By: Sara Kovač
“Today, the Commission of Inquiry for investigating abuses in the case of Franc Kangler and others came to the concluding act, which is the adoption of the report and the additional report. Before getting to this final act, we have held 17 regular and 26 extraordinary sessions, questioned 32 witnesses and conducted one witness confrontation,” said SDS MP Dejan Kaloh, who is the chairman of the commission. Based on the testimonies of several witnesses, it was indisputably established that the prosecution in as many as 24 criminal proceedings against Franc Kangler was very likely politically motivated.
Namely, in the case of Franc Kangler, the former mayor of Maribor and current State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, the abuses of law enforcement, prosecutor’s offices and courts in Maribor were so extensive and continuous that, as some witnesses testified, it is very likely that the prosecution of the then-very successful right-wing politician in Maribor was coordinated and encouraged by someone from the very top of state politics, in cooperation with his local political opponents.
This finding of the Commission of Inquiry is undoubtedly also confirmed by all subsequent decisions of courts outside the area of the Higher Court in Maribor – of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia, as well as the response of the Maribor District State Prosecutor’s Office, which dismissed 24 criminal charges against Franc Kangler, which were almost serially produced by his former colleagues at the Maribor Police Department, and other accusers.
“During the long wait for the correction of all these injustices, which were inflicted on Mr Kangler by the Maribor law enforcement authorities and the Maribor courts, he lost the mandate of the mayor of Maribor, the mandate of State Councillor, and this subsequently importantly affected his reputation and his health,” chairman of the commission, MP Dejan Kaloh, pointed out.
During the time of Marjan Šarec’s government, filed of deputies were being accessed illegally
Regarding the illegal accessing to police records and handling of personal data, the Commission of Inquiry for investigating abuses in the case of Franc Kangler and others found that the accessing to personal files of deputies and ministers during the term of Marjan Šarec‘s government increased exponentially, especially during the time of formation of the current government of Janez Janša, as testified by witnesses Zdravko Počivalšek, the current Minister of Economic Development and Technology, and SMC MP Monika Gegorčič. The police officer who illegally accessed the personal records of former Minister Karl Erjavec during Minister of the Interior Boštjan Poklukar‘s term was also convicted because of it. In this context, according to Kaloh, we will have to consider restricting access to individual records or personal data of individuals, wherever this access is not strictly necessary for the performance of police work, precisely in order to prevent such abuse in this sensitive area.
Concerning the existence of a possible “spy network,” which was supposedly founded by the former State Secretary for National Security, Damir Črnčec, in connection with Marjan Šarec, the head of the LMŠ party (of which Črnčec is also a member), Kaloh said that the witness Dr Vinko Gorenak, the current State Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, testified that the level of probability that something like this is true and is happening, is very high.
The conclusions that were adopted by the Commission of Inquiry are as follows:
- The National Assembly instructs the Commission of Inquiry for investigating abuses in the case of Franc Kangler and others (hereinafter referred to as the Commission of Inquiry) to forward the report and the additional report on the parliamentary inquiry to the National Bureau of Investigation at the Ministry of the Interior and the Specialised State Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Slovenia (together with the accompanying collected evidence of the Commission of Inquiry) as a request to be submitted – announcing suspicions of criminal offences against unknown perpetrators, for the following crimes: false accusation under Article 283 of the Criminal Code, and abuse of official position and official rights under Article 257 of the Criminal Code.
- On the basis of the findings in the report and the additional report on the parliamentary inquiry of the commission, the National Assembly calls on the competent ministries to prepare appropriate amendments to the laws and regulations to which the findings of the parliamentary inquiry relate, in the following areas:
– preventing the possibility of non-transparent operation of the police and the possibility of police abuse in the early stages of criminal proceedings, in the conduct of investigative actions, house searches, inspections, and in the conduct of the police in relation to suspects and witnesses;
– preventing the possibility of unfounded and illegal access to police records and thus to personal data of individuals, and determining the appropriate sanctions for such actions;
– optimising the provisions governing the house searches, in particular, the presence of two witnesses in the house search (solemn witnesses);
– elimination of systemic errors before the courts in the presentation of evidence and violations of rights of the defence in criminal proceedings;
– ensuring and urgently strengthening the principle of independence and impartiality of trials in criminal proceedings;
– other irregularities arising from the report and the additional report of the Commission of Inquiry and the documentation or evidence which is the basis for the report and the additional report.
Chairman Kaloh also pointed out that the additional report contains a decision announcing the suspicions of criminal offences, but he cannot talk about the details yet. He believes that, also due to the work of this Commission of Inquiry, many citizens will not have greater legal certainty both in pre-trial proceedings as well as in later proceedings in the courts.
Namely, the proposed changes in criminal law will further prevent the possibility of abuse and thus save citizens a long-lasting uphill battle through all possible courts to the final righting of wrongs. “Franc Kangler’s sacrifice over the last decade has been enormous, but in the light of the findings of this commission of inquiry, what needs to be changed urgently to improve the legal certainty of the citizens in pre-trial and criminal proceedings, his sacrifice has also been beneficial. Both reports are going to be discussed at the session of the National Assembly in January, and I believe that both will be confirmed,” concluded the chairman of the Commission of Inquiry, Dejan Kaloh.