By: Ivan Šokić / Nova24tv
On the 13th of January 2022, with five votes in favour and two votes against, the Constitutional Court decided to reject Vida Svetek’s constitutional appeal against the judgment of the Supreme Court. Namely, Svetek, who is the daughter of the convicted Viktor Habič, filed a request for protection of legality against the verdict of the so-called “Extraordinary Military Court of the National Liberation Army and Partisan Squads of Slovenia,” which sentenced several people accused of high treason in staged trials in Kočevje. These were staged trials that lacked even a shred of credibility, and the current composition of the Constitutional Court does not seem to care about the actual law and is instead doing everything in its power to keep the legacy of the communist revolution intact.
“Almost five years after the filing of the constitutional complaint, the Constitutional Court has recently decided on the matter of the Kočevje trials. It ruled 5:2 to the detriment of the applicant. Dr Pavčnik and I voted against this decision,” Constitutional Court Judge, Dr Klemen Jaklič, wrote in his latest column on the Ius Info web portal.
Jaklič pointed out that Vida Svetek, the daughter of Viktor Habič, who was convicted and executed at a staged trial in Kočevje, still has the option of appealing to the European Court of Human Rights, but that it is shameful in itself that Vida Svetek had to wait five years for a ruling to finally be made by the Constitutional Court, due to the bizarre decisions of the Constitutional Court Judges, who decided on other cases, related to covid-19, ahead of everything else and without a clear reason, as the lower-instance court could have also made rulings on these.
In addition to Jaklič’s separate dissenting opinion, Dr Rok Čeferin and Dr Katja Šugman Stubbs also wrote their separate affirmative opinions on the case – with a delay. While Jaklič explained why the partisan court could not have been considered an actual court at all, as it was not competent, Čeferin listed the reasons why the same partisan court was right in sentencing Viktor Habič to death. The whole thing gives off the impression of Čeferin and Šugman Stubbs only writing their separate opinions in response to Jaklič’s opinion, and not as their own reasoning for the verdict.
The Constitutional Court is protecting communist executioners
There were a number of irregularities in the trial against Habič, Jaklič noted. The Kočevje trials took place between the 9th and 11th of October 1943. “After the war, another person was tried at the Military Court in Ljubljana and also sentenced for what Habič was previously sentenced and had to die for. Namely, it was Jakob Mojškrc, a person with the same name and surname as the witness who testified against Viktor Habič in the Kočevje trial.” Habič was also accused of betraying his brother Alojz Habič, who was allegedly shot by the Italians. It turned out that Habič did not have a brother Alojz at all, but that his only brother was actually killed by the partisans in Veliki Osolnik.
“In the trial that was not actually a trial, Habič was sentenced to death in Kočevje, where the fundamental rights of those who were sentenced to death in an expedited procedure were not taken into account – and this applies for many others. The sentenced person was carried out even before the verdict was served to him. The convict also had no right to appeal, no right of defence, no right to an independent court. His daughter, after exhausting the regular legal remedies, lodged a constitutional complaint and demanded the annulment of such a “judgment,” which really was not a judgment at all, in order to clear her father’s name in her old age. The appellant is clearly right, and in a free and democratic society, she should have succeeded with her constitutional appeal, but because of the unusual composition of the Constitutional Court, which has decided to pursue its goal of defending the abusers of the recent Slovenian history and the multifaceted privileges that still derive from it, instead of trying to create a true, free democratic society, this elementary justice of civilisation cannot be achieved (yet),” Jaklič wrote.
Jaklič put a lot of emphasis on the practice in the civilised world. The actions of the Yugoslav Communists, who appropriated partisanship and tainted it with their savage actions, thus shine in a new, even more barbaric light. Jaklič also pointed out that those who were involved in the Kočevje process did not have any judicial power at all, and after the war, according to the generally accepted principles of civilised nations, they should not have it. “The communist state of Yugoslavia with its judicial apparatus (which was later also inconsistent with the principles of civilised nations, as it was not established by a democratically elected legislator, and therefore was not an independent judiciary), was established later, and at the same time, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia had also not crumbled before the Tito-Šubašić agreement from the 16th of June 1944, and the international recognition of the Allies.”
A constructed process, unworthy of a civilised nation
Jaklič believes that in the Kočevje trial, there was no court making judgments – instead, this was “a classic example of extrajudicial killings by revolutionary groups done outside the formalised state, which has historically been characteristic of uncivilised nations.” According to Jaklič, the Kočevje trials are, according to the legal qualifications, “a war crime and a crime against humanity.” The court that made the judgments there was not independent, but was in the hands of paramilitary communist revolutionaries, and as such, cannot be considered a court at all in the civilised world. In the trial against Habič, a number of other principles were also violated, which were never a question for the civilised nations. Habič was served with the indictment just hours before his trial, and his lawyer was also his interrogator. The judge in the trial was previously the prosecutor in the trial against Habič.
Habič was also deprived of the right to appeal, as he was shot immediately after his conviction. Habič was dead before he even received the verdict. This, according to Jakič, was “in contradiction with even the explicit provision from the procedural regulation, which was used by the ‘court’ from the Kočevje trials itself. This provision required that the judgment be ‘explained.’ Moreover, such a violation also trampled on the fundamental principle of civilised nations that requires a written explanation for a death sentence. Such an explanation is not only intended for the first instance court and the exercising of the right to appeal by the person who was convicted but should have also given the appropriate information to the convicted person.”