Prime Minister Janez Janša answers parliamentary questions
At today’s 19th regular session of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Janez Janša answered parliamentary questions raised by Luka Mesec (the Left), Marko Bandelli (SAB – Party of Alenka Bratušek), Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti (SNS – Slovenian National Party) and Jožef Horvat (NSI – New Slovenia, Christian People's Party).
Left Party Deputy Luka Mesec first called attention to the Prime Minister's tweet about the Srebrenica genocide, suggesting that the Prime Minister should apologise for his tweet.
The Prime Minister responded he was sorry to hear that those who wanted him to apologise for a statement were not even capable of quoting the statement in question. "In 2009, on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I was asked by a renowned international institution to write a study, which was published on 1 December 2009, analysing the events following the fall of the Berlin Wall, including in former Yugoslavia lands, and the reasons that led to the Balkan massacres, including the one in Srebrenica. Based on this study, I was then chosen to lead an international initiative to amend the UN Resolution on Genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly, thanks to the efforts of Polish Jew Raphael Lemkin. In 2012, our initiative received the backing of over 100 world leaders; it attracted international media coverage and was discussed in the UN General Assembly. Since 2009, I have been calling attention to this study every year on the anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, which I did again this year. I did not write it now but 11 years ago," said the Prime Minister. He continued: "I have to say that the arguments from this study have never bothered anyone before and they have never drawn any response in Slovenia. While this was ignored in Slovenia, it was the subject of much international debate." According to the Prime Minister, the Srebrenica massacre was the product of the same evil that was cultivated at the Yugoslav Military Academy in Belgrade. "I studied military science and I know that doctrine, which says that the adversary, be it an aggressor or a class enemy, must be physically destroyed, i.e. killed, murdered. This is the end goal of armed combat. It was the doctrine taught to Ratko Mladić, who perpetrated the massacre in Srebrenica and elsewhere in Bosnia," said Prime Minister Janez Janša. He also said that "some of those involved argued in their defence before the international tribunal that, because no one was held responsible for post-war killings in former Yugoslavia, where tens of thousands of prisoners of war had been executed, they believed they would not be held accountable either and that, in 50 years' time when the graves were uncovered, no one would care anymore. I called attention to these things and these are historical facts."
"As regards the war in Bosnia and Srebrenica, if Slovenia had not helped the Bosniaks when I was minister of defence, providing diplomatic assistance, training for their units and weapons and military equipment, there would have been five Srebrenicas, at least. There is evidence for this," said the Prime Minister, adding that "those who are screaming because of the comparison, being incapable of condemning all crimes equally and measuring them by the same yardstick, are screaming at themselves. If the world were capable of condemning all crimes equally, regardless of which ideology provoked them, there would be no Srebrenica, there would be no Rwanda, there would not have been many other similar genocidal acts in the world," stressed the Prime Minister. "We strive to have the UN Resolution on Genocide properly amended. And as long as killings in the name of one ideology go unpunished and those of another are condemned, genocides will keep happening; there is agreement on that in the civilised world, no one contradicts this except in Slovenia," said Janez Janša.
The Prime Minister also answered Marko Bandelli's question about free public transport for students and care for vulnerable groups. "As far as vulnerable groups are concerned, these vulnerable groups in Slovenia have not received as much joint assistance as in the last few months; not even in the times when there was no epidemic or measures to contain the spread of coronavirus or any similar situations. As regards free public transport for students, we have not suspended it nor have we changed or failed to respect the legal basis, as there is and there has been no legal basis for subsidising public transport during the summer. The resources for subsidising public transport in the summer have been provided by the operators; namely, by the transport companies from the surplus they produced at the beginning of the year or until summer. The problem, which is obvious to everyone, this year was that, due to the epidemic, there was no surplus or resources. And the credit for the fact that, with great efforts from the Ministry of Infrastructure, some resources were found so that this measure could be implemented now should go to the transport companies as well as to the Ministry, which were both committed and motivated to work that out in this situation, which is not exactly optimal," he said. "As for the question of which measures are being developed, we are trying our best to keep the measures as unintrusive as possible. And the less confirmed cases, less sick we have in the wave, we are experiencing now, the less restrictive measures, including those which encroach upon certain rights, will have to be adopted. Nevertheless, it is probably clear to everyone that at this moment no one has the answer to what measures may still be needed this year. Not here, not in Europe, and not in the world as we simply do not know how long this situation will last. All we can do or the utmost we can do is to adapt to the situation, to do everything in our power to limit the number of confirmed cases and sick people, to do everything in our power to limit the number of restrictions consequently arising. The fewer restrictions we have to impose, the less public life and economy will have to come to a halt, the better the public financial situation will be, and the fewer austerity measures will be required," emphasised Janša. He also underlined that it is not Government's intention to adopt measures, even if they prove to be necessary, to restrict the most vulnerable groups. I think that we proved in the recent months that we know where solidarity is required and that we also manifested that solidarity in practice to a great extent.
The Prime Minister then answered Deputy Zmago Jelinčič's question about how the police and the National Bureau of Investigation were working. "As regards the uniformed police, I can say that these last few months have proven that they can deliver in the hardest of situations, that there are some difficulties because of certain excessive burdens, e.g. illegal migration, and that it needs help from the Slovenian Armed Forces," he said and continued that "as regards Criminal Police, it must be said that there are about 900 criminal police officers in Slovenia. About 70 or 80 of them are working at the National Bureau of Investigation. Each criminal police officer has to conduct about 60 criminal offence investigations if we count all criminal offences processed and divide them between 900 criminal police officers. National Bureau of Investigation data, however, show that one criminal police officer, employed by the National Bureau of Investigation, processes one criminal offence as this institution was given the authority to pick and choose which cases to take on in recent years. So, they are now occupied with house searches at the Vice-President of the Government's house, while leaving the suspicious investments into the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant worth millions, tens of millions or even hundreds of millions to the local police. That in itself indicates that this institution is unique in that it does not serve to process criminal offences as a priority according to their importance or relevance to the society or the economic damage caused.
"We tried to reintegrate the National Bureau of Investigation into the Criminal Police Office in 2013, but after that year all efforts were abandoned. And, as regards justified allegations of politicisation within this system, then this institution is certainly at the core of the problem. And since it was set up as a political project with a heavy burden of corruption from the very beginning, the least that needs to be done is to depoliticise this institution. To ensure that the situation will develop in such a way that the law will be observed equally by all, that there will be no first- and second-class citizens, and that they will not set tasks for themselves. As for the question of whether the corruption that was obvious to everyone was sanctioned at the very beginning, you know yourselves that it was not. Mr Jevšek, who was then the director general of the police, is now a Social Democrat (SD) mayor, I think of Murska Sobota. And then this was probably continued by director Goršek, who was also non-political, and his son now heads, or used to head, the SD Youth Forum. That is, it is known from where key officials who created such a situation draw their political roots. In the end, those who were the most responsible for this were not prosecuted at all; a Secretary of State was subjected to some proceedings, but was not convicted either. That is to say, if an institution designed to prosecute the worst forms of crime is not created on the basis of crime, then there is no great hope that it will work, unless it is depoliticised. However, now that we are trying to do that, depoliticisation is being accused of politicisation, even though this institution has been politicised from the very beginning, " said Prime Minister Janez Janša and emphasised that the key problem in the work of the National Bureau of Investigation was the politicisation of the work of the Slovenian criminal police, which is used to deal with political opponents. "Exactly according to the paragraph that the still emeritus professor Ljubo Bavcon wrote in the introductory part of the Criminal Procedure Code sometime in the mid-1980s, namely that the criminal police and the judiciary are means of suppressing the class enemy, i.e. political opponents. Now we have not completely purged these structures in Slovenia of this way of thinking, so we are witnessing selective justice and abuse of state institutions for political purposes," said Prime Minister Janez Janša.
Last but not least, the Prime Minister answered questions from Jožef Horvat from Nova Slovenija (NSI), relating to the operation of the Strategic Council for Debureaucratisation. Janez Janša went on to say that the first report of the Council shows that it is possible to start reducing a certain part of bureaucratic obstacles this year, by starting a new environment with less bureaucracy, especially as concerns taxes, private sector companies, and the environment as early as 1 January next year. It is, of course, a complex work, it cannot be done in one step, and, of course, the Council will continue with its work. If the corona virus situation allows or leaves enough room for manoeuver, the Government will discuss the first debureaucratisation guidelines before the parliamentary recess, so that the drafting of concrete acts or legal solutions can begin in the summer," said the Prime Minister. Personally, I believe that by eliminating most or the bulk of the red tape, Slovenia's gross domestic product can be increased by at least 1%, i.e. as much as is lost due to the many bureaucratic obstacles that are completely unnecessary," said the Prime Minister. He went on to point out that demographic policy is also a complex policy that affects practically everyone, "so we also have this obligation in the coalition agreement to establish a government office for demography, which will coordinate all these necessary measures horizontally." "Strategically, demography is also recognized within the European Union as the most important topic, so it is highlighted at the very top of the list in the European Commission's current five-year term of office. What Slovenia is doing is not an isolated matter, but is dealt with by the vast majority of EU Member States," said Prime Minister Janez Janša. According to Janez Janša, the coalition agreement is clear regarding the subsidising of kindergarten costs for all children that do not have this benefit. "I think that the first working draft of the regulation is ready for coordination between coalition partners, and if everything goes according to plan, this commitment will be realised in the next year," the prime minister concluded.