Ombudsman dr. Zdenka Cebasek-Travnik welcomed the proposal by the deputy group Zares (For Real) to amend the existing penal code and introduce stiffer sanctions for hate speech, after the proposed amendment was presented to her by Zares MP Majda Sirca on Monday.
According to Sirca, the motion was a result of previous reports by the ombudsman on the subject of intolerance and the ever more present hate speech.
Dr. Cebasek-Travnik told the press that her office studied the motion closely. It found that the motion followed the observations the ombudsman made in the annual reports in the past.
She believes that people were not aware of hate speech enough. The victims of hate speech cannot file a criminal complaint; according to the current legislation the criminal complaint can only be filed by the state prosecution.
Bostjan Vernik, a law expert from the ombudsman's office, explained that in case the prosecution decides not to press charges in an alleged case of hate speech, the affected group, minority or individual does not have the right to lodge a complaint.
Sirca recalled that the European Commission warned in its reports that Slovenian courts had handed down almost no sentences in the field, partially due to insufficient legislation. She added that cases exist where there was even no trial.