House Passes Declaration on Meciar’s Amnesties to Second Reading

Slovak Parliament. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 6 (TASR) – Parliament on Tuesday passed to its second reading a declaration condemning the 1995 kidnapping of then president Michal Kovac’s son Michal Jr. abroad and the 1998 amnesties issued by then prime minister and acting president Vladimir Meciar halting all law enforcement activities relating to the case.

The kidnapping was described as a gross violation of human rights and fundamental liberties and an act damaging Slovakia’s name.

The declaration was passed at its first reading by 88 votes, while an Opposition proposal to scrap the amnesties altogether was also passed to its second reading with 78 votes.

“Slovak society has for a long time been concerned about the failure to bring clarity and impose punishments for the kidnapping of Ing. Michal Kovac Jr. abroad. The administration of justice was prevented by amnesties granted by then prime minister Vladimir Meciar,” reads the declaration.

The Opposition wanted to insert the following statement: “Parliament expresses its will to deal with the results of these shameful actions by adopting a constitutional law on scrapping some decisions concerning the amnesty”. This wasn’t approved by the House, however.

Meanwhile, Jan Budaj (OLaNO-NOVA) saw his proposal to declare the amnesties null and void passed to its second reading, but the bill will then need at least 90 votes to be approved. It received only 78 at its first reading.

The Government’s declaration was presented by Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid), who said that she’s always been for scrapping the amnesties altogether.

“Political condemnation of the amnesties is an act that can find agreement from a parliamentary majority. Nonetheless, there obviously still isn’t [a large enough majority] to scrap them,” said Zitnanska.

Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP Ondrej Dostal described the declaration as an empty gesture. “Apart from naming injustice, it’s also necessary to rectify it,” he said.

Meciar’s amnesties relate both to Kovac Jr.’s kidnapping and the murder of Robert Remias, who served as a contact of a key witness of the abduction. The Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) under Meciar’s appointee Ivan Lexa was in the past suspected of being involved in both cases.