President Zuzana Caputova said she will consider all options to prevent the amendment to the Penal Code from coming into effect, and called its passing by Parliament on Thursday ‘bad news for Slovakia and all its citizens.‘
She did not hide her opinions about the amendments to the Criminal Code. These provide for the abolition of the special prosecutors office for corruption and organized crime; lower sentences for a number of crimes, expanding the possibility of early release on parole; and reducing the statute of limitations for certain crimes.
In a statement, she said: "I find it unacceptable to have such fundamental changes to the state's penal policy made without proper legislative process. Our laws enable the use of fast-tracked legislative procedure only as a special tool, to be used only under conditions specified by the law. I'm convinced that no such reason existed in this case," she said.
But her objections were not limited to the procedural.
"Participating in the drafting of this bill and voting for its amending proposals were lawmakers set to benefit from the bill in their own criminal prosecutions, which I find equally unacceptable," she said.
Other reactions to the bill
Irena Bihariova, of the PS opposition party, said: “The fact that it was prepared by people who are in a conflict of interest while at the same time some of them voted for this bill is at least something that the Constitutional Court could be interested in.“
If the President vetoes the bill, it could ultimately end up before the Constitutional Court.
Zuzana Stevulova of PS said shorter statutes of limitations will not only apply for economic crimes, but also for rape. "It's a total trampling of the rights of victims," she said.
Michal Simecka, leader of Progressive Slovakia, called the bill frightening. "It endangers the property and security of all people in Slovakia, it caters to criminals, thieves and, as we learnt today, also rapists," he said.
Milan Majersky, of the Christian Democrat party KDH, also in opposition, said: "With today's decision, we have completely broken through the bottom and the National Council has fallen completely to the bottom of the bottom. We have never experienced such a feeling of shame."
Justice Minister Boris Susko, who was on the same TV program with Bihariova, said the new laws would make Slovakia better and fairer for all its people, because it protects human rights. Shortening the statute of limitations is in line with other European countries, he said.
Demonstrations all over Slovakia
People demonstrated on Thursday evening in many cities and towns in Slovakia, including Poprad, Roznava, Nove Zamky, Bardejov, Trstena, Namestovo, Humenne, Prievidza, Ruzomberok, Rimavska Sobota, Lucenec.