Cabinet Okays Constitutional Bill to Scrap Meciar's Amnesties

Cabinet Okays Constitutional Bill to Scrap Meciar's Amnesties

Bratislava, March 15 (TASR) – An amendment to the Slovak Constitution and a constitutional proposal to revoke the so-called Vladimir Meciar’s amnesties garnered the support of the Government on Wednesday, which also passed proposals for them to be deliberated by Parliament via a fast-tracked procedure.

The new changes are designed to empower Parliament to veto controversial amnesties and pardons issued by a president in case of that president’s “individual failure”. The decision of lawmakers must be affirmed within 60 days by the Constitutional Court. Under these new constitutional rules, the Cabinet plans to shepherd through Parliament a bill to revoke Meciar’s amnesties as well as the pardon issued by former president Michal Kovac [1993-98] to his own son at the session in March.

The legislation is designed to invest in Parliament legal power to revoke an amnesty and presidential pardon and to entitle the Constitutional Court to look into the constitutionality of such an abrogation by Parliament as well as the constitutionality of the amnesty and presidential pardon in question.

Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid) called the bills a gesture of willingness to scrap Meciar’s 1998 amnesties. “Any solution at this stage requires 90 votes [a constitutional majority not commanded by the coalition alone – ed.note] and that is crucial,” she emphasised. “We all know that we find ourselves in an unorthodox situation because Meciar’s amnesties caused an unorthodox situation, which calls only for unorthodox solutions. Hence, any solution whatsoever will be unorthodox, and the only way to go lies in a solution backed by 90 lawmakers.”

Meciar’s amnesties relate both to the 1995 kidnapping of Michal Kovac Jr. and the murder in 1996 of Robert Remias, who served as a contact for a key witness of the abduction.