Amnesty Talks Suspended by Week; Opposition Has Five Conditions

Vladimir Meciar (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, March 21 (TASR) – Talks concerning the coalition-sponsored proposal for revoking the so-called Vladimir Meciar amnesties will be suspended by one week, and the House will begin discussing them again next Tuesday (March 28), concurred representatives of the coalition and Opposition at a parliamentary gremium on Tuesday.

The Opposition is willing to support the Government-sponsored initiative concerning the amnesties, but it has five conditions.

First of all, the Opposition wants a guarantee that the kidnapping of the then president’s son Michal Kovac Jr. in 1995 and the murder in 1996 of Robert Remias, who served as a contact for a key witness of the abduction, won’t be considered as coming under the statute of limitations.

The second condition concerns a joint political agreement between the coalition and the Opposition on who will represent Parliament at the Constitutional Court on this matter. The Opposition wants to see a vigorous defence, with the defender able to submit objections of bias against some constitutional judges.

The Opposition further demands that not only the pardon granted by former president Kovac to his son should be revoked, but also all pardons granted concerning economic criminal activities in the Technopol case. Entrepreneur Marian Kocner was among these people, for example.

Condition number four states that the Constitutional Court shouldn’t take action regarding Meciar’s amnesties ex officio, but only if at least 30 MPs approach the Constitutional Court in this regard.

The fifth requirement is that the Slovak president and cabinet should be secondary parties at the Constitutional Court in the case of Meciar’s amnesties.

The Opposition claims that the coalition has expressed a positive stance towards four conditions on a preliminary basis, but it’s taken exception to revoking all pardons in the Technopol case.

Meanwhile Opposition representatives are still against the coalition’s idea that Meciar’s amnesties should be scrapped via a short-tracked procedure, but the coalition has enough of its own votes to push this through.

Representatives of the Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, OLaNO-NOVA and We Are Family claim that they won’t support fast-tracked proceedings, but if their five conditions are accepted, they will ultimately vote in favour of the coalition’s proposal on revoking the amnesties.

“We’ll only vote for a text about which MPs will be convinced and which will lead towards a genuine and not a fictitious scrapping of Meciar’s amnesties,” stated OLaNO-NOVA MP Jan Budaj.

Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) thanked both the Opposition and coalition for their joint attempt finally to resolve this historical trauma. “It seems that we’ll succeed,” he said, adding that regarding the Opposition’s five requirements, the coalition hasn’t rejected them and has asked for them in writing. “After that, I’ll be able to tell you what exactly I think about this specifically,” Danko told journalists.

The coalition’s proposal consists of several changes due to be introduced via fast-tracked proceedings, including the empowering of parliament to revoke amnesties and pardons issued by the president. If these changes are adopted, Meciar’s amnesties could be scrapped, but parliament’s decision would then have to be examined by the Constitutional Court.