Natisni vsebino

Ombudsman seeks constitutional review of a law expanding army powers

03.02.2016 15:11
Category: work and news, From press conferences

The Human Rights Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer initiated Wednesday a constitutional review of legislative provisions expanding the powers of the army in the face of the refugee crisis. The office on the other hand decided against challenging the legal basis for the erection of the border fence.

The ombudsman was prompted to act against giving the army police powers by the Ljubljana-based Radio Študent, which had unsuccessfully attempted to organise a referendum on the issue.

Deputy Ombudsman Ivan Šelih explained that while the ombudsman did not share the radio's view that the army should not perform additional tasks, it agreed that the additional powers were too vaguely defined in the law.

He highlighted the powers concerning group and crowd control, which are not even defined in detail in police rules. The office also sees issues related to oversight, accountability and a lack of complaint mechanisms.

Thus it is proposing that the Constitutional Court strike down the contentious provisions and hold their execution until a final decision. Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer said an even faster solution could be secured if the government proposed changes to the act.

The ombudsman also decided against a challenge to the act on the control of the state border, which presents the basis for the border fence.

This review had been proposed by a civil initiative from the border region of Bela krajina, but the office believes that the act is not at odds with the Constitution. It does agree that the execution of the measures is questionable, which is why it has issued a few proposals to the government.

These include damage payments related to the fence and a revision of the need for the fence in certain spots, with the ombudsman feeling that the way the fence is set up could mean an excessive encroachment of the freedom of movement.

It indicated that using razor wire could be a disproportionate measure and violate human rights, which is why it expects the government to adopt appropriate measures, possibly by even removing the wire and replacing it with softer measures.

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