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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Lawyer Terpin: The Government Wants to Fulfil Its Promise to the Protesters, But It Is Against the Law!

By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv

“We did not expect measures that only benefit a handful of privileged people from a government that promised huge changes to the benefit of all citizens. It turns out that the privileged few can even break the law, but nothing happens to them,” lawyer Damjian Terpin commented on the amnesty of protesters. Meanwhile, former Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, was shocked by the move of his successor, Tatjana Bobnar.

At the pre-election debates, the government of Robert Golob announced major social changes, but it started off rather badly. The first days of the new government have been marked by a personnel tsunami, which brought about many already written-off political personnel and created a dangerous legal precedent. The new government has decided to carry out the promised amnesty for the offences and fines imposed on the so-called Friday protesters, which gathered every Friday during the previous government’s term. According to Dominika Švarc Pipan, the Ministry of Justice wants to propose to the government a revision of all government decrees that were adopted to control the epidemic. The purpose of the audit will be to assess which offences had been identified on an appropriate legal basis and which were not. The formal process would then be followed by an amnesty for those who were, in their opinion, unfairly sanctioned.

Along with the process of abolishing misdemeanour proceedings and fines that have already been imposed in certain cases, the process of withdrawing the compensation lawsuits, filed against the organisers of the anti-government protests that happened during the previous government’s term, is also underway. As we know, the protests were often violent, and the participants in the rallies left tangible material damage behind. Compensation lawsuits have been filed based on the costs incurred in protecting the protests, but they will clearly not reach a judicial epilogue. Namely, the Ministry of the Interior, which is now headed by Tatjana Bobnar, withdrew its consent for the lawsuits filed by the police against the organisers. Therefore, the government will pass the costs on to taxpayers, including those who did not agree with the protests.

We asked the previous Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, whether this is some kind of thanks to the protesters for their help in enthroning the government of Robert Golob. “This is not about thanking them – it is about repayment. This is how the new government will repay them financially and compensate them for their work. Those who followed the protests saw many banners and printed materials being passed among the participants, and all of this has to be repaid now.” The former Minister was also critical of the new Interior Minister. He claims that the arbitrary withdrawal of consent for the lawsuits, filed against the organisers of the protests, is shocking.

Damijan Terpin: “The government’s intentions should be investigated by the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption”
A lawyer from Gorizia, Damijan Terpin, assesses the government’s intention as the first of its kind and full of corruption risks. “This is the same thing as dropping one ton of oil into the Piran Bay. The police would identify this as a violation, the oil slick would then be cleaned up in the next 14 days, and the next government, headed by a new minister, would say that the compensation will not have to be paid, because the perpetrator was their friend.” The Gorizia lawyer also pointed out the pre-election promises of the current coalition partners, who at the time promised amnesty to potential voters if they got to power. He said: “In the current legal framework, this is an extremely suspicious move, which should be taken seriously and looked into by the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption. This government promised them that it will do this, and now it wants to fulfil its promise, but this is against the law.” According to the lawyer, the government of Robert Golob has already completely overturned all of its pre-election promises of the rule of law, with one of its first measures.

The lawyer also commented on the recent move by the Ministry of the Interior, which decided to withdraw its consent for the lawsuits for damages, filed against the organisers of the protests. The new Minister, Tanja Bobnar, tried to justify the move in the media – claiming that there is no legal basis for lawsuits for damages and that the offences had already been sanctioned by imposing misdemeanour fines. However, Terpin disagrees with the Minister. He said that if a misdemeanour was identified and a fine was imposed, it means that there was a legal basis for the fine, and it was this legal basis that then formed the basis for the lawsuit for damages. He also pointed out a logical shortcoming, namely, if the legal basis did not exist, then the government would not need the announced new law, based on which they intend to declare an amnesty for the misdemeanours and damages.

A dangerous precedent
When asked whether the so-called amnesty is a dangerous precedent, the Gorizia lawyer replied that the government’s move could be understood as a dangerous signal to other citizens, who could start not caring about regulations and laws, counting on the next government to simply erase them. He added: “We did not expect measures that only benefit a handful of privileged people from a government that promised huge changes to the benefit of all citizens. It turns out that the privileged few can even break the law, but nothing happens to them.”

 

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