House Annuls Meciar Amnesties and Kovac’s Presidential Pardon

Former prime minister Vladimir Meciar

Bratislava, April 5 (TASR) – Parliament via a resolution that garnered 129 votes from the 144 MPs present on Wednesday revoked the amnesties issued by Vladimir Meciar as acting president dated March 3 and July 7, 1998, as well as the pardon granted by former president Michal Kovac [1993-98] to his own son on December 12, 1997.

The vote was observed in person by a number of Government ministers headed by Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD). The resolution received support from all MPs present from coalition parties Smer-SD, the Slovak National Party (SNS) and Most-Hid, plus those representing Opposition parties Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), OLaNO-NOVA and We Are Family as well as Independent MPs centred around Peter Marcek. Only the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (LSNS) voted against the motion.

The text of the approved document 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, and 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 resolution approved by the House under last week’s amendment to the Constitution will be further evaluated within 60 days by the Constitutional Court, which will be tasked with either confirming or rejecting Parliament’s decision. If the court fails to reach a verdict within the set deadline, the House’s decision will stand.

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.