecting the principle that amnesties cannot be bestowed on representatives of state power and individuals acting in their name and/or in collusion with them”. It also took into account the Declaration of Protection for All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. In addition, it cited the pledge of the Slovak president to exercise the powers of his office in the interests of the public while observing and defending the Slovak Constitution and other laws.

The Constitutional Court has had the final word on the issue, as it was tasked either to confirm or reject Parliament’s decision within a 60-day period.

Meciar’s amnesties relate to the 1995 kidnapping of then president Michal Kovac’s son Michal Kovac Jr. and the murder in 1996 of Robert Remias, who served as a contact for a key witness of the abduction. The amnesties issued by Meciar as acting president in 1998 also concern a thwarted referendum of 1997.