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Pahor supports giving army police powers

Borut Pahor. (Photo: Demokracija)

Responding to an initiative by the new government to activate legislation giving the army police powers, President Borut Pahor said in his capacity of commander-in-chief of the Slovenian Armed Forces that he understood the need to give the military additional powers within the bounds of law.

The response comes after Interior Minister Aleš Hojs recently said he was considering proposing the activation of article 37.a of the defence act, which allows the Slovenian Armed Forces to help the police in “broader protection of the state border”.

Activated only if endorsed by a two-thirds majority vote in parliament, it allows soldiers to carry out tasks such as temporarily restricting the movement of persons and taking part in crowd control.

The president’s office said on Monday that Pahor believed that such decision of the National Assembly would be sensible in the given situation, “but must be implemented strictly within the legal framework, for thee months at the most.”

The president separately met with Hojs and Defence Minister Matej Tonin today over the matter, and decided that this is acceptable in circumstances when the country is facing an increase in illegal migration and the coronavirus outbreak.

Pahor noted that all relevant authorities and services, including the police, were giving their best, but that the situation required additional assistance in the protection of the Schengen border.

The president meanwhile believes that there are no reasons for the military to participate in other tasks performed by the police.

Some parties on the left have criticised the idea to give the army limited police powers, as they fear it could be abused.

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