Gov’t Okays Draft Wording of Declaration to Condemn Meciar’s Amnesties

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Meciar issued controversial amnesties as acting president in 1998 (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 30 (TASR) – The Cabinet recommends Parliament to adopt a declaration on the controversial amnesties issued by erstwhile prime minister Vladimir Meciar when he was acting president in 1998. At its session on Wednesday, the Cabinet approved the declaration’s draft wording submitted by Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD).

Slovak society has for a long time been concerned about the failure to bring clarity and punishment for the kidnapping of former President Michal Kovac’s son on August 31, 1995, reads the declaration. The administration of justice was prevented by the amnesties granted by then prime minister Vladimir Meciar, who also held some presidential powers at the time.

Parliament should state in the declaration that it condemns the act of a Slovak citizen being kidnapped, which was not only a gross interference in human rights and fundamental freedoms, but also an act that damaged Slovakia’s reputation.

Parliament is condemning the amnesties issued by the then prime minister that have prevented the offenders from being unveiled and punished, states the declaration.

On November 21 Slovak President Andrej Kiska asked MPs for a matter-of-fact and accommodating discussion on the possibility of scrapping Meciar’s amnesties. Parliament will deal with the proposal to scrap the amnesties at its ongoing session. Opposition MP Jan Budaj (OLaNO-NOVA) came up with a respective proposal. Since it’s a constitutional law, Budaj would need the support of at least 90 out of the 150 lawmakers in Parliament.

The now non-parliamentary Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) has sought the abolition of Meciar’s amnesties for years. It had support from the Opposition, but it lacked support from the governing Smer-SD party for its proposal. Premier and Smer leader Robert Fico (Smer-SD) has stated that the amnesties are amoral, but that they can’t be scrapped legally. However, Smer-SD is willing to support their moral condemnation through a declaration.