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Slovenia Is The Only Country To Pardon Those Who Knowingly Prolonged The Health Catastrophe

“The measures were practically the same all over the world. But only in Slovenia have we forgiven the protesters and thugs who knowingly violated the measures in question and thus prolonged the health catastrophe. To the derision of all the nurses and doctors in triage who sometimes worked for up to 20 hours a day,” said political analyst Mitja Iršič, who believes that the recent decision of the Minister of Justice to acquit the protesters and repay the fines they had to pay, is a measure that could lead to no one following the rules in the next crisis.

The global spread of what was known back then as the new coronavirus prompted governments to impose strict measures and restrictions on their citizens in the hope that stopping – or at least slowing – the spread of the pandemic could save national healthcare systems from collapse. Governments around the world imposed severe penalties on those who broke the imposed isolation or other rules that could potentially put the more vulnerable, especially the elderly or those with pre-existing health problems, at risk. The fact is that many governments around the world adopted the same measures, with offenders being punished and police officers praised for doing their job – it is only here that we are seeing the opposite, namely, that the police are being demonised and offenders rewarded.

China was the first country to introduce aggressive measures to control the spread of Covid-19 – it closed its cities and ordered tens of millions of people to go into quarantine. Beijing used its mass surveillance systems to monitor people’s movements and track the progress of the virus. Those who broke the rules and endangered others were quarantined. In many respects, China is a country that should not be used as an example to follow, but other countries in Europe also had strict rules. Italy had the highest number of deaths at the beginning of the pandemic, and therefore, strict measures to prevent the spread of the disease, and thus deaths, were more than necessary. Violators were fined or even imprisoned. The same was true in Spain, which fined people large sums of money and even imprisoned those who broke the laws on the state of emergency detention. It was no different in France, where, in addition to the measures mentioned above, the government sent around 100,000 extra police officers onto the streets to make people obey the rules and try to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

Rewarded for their vile actions

Globally, the situation during the pandemic was equally dire everywhere, and the virus equally dangerous to everyone, and at the time, all governments resorted to any means necessary to take effective action, including Slovenia, which was led by the Janša government at the time. It acted like other countries around the world, working for the good of the people with the tools at its disposal. Of course, it used the police, because protecting people and punishing offenders is its primary task. That is why it seems so far-fetched for the Golob government to be appalled by the previous government’s work during the coronavirus crisis, when it was actually just doing its job. And instead of being grateful to the police for doing their job during that period of crisis, the current Minister of Justice, Dominika Švarc Pipan, has chosen to make fun of them instead. How else can we interpret the demonisation of the police at the time and the amnesty for those who terrorised others during the protests? Namely, some prominent individuals not only verbally called for the death of Janez Janša and the ministers of his government, but also physically assaulted some journalists.

The organisers of the protests deliberately remained anonymous at the time, so that they did not have to take responsibility for the security and damages caused. Today, it is known to everyone who they are, and even exhibitions are being organised for these reprehensible acts. “This does not only apply to some random participants. Fines are even being paid back to the ORGANISERS of the unreported and illegal protests which happened during the epidemic and included death threats and physical attacks on police officers, journalists, cameramen and bystanders. The government, via its Minister of Justice Dominika Švarc Pipan, is rewarding organised violence,” wrote Janez Janša on Twitter.

This is only possible in our country and only under the current government, as nothing like this has happened in any other European country, as political analyst Mitja Iršič said, who wrote on Twitter: “Is there any other country in the European Union, or even in the world, where those who deliberately violated the anti-coronavirus measures, who caused the deaths of many elderly people, have received a global amnesty for their psychopathic behaviour?” Iršič added that “the measures were practically the same all over the world. But only in Slovenia have we pardoned the protesters who knowingly violated them and thus prolonged the health catastrophe. To the derision of all the nurses and doctors in triage who sometimes worked for up to 20 hours a day. We have thus clearly demonstrated that we are a country of lawlessness, where political interests triumph over both law and common sense. We can only hope that there will not be another pandemic any time soon, because no one will follow the measures anymore”.

Future epidemics will be even more catastrophic because of the Minister’s decision

What is most ironic about all this is that Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan said that she “believes that this is one of the most important steps towards restoring confidence in the rule of law, which is one of the fundamental principles of the Constitution”. And as usual, the Golob government has probably found a way to fulfil its objectives under the guise of working for the good of the people and human rights. Yet, in this context, let us recall the words of the United Nations rapporteur, who said in the past that while the right to protest is indeed an individual’s right, violence during protests is not protected even by international human rights. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai, said: “The right to peaceful assembly must not be used as an excuse for violence. Expressing opinions or dissatisfaction is necessary, and full respect for the right to peaceful assembly must be ensured. But in this context, the killing of innocent people and the violent destruction of property are totally unacceptable.”

This means that rioters and those who behave violently have to be punished appropriately, which is what punishment is all about – ensuring that the unwanted action is not repeated. And this is precisely where the danger lies in the decision of the Minister of Justice, who only recently announced pardons for offences committed during the dire epidemiological situation, adding that fines that have already been paid are to be reimbursed. Namely, both the Minister of Justice Švarc Pipan and the Golob government are convinced that there was no adequate legal basis for the fines. The government will thus exonerate those who have endangered the health and lives of all citizens through irresponsible, reckless behaviour. This, in their view, has significantly undermined the rule of law because of the police and the government’s use of “excessive and unconstitutional repression through the criminal law during the epidemic of Covid-19.”

Tanja Brkić

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