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This Is Unbelievable – A New Judicial Process Against Janša Has Been Initiated, Just Like Every Other Time Before The Elections

“Another announcement of a new judicial process just before the elections. Just like every time before, since 2008,” President of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Janez Janša, wrote on the social network X, saying that the regime had once again used any and all available means against him – with the exception of physical liquidation.

With the announcement of the trial to be held at the Celje District Court, Janez Janša recalled that in the run-up to this year’s European elections, intimidation by the police, the prosecutor’s office and the courts could be felt, in addition to the raid of the premises of the media outlet Nova24TV, the violation of the rules of procedure in the case of the recognition of Palestine, illegal polling stations, etc.

Patria, Trenta

Before almost every election to the National Assembly, our judicial system gets involved in the electoral race, even though it has the status of an autonomous and independent branch of government under the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. A serious and democratic state that follows the rule of law would take a hard look at the proceedings against political representatives, more specifically against the SDS party leader Janša and several former prime ministers, if it had an independent judiciary. However, this never actually happens.

It is important to note that the high-profile Patria affair influenced three separate elections to the National Assembly – namely, in 2008, when Drago Kos, Milan Kučan and their aides triggered the “big bang,” and then prosecutors and judges took over afterwards. After that, all the high-profile proceedings were timed to happen before the 2011 and 2014 elections to the National Assembly, and before the latter, Janša was even jailed, setting a real precedent. It was shocking that this did not happen, for example, in Russia, but in a European Union Member State. Many jurists have highlighted the belief that all the elections were unfair, as the judicial mills had a significant impact on the democratic process, with the victories of the left in the elections. Just before the last elections to the National Assembly, in 2022, another “coincidence” occurred: the criminal complaint in the Trenta case became final, as the extra-judicial chamber of the Celje District Court rejected all the objections, so that the trial could start. Meanwhile, the police investigation in connection with this case was launched before the 2018 elections.

Invitation to a hearing just before the European elections

The invitation for the newest trial, which Janša enclosed in his post on X, states that he has been summoned to the main hearing in a criminal case against him and others for a criminal offence, i.e. abuse of position or rights. “You are invited to appear before the court for the purpose of defending yourself,” the invitation reads, also reminding Janša that he has the right to take on a lawyer, who may also be present at the hearing. They also pointed out that they would not postpone the hearing if the defence lawyer did not appear or if the defence lawyer was not called until the main hearing, unless the defence is compulsory.

The article in question – Article 244 of the Criminal Code, which talks about the Abuse of position or rights, states the following:

(1) Whoever, in the course of carrying out a commercial activity, with intent to obtain pecuniary advantage for him- or herself or another person or to cause pecuniary damage, takes advantage of his or her position or oversteps the limits of his or her rights, or fails to perform his or her duty, without this being indicative of any other offence, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years.

(2) If the act referred to in the preceding paragraph has resulted in a large pecuniary advantage or damage to property and the perpetrator intended to obtain such pecuniary advantage for him- or herself or another person or to cause such pecuniary damage to another, he or she shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of between one and eight years.

(3) If the act referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article was committed with the intention that the perpetrator should obtain a non-pecuniary benefit for him- or herself or for another person, the perpetrator shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.

As is customary, the invitation to court also reminded Janša of his right to free legal aid, in accordance with the provisions of the law pertaining to said free legal aid, to submit evidence and other motions, and to request the exclusion of the President of the Chamber or of any relevant evidence, provided that this did not constitute a manifest delay of the proceedings or an abuse of rights. They stressed that he must respond to the invitation and reminded him of the excusable reasons for his absence. “If you fail to appear at the main hearing, even though you have been duly summoned, and the court fails to excuse your absence, the court may order that you be brought by force and may also order your detention in order to ensure your presence at the main hearing,” the invitation read. It also read that in the event of the defendant not showing up, the main hearing could also be held in his absence.

There has been no shortage of criticism

The announcement of the new trial against Janša on the social network X was met with a series of criticisms that are more than eloquent in themselves:

“Slovenia has become a madhouse!!!”
“I hope you will not go down the path of Svetlana Tihanovska, who has become a political exile. We are getting closer and closer to Belarus.”
“What is it this time?”
“And this will continue until judges are held financially accountable for their mistakes, whether intentional or unintentional.”

Ž. N.

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