By: Andrej Žitnik (Nova24TV)
As we previously reported, the infamous strategic council for prosecuting hate speech at the invitation of Prime Minister Robert Golob was offered to none other than Nika Kovač, a wild and childish politically biased activist with strong ties to the Levica coalition party. The news of the appointment still resonates in the Slovenian public today – even some leftists shake their heads, while the majority of centre and centre-right followers of the events are convinced that it is a government-run office for the persecution of (ideological) witches.
Dr Boštjan M. Zupančič, a former constitutional judge and former judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, pointed out an interesting legal dilemma, that there is no definition of hate speech in the legal sense. “I repeat: “Hate speech” is a political platitude! “Hate speech” does not legally exist: Art. 11. of the Convention and Article 11 of the Constitution and Art. 297 KZ. The legal doctrine comes from the precedent https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/395/444/ “Clear and present danger”. I launched this myself at the ECHR and I know what I am talking about!”
What is hate speech?
It is a legalistic question of how to “prosecute” something that has no legal definition. Prosecuting an act with a loose definition can quickly lead to pogroms, especially when behind such an institution is the executive branch of government and its loyal political companions who have never hidden their wild political bias. Article 297 of the Slovenian Criminal Code, in accordance with the “clear and present danger” doctrine mentioned by Zupančič, already regulates the issue of speech that could cause danger to an individual or society, namely:
(1) Whoever challenges or incites national, racial, or religious hatred, discord or intolerance or spreads ideas about the superiority of one race over another or provides any assistance in racist activity or denies, diminishes the importance of, approves or advocates genocide, shall be punished by imprisonment for up to two year.
(2) If the act referred to in the previous paragraph is committed by coercion, ill-treatment, jeopardising security, dishonouring national, ethnic, or religious symbols, damaging foreign property, desecrating monuments, memorials or graves, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment for up to five years.
(3) Material and objects that carry the messages referred to in the first paragraph of this article, as well as the tools intended for their production, reproduction, and distribution, shall be taken or their use shall be appropriately disabled.
That is to say, it is only about cases where there is a direct concrete danger that can be proven (read: “I will kill you while you are on your way to work”). We remind you that the state prosecutor recently dismissed a case where doctors reported a patient who threatened “to break everyone’s legs” because the act was not specified (to whom, when, how?!). The prosecutor’s logic is, of course, perverted, since it is a real threat (as opposed to the fiction of hate speech), but it is clear how much justice adheres to the principle of immediate and concrete danger.
The infamous Article 133 of the Criminal Code of the SFRY was a clear indication of what happens if this principle is not followed.
Who will Kovač persecute?
The former Prime Minister and champion of the opposition, Janez Janša, highlighted another problem, which we already reported on yesterday. How will Nika Kovač, the granddaughter of a communist censor, persecute “hate speech” if she herself is a good friend of people who in the past (even according to the criminal definition) threatened and insulted people. Yesterday we singled out her ideological companion and fellow trade unionist Dejan Jefim, who in the previous term even threatened two ministers of Nova Slovenija with violence.
Janša pointed out that penologist Dragan Petrovec, who called Janša’s supporters in front of the court as scumbags, was appointed to the strategic council for hate speech in mockery of everyone. A special form of hypocrisy is the fact that 10 years ago – then 20-year-old up-and-coming activist Nika Kovač – she herself brutally insulted on Facebook. On our portal, we have shown several times how she shamelessly lied to domestic and foreign publications.
What does Golob want?
It seems that by appointing Kovač and Petrovec, Golob is not only announcing that it is his private Sturm Abteilung, but wants to humiliate the right and the centre, saying “what can you do to us, I can do what I want”. Similar to Mayor Zoran Janković, who before the mayoral elections can sovereignly declare Milorad Dodik and Aleksandar Vučić the best politicians for mayor. But Golob works, of course, to the detriment of others. Slovenia is not Ljubljana, and he is not Janković either.