President Disagrees with Slovakia Being Labelled Mafia State

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President Zuzana Caputova (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 4 (TASR) – President Zuzana Caputova stated following her working breakfast with Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO) and Parliamentary Chair Boris Kollar (We Are Family) on Friday that she doesn’t share the view that Slovakia is a mafia state.

The president noted that Slovakia is being confronted by revelations of corruption in senior posts, including in the judiciary, but she sees these revelations as a good thing. She welcomed the fact that the findings are being investigated and believes that those responsible will be held accountable.

In her view, Slovakia is country in which mafia-style practices appear every now and then, but this doesn’t mean that the country is a mafia state.

The president had been asked by a journalist how she views the fact that German daily Die Welt on Thursday called Slovakia a mafia state following the Specialised Criminal Court’s acquittal of Marian K. and Alena Zs. in the case of the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova. [Die Welt wrote the following comment: “The shock is great, one thing clearly stems from this: Slovakia is a mafia state, welcome to the club” – ed. note]

“I haven’t registered any doubts from anyone, including those who participated in the trial, that would question the impartiality and independence of the process. Yes, we can disagree with the court’s opinion, we can have different legal opinions. The court’s decision is worthy of respect, however,” said the president.

Caputova pointed out that the verdicts in the case aren’t yet valid and that the Supreme Court is set to deal with the matter. She’s interested in reading the written version of the verdicts as well as the court’s reasoning. “It will be important for me how the verdict is explained; whether the arguments used will be logical, comprehensible, persuasive and compatible with each other,” she stated, explaining that she’ll try to learn from the written document whether the court made an independent, impartial decision or whether a technocratic approach prevailed.

Matovic stated on Friday that he still has the feeling that justice probably took a day off on Thursday. “I believe that it will return from its holiday, and when the Supreme Court makes a decision, we’ll able to say that the verdict is in line with common sense,” he said.

Turning to the label used by Die Welt, Matovic noted that he always condemned this when previous Slovak president Andrej Kiska did the same. “I don’t think that Slovakia has been a mafia state, be it under the governments of Robert Fico or Peter Pellegrini. However, we’re a state that’s often used mafia-style practices. It saddens me to a great extent when any medium calls Slovakia a mafia state,” he said.