Anyone fined for violating COVID-era restrictions later declared unconstitutional will be reimbursed and their offences expunged from their records under a bill passed by the Slovenian parliament on Wednesday.
Between March 2020 and May 2022, over 62,000 infraction proceedings were launched under legislation passed by a right-wing government that was subsequently ruled unconstitutional. The fines issued totalled €5.7 million.
About 30% (just over €1.7 million in fines) had been paid before enforcement was paused after the new government took office in June 2022.
The pledge to end and annul all infraction proceedings and reimburse the fines was one of the main election promises of the Robert Golob government.
Justice Minister Švarc Pipan said the law was aimed at restoring people’s trust in the rule of law. “I am confident that by adopting the law, the state will in some way take moral responsibility and redress the injustices that were committed against citizens through the abuse of criminal law and unconstitutional and excessive encroachment on human rights,” she said.
However, the opposition parties, which were in government in the previous term, disagreed. They argued the pandemic-related measures adopted under their government had been taken to protect people’s health and lives and were in line with EU and World Health Organisation guidance.
The Democrats said the law will only create new injustices under the guise of readdressing injustice. Their MP Branko Grims said it would atone those who had unconstitutionally “incited violence and fuelled intolerance”.
The minister stressed there would be no amnesty for fines for offences with elements of violence. And neither does the bill include offences such as stopping traffic.
(Sebastijan R. Maček | sta.si)
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