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Slovak Government wants battle against extremism to be more effective

18.8.2016 13:50
This collage of images of the
This collage of images of the "People's Party Our Slovakia" leader Marián Kotleba shows him wearing something very similar to the WWII-era uniform of the Hlinka Guard, the militia maintained by the Slovak People's Party in the period from 1938 to 1945, when Slovakia was a client state of Nazi Germany. (Collage: Romea.cz)

Yesterday the Slovak Government approved proposing amendments to the criminal law and the code of criminal procedure in order to more effectively battle manifestations of extremism. The Slovak Justice Ministry announced that only one court will render decisions about such crimes in future, among other innovations.

According to the proposal, it will not just be a crime to promote and support a movement to suppress rights and freedoms, but it will also be a crime to establish such a movement. It will also no longer be necessary to prove the connection between extremist materials and incitement to hatred or violence.

The Slovak Government also proposed including apartheid, or efforts to preserve the domination and oppression of one racial group by another, as an offense. Once the proposal is approved by Parliament, first instance prosecutions of the crime of extremism will be dealt with solely by a Specialized Criminal Court that currently handles the most serious criminal cases.

Last year, courts in the country of five million punished approximately 30 persons convicted of extremist criminal acts, half as many as the previous year. The current coalition Government of Prime Minister Robert Fico set itself the aim of halting the growth in extremism in Slovakia after ultra-right candidates succeeded in the March elections.

According to the Slovak Prosecutor-General, manifestations of extremism have moved into Internet forums and social networking sites, which complicates investigation of the phenomenon. Experts have warned that police investigate some cases of extremism as misdemeanors, for which the perpetrators face only a fine if convicted.

At the beginning of July, the law on the criminal responsiblity of legal persons took effect in Slovakia, which is related to extremist crimes, among others. In Slovakia, political movements and parties have legal subjectivity.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Slovakia, Vláda, krajní pravice



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