Natisni vsebino

2.1. Constitutional rights

Annual Report 1997

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

In the area of constitutional rights there was a slight increase in the number of complaints received compared with 1996, although this area does not account for a large share of cases in absolute terms, remaining at 1.5 per cent. Various matters are classified under this area which involve basic constitutional rights and cannot be classified under any other classification area. Cases are classified into the following specific areas: children’s rights, the rights of minorities, equal opportunities, ethics of public communication, the rights of assembly and association, the security services and the protection of personal data. The biggest increase in the number of cases was in the area of protection of personal data, while in other areas the number of complaints fell or remained at the same level as the previous year.

Some of the complaints in this area involve: regulation of local government, referendums and self-imposed local contributions, protection of privacy in connection with telephone conversations, exercise of the right to vote, problems involving Romanies in individual areas, and issues which could involve a violation of the basic rights of the individual in various fields. We also received a large number of complaints which, in substance, constitute a proposal for a review of the constitutionality of regulations or other general acts, in which we have explained to the complainants the possibilities for lodging a complaint with the Constitutional Court. 

Ethics of the public communication and “trial by media”

In 1997 we again came across cases in which the responsible internal affairs administrative bodies had disclosed data revealing the identity of accused persons. In view of the fact that the Human Rights Ombudsman only has jurisdiction, in accordance with the law and the Constitution, to examine the actions of state bodies and bodies carrying out public powers, in such cases we made further inquiries at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and informed the complainants as to the legal channels available to them in the event of interference by the media in their personal rights. We believe that in such cases a compensation action based on the Law on Obligational Relations is more appropriate than a criminal prosecution.

In two complaints made to us by two managers in commercial companies, in respect of which the internal affairs bodies lodged criminal charges based on their findings and announced them at news conferences, we demanded from the Ministry of Internal Affairs further clarification of the manner in which the reporters were informed.

The minister replied that the internal affairs bodies acted in an established manner, in accordance with the organisation of the work and the policy guidelines of the ministry. On the basis of certain clues from information given (the name of the company and the position of the responsible person) it was possible to determine which person was concerned, although this should only have been known to those people who were already familiar with the case. In response to this the minister stated that the disclosure of the identity of the suspect in both cases was the work of the reporters and editors and that it did not come from the information supplied by those responsible at the Administration for Internal Affairs. The minister substantiates the informing of the public of findings in the area of economic crime by referring to the public interest in these phenomena, and states that individuals who take over the management or assume a managerial role in companies with public capital do so in the name of all the anonymous owners of that public capital, in other words the citizens of the Republic of Slovenia, who have an interest in public supervision of those individuals being carried out.

We do not believe to be acceptable the practice whereby internal affairs bodies disclose in certain cases the initials, position and company where an individual is employed, thus enabling the media to find out who is involved, and in other cases only such data as cannot in fact reveal an individual’s identity. Individuals having different positions in society cannot be a reason for differentiation when it comes to enabling interference with their personal rights. It is true that the denunciation is a precisely determined phase in the pre-trial procedure, but we believe that this calls for the principle of the presumption of innocence to be abided by even more strictly. This is a particularly problematic matter because in this phase of the pre-trial procedure the internal affairs bodies inform the public of their findings, while on this basis the state prosecutors generally do not inform the public of their decisions, i.e. whether or not to prefer charges. The public nature of the criminal procedure is fully guaranteed under the Constitution and the law only through a judicial hearing in public. These cases which we dealt with show that in certain instances the ministry is not sticking to its own principles when it permits the disclosure of certain details relating to individuals which enable them to be recognised. 

Protection of personal data

Last year we received several complaints relating to protection of personal data. We intervened in certain cases in accordance with our statutory powers. In several cases we informed the complainants that they could turn directly to the Inspector for the Protection of Personal Data working within the Ministry of Justice, and explained the possibilities for legal protection. In cases where the state of facts was clear from the complaint and the documentation submitted we passed the matter on directly to the Inspector for the Protection of Personal Data. In most cases those accused of a violation were not state bodies or bodies carrying out public powers.

As well as cases involving a suspicion of interference in the personal data of individuals we also received even more complaints where individuals were unable to obtain data to which they were entitled under the law. In the 1996 report we described several specific examples illustrating this problem which generally resulted from an overly narrow and strict interpretation of the Law on the Protection of Personal Data. We established that not only is the practice sometimes inappropriate but that in numerous areas the legislation is not in line with the strict criteria set out in the Law on the Protection of Personal Data. We also established that in one year there has been no change as far as this situation is concerned. 

The right to information

We received a complaint from a citizen who wished to obtain information on the substance of conversations held by the Prime Minister and another minister with senior Church officials. The minister only provided him with the information that was made available to the media, which the complainant claimed was not complete. The Office of the Prime Minister did not reply to the proposal. The complainant referred to the provision contained in Article 24 of the Law on the Media, which provides that state bodies, local authorities, individuals holding public office, public institutions, public companies and other persons performing a public service shall ensure that the public is informed about their work by providing timely, complete and accurate information on issues concerning their field of work. The second paragraph of this article stipulates that these bodies must adopt enactments to regulate the way in which the public nature of their work is ensured and the way in which information is provided to the public, and appoint a person responsible for ensuring that their work is public.

We passed on our opinion to the complainant, which is that this provision in the Law on the Media concerns the relationship between the source of the information and the journalist, and does not signify complete implementation of the provision contained in the second paragraph of Article 39 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. In response to our inquiries the private office of the Prime Minister replied that the Government had satisfied the complainant’s request in its official reports issued through the media and that they did not deliberate his application in accordance with the provisions of the administrative procedure because, they claimed, it did not concern a decision being made about the rights, obligations or legal interests of individuals. We advised the complainant to exercise his constitutional right by filing an action in an administrative dispute in accordance with the Law on Administrative Disputes. Once this legal remedy is exhausted he would have the opportunity to exercise his constitutional right by lodging a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia.

In the second paragraph of Article 39, the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia provides everyone with the right to obtain information of a public nature for which they have a statutory legal interest, except in cases determined by law. The right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority (Article 10 of the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms), or the right to freely seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds (Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), clearly falls under fundamental human rights. We have established that this constitutional provision is not encapsulated in the law, and it is difficult to put it into practice directly because in two elements it contains a referral to statutory regulation. It is our view that this constitutional provision regulates a very important democratic acquisition, often referred to as the policy of open government, and so in our work in the future we intend to devote more attention to the implementation of this right, particularly from the point of view of transparency and openness of the state bodies as far as information of a public nature is concerned in respect of all citizens and not merely reporters, to whom this right is extended under the Law on the Media. 

Monitoring the election of the president of the republic on 23 November 1997

Duty service on the day of the election

As we have done at other elections, this time we again set up a permanent duty service with a freephone line available during the election period. This time we received 76 calls, which is a lot more than on previous occasions. As last year, this time the largest number of calls we received related to violation or suspected violation of the so-called “period of silence” prior to the election in which no political advertising is permitted. Generally we directed the complainants to the duty service at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which was able to continue the procedure or take action in accordance with the Law on Election Campaigning. The second largest group of callers were those unable to exercise their right to vote because they were suddenly taken ill or due to other personal circumstances. We explained to most of these callers the provisions of the Law on Elections regarding postal voting and voting at home and directed them to the relevant constituency electoral commission to enable them to vote at home if was still possible. There was also a surprisingly large number of calls from voters disturbed by the “parallel elections” carried out by pollsters wanting the voters to repeat their vote outside the polling station. Some of them were not aware that this would be happening and were interested in finding out if in fact it was legal. Others complained of the inappropriate behaviour of some of the pollsters. But most of the telephone calls concerned various real or suspected irregularities with the actual conduct of the election.

Based on the telephone calls we received we found a large degree of sensitivity among Slovenian citizens as far as the proper conduct of elections is concerned because they even highlighted numerous minor circumstances which they thought could affect the correctness of the conduct of the election. But despite the large number of calls we did not come across any serious irregularities which could have affected the outcome of the election or which required us to take direct action.

Postal voting

Even before the election itself we received a number of complaints relating to the exercising of the right to vote. We also received a complaint from a citizen who because of illness and old age was in care outside the municipality in which he is a permanent resident. He wanted to exercise his right to vote at the presidential election and so he sent an application for a postal vote in good time, two weeks before the vote. Initially, the constituency electoral commission did not reply in writing to the application but, having inquired with the State Electoral Commission, told the complainant over the telephone that the law did not envisage postal voting in such circumstances and therefore they did not send him the electoral materials by post. The complainant then turned to us for help.

We believed that the complaint was well-founded and so we sent a proposal to the constituency electoral commission suggesting that it allow the person concerned to vote by post and send him the relevant material. Following our intervention, the person concerned received a written reply from the constituency electoral commission in which they informed him that they were unable to approve his application for a postal vote pursuant to the provision set out in Article 81, paragraph 3, of the Law on Elections.

We believe that in this instance the constituency electoral commission and the State Electoral Commission applied an interpretation of this provision in the Law on Elections in a way that was too narrow and that they were not justified in rejecting the application for a postal vote. The law does in fact provide that people in care in old people’s homes who do not have permanent residence there and voters receiving treatment in hospital may also vote provided they inform the relevant electoral commission no later than seven days before the date of the ballot, but it does not follow from an interpretation of the language and the purpose of this provision that the legislators’ intention was to completely exclude other categories of inhabitants who find themselves in a similar position. It is a safer assumption that in listing categories of people who are entitled to a postal vote the legislators unintentionally overlooked those categories of voters who would be entitled to exercise their vote in this manner but are not actually in an old people’s home or a hospital.

The principle of equality requires equal treatment of those who are in an equal position and different treatment where the states of facts are different. On this basis we believe that people receiving care should be in an equal position irrespective of whether they are in a state institution, a home run by concession, a private home or with their family. Differentiation on this basis is, in our opinion, without foundation and derives from an overly narrow interpretation of the Law on Elections to the National Assembly. A comprehensive solution to this question will only be possible through an amendment to the Law on Elections to the National Assembly that removes the current unjustified differentiation as to which voters are able to exercise their right to vote by post.

Elections to the National Council

We also received a number of complaints in connection with elections to the National Council, although there were less of these which is understandable given the indirect nature of these elections. The day before the voting a representative elected to the electoral body for election of members of the National Council came to our office. She said that as a disabled person in a wheelchair she would be unable to participate directly in the electoral assembly and the elections in premises not equipped for disabled access. On the same day we sent a proposal to the State Electoral Commission stating that they should do everything within their power to ensure that no voters were deprived of their right to vote because of physical handicap. We were informed that our proposal had been taken into account and that the elections were being held in premises where there were no architectural obstacles to disabled voters. 

Request for a review of the constitutionality of the Law on Political Parties and the Law on Elections to the National Assembly

In 1996, in connection with an investigation of a complaint made by a political party, the ombudsman lodged a request for a review of the constitutionality of Article 8, paragraph 5, of the Law on Political Parties and Article 53a of the Law on Elections to the National Assembly. The first of these laws provides that the name of a party may not contain the name of a foreign country or a foreign party or of a foreign legal or natural person. The second determines that the name of a list of candidates may not contain the name of a foreign country or a foreign party or a foreign natural or legal person, nor the symbols and abbreviations used by them.

The political party which lodged the complaint was registered and had been functioning in the Republic of Slovenia since 1991 in accordance with the Law on Political Association. Following the enactment of the new Law on Political Parties (published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 62/94) it was required to submit an application for re-registration. On 5 December 1995 the Ministry of Internal Affairs rejected the application, stating that the name of the party contained the name of a foreign political party. The party then instituted an administrative dispute and lodged a constitutional complaint. On 24 October 1996 the Constitutional Court rejected the constitutional complaint because all avenues of legal remedy had not been exhausted.

Pursuant to a request lodged by the ombudsman in accordance with Article 23, paragraph 1, sixth indent, of the Law on the Constitutional Court, on 20 November 1997 the Constitutional Court decided, in resolution No. U-85/96 of 20 November 1997, to stop proceedings for a review of the constitutionality of these two laws. The Constitutional Court justified its decision to stop the proceedings by the fact that in an administrative dispute the Supreme Court had found in favour of the plaintiff (the political party) and had annulled the decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to reject the party’s registration. It considered that this ruling ensured respect for constitutionality in proceedings before the administrative bodies and the courts because both the administrative bodies and especially the courts may, through a suitable interpretation of an unclear law, ensure that such law is applied in accordance with the Constitution. Whenever the interpretation of a statutory norm in proceedings before the competent court ensures that that norm is applied in accordance with the Constitution, the opinion of the Constitutional Court is that there is no need for it to rule from the point of view of legal protection.

The Constitutional Court therefore took the position that where in a specific case the interpretation of a law is to the benefit of the affected party, there is consequently no need for it to rule on the constitutionality of the disputed provisions of that law.

We believe that this position is a contentious one. A violation of the Constitution and the law had already occurred because in this specific case the political party was unable to participate in the elections; and the existing text allows further violations to take place. It is difficult to agree with the reasoning that an appropriate (broad) interpretation of a law is sufficient assurance that similar violations will not occur again.

By stopping the procedure the Constitutional Court avoided making a decision on the constitutionality of the disputed provisions of the law and on serious questions of constitutional law, such as the permissibility and scope of the limitations on constitutional rights in a law. Article 42 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia grants everyone the right of assembly and of association, including the right of political organisation, and provides that restriction of these rights by statute is only permitted if required for reasons of national security, public safety or protection of the public against the threat of infectious disease.

Although in this case the Constitutional Court stopped the procedure, in decision No. 301/96, published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 13/98, the Constitutional Court upheld the position taken by the ombudsman in his request for a review of constitutionality. In this instance, in ruling on a constitutional complaint by a political party, the Constitutional Court annulled the decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the ruling by the Supreme Court which rejected the party’s application for entry in the register of political parties, and abrogated paragraph 4 of Article 3 of the Law on Political Parties. The explanation of this decision shows that the Constitutional Court stressed the importance of the constitutional right of assembly and association. In point 21 of the explanation it stated that there was a question as to whether it was constitutionally permissible that “an administrative body decide on the fulfilment of substantive constitutional law conditions for a political party to come into being because that could imply unacceptably linking the founding and functioning of a party to prior administrative approval”. 

The position of members of the Romany community

Last year we dealt with a number of cases connected with the problems faced by Romanies, although the people affected did not come to us directly. All these cases involved questions of unlawful building by Romanies, sometimes even abroad, and opposition from the local inhabitants to changes to the municipal spatial plans enabling the construction of Romany dwellings. In all of these cases there were many arguments in the municipalities involved opposing the settlement of Romanies or the legalisation of their settlements, but at the same time they did not manage to find a location where the Romanies could actually live. Furthermore, the cooperation from the state bodies in these cases was not sufficiently effective.

The Romany community in Slovenia is not very large and it is hard to see how neither the local authorities nor the Government can find space for them in which to build their homes. We believe that the state should provide material and professional support to help the municipalities adopt the spatial plans that would determine the areas in which members of the Romany community could settle. We also propose the enactment as soon as possible of a law which, in accordance with the provision set out in Article 65 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, would regulate the status and special rights of the Romany community living in Slovenia.

 

Letno poročilo 1997 - Poglavje 2.1.

USTAVNE PRAVICE

Na področju ustavnih pravic se je število prejetih pobud v primerjavi z letom 1996 nekoliko povečalo, čeprav v absolutnem deležu, ki se je ustalil na ravni 1,5 odstotka, zadev ni veliko. V to klasifikacijsko področje uvrščamo različne zadeve, pri katerih gre za vprašanje temeljnih ustavnih pravic, ni pa jih mogoče uvrstiti v druga klasifikacijska področja. Zadeve razvrščamo na naslednja ožja področja: pravice otrok, pravice manjšin, enake možnosti, etika javne besede, zbiranje in združevanje, varnostne službe in varstvo osebnih podatkov. Najbolj se je povečalo število zadev na področju varstva osebnih podatkov, na drugih področjih pa se je število pobud zmanjšalo ali ostalo na enaki ravni, kot je bilo prejšnja leta.

Primeroma navajamo vsebino nekaterih pobud na tem področju: urejanje lokalne samouprave, referendumov in lokalnih samoprispevkov, varstvo zasebnosti v zvezi s telefonskimi pogovori, uveljavljanje volilne pravice, problematika Romov na posameznih območjih in vprašanja, pri katerih bi lahko šlo za kršitve temeljnih pravic posameznikov na različnih področjih. Ker v javnosti od časa do časa nastanejo pobude za ustanovitev posebnega varuha za varstvo pravic otrok, naj za ilustracijo omenimo, da smo lani v to klasifikacijsko področje uvrstili le tri zadeve, pa še te se le posredno nanašajo na kršitve otrokovih pravic (v eni zadevi je šlo za vprašanje uveljavljanja roditeljskih pravic za otroka, ki živi pri drugem roditelju v tujini, v drugem primeru je šlo za pobudo, ki opozarja na nujnost gradnje osnovne šole v določeni krajevni skupnosti, v tretjem primeru pa je sosed omejeval igro otrok na otroškem igrišču).

Prejeli smo tudi veliko pobud, ki so po vsebini predlogi za oceno ustavnosti predpisov ali drugih splošnih aktov, kjer smo pobudnikom pojasnili možnosti za vložitev pobude na ustavno sodišče.

2.1.1. Etika javne besede in “medijsko sojenje”

V poročilu za leto 1996 smo obširneje opisali problematiko objavljanja poročil v medijih o ugotovitvah organov za notranje zadeve, ki so podlaga za vložitev kazenskih ovadb. Čeprav nam je takratni minister za notranje zadeve sporočil, da uprave za notranje zadeve izhajajo iz načela, da je dovoljeno navajanje “le tistih lastnosti posameznikov, ki ne omogočajo prepoznave”, smo tudi v letu 1997 ugotovili primere, ko so pristojne uprave za notranje zadeve sporočale podatke, ki razkrivajo identiteto ovadenih. Glede na to, da je varuh človekovih pravic v skladu z zakonom in ustavo pristojen le za obravnavo ravnanj državnih organov in organov, ki izvajajo javna pooblastila, smo v takšnih primerih opravili dodatne poizvedbe pri ministrstvu za notranje zadeve, pobudnikom pa posredovali pojasnila o pravnih poteh, ki jih lahko uporabijo ob posegih medijev v njihove osebnostne pravice. Menimo, da je v takšnih primerih bolj kot kazenski pregon primerna odškodninska tožba v skladu z zakonom o obligacijskih razmerjih.

Ob obravnavi dveh pobud, ki sta nam ju posredovala vodstvena delavca v gospodarskih družbah, glede katerih so organi za notranje zadeve na podlagi svojih ugotovitev vložili kazenske ovadbe, o katerih so poročali na novinarskih konferencah, smo od ministrstva za notranje zadeve (MNZ) zahtevali dodatna pojasnila o načinu obveščanja novinarjev.

Minister nam je odgovoril, da sta pristojni upravi za notranje zadeve (UNZ) ravnali na ustaljen način, v skladu z organizacijo dela in usmeritvami ministrstva. Na podlagi nekaterih znakov iz informacije (ime podjetja in položaj odgovorne osebe) je bilo mogoče odkriti, za katero osebo gre, vendar naj bi to uspelo samo tistim, ki so zadevo že poznali. Ob tem minister opozarja, da je bilo razkritje identitete osumljenca v obeh primerih stvar novinarjev in urednikov in ne informacij pristojnih na UNZ (Ljubljana in Slovenj Gradec). Minister obveščanje javnosti o ugotovitvah s področja gospodarskega kriminala utemeljuje z zainteresiranostjo širše javnosti za te pojave ter navaja, da posamezniki, ki prevzamejo vodenje ali vodstveno funkcijo v podjetjih z družbenim kapitalom, to funkcijo prevzamejo v imenu vseh anonimnih lastnikov družbenega kapitala, to je državljanov RS, ki so zainteresirani, da se nad njimi izvaja javni nadzor. Glede kršitve načela domneve nedolžnosti pa poudarja, da “zakonska formulacija “utemeljeno osumljen” pomeni točno določeno fazo predkazenskega postopka, ki v celoti upošteva načelo domneve nedolžnosti.”

Pravna literatura opredeljuje medijsko obsodbo kot poseg v pravico do zasebnosti, ki ogroža čast in ugled osebe, ki je predmet takšne obsodbe. To je storjeno z izrekom obsodb posameznikov v poročanju o kaznivih dejanjih ali o dejanjih, ki imajo lahko znake kaznivega dejanja. Z medijskim sojenjem se posega v pravico domneve nedolžnosti in ogroža nepristranost sodnega postopka. Nesporno je, da v takšnih primerih pride do kolizije dveh ustavnih pravic: svobode izražanja (39. člen) in domneve nedolžnosti (27. člen). Obe pravici zagotavlja tudi evropska konvencija o varstvu človekovih pravic (EKČP). Praksa evropskega sodišča za človekove pravice in nekaterih evropskih ustavnih sodišč priznava možnost omejevanja svobode izražanja le v primeru uvajanja kazenskih postopkov ter razširja načelo domnevne nedolžnosti tudi na predkazenski postopek. Navedeno kolizijo je treba obravnavati za vsak primer posebej, vendar pa menimo, da mora državni organ pri obveščanju javnosti spoštovati načelo enakosti in enakega obravnavanja posameznikov. Zato menimo, da ni sprejemljiva praksa, ko z UNZ v nekaterih primerih sporočijo začetnice, položaj in podjetje, kjer je posameznik zaposlen, kar medijem omogoča njihovo razkritje, v drugih primerih pa le podatke, ki posameznika dejansko ne morejo razkriti. Različen položaj posameznikov v družbi ne more biti razlog za razlikovanje pri omogočanju posegov v osebnostne pravice posameznikov. Res je, da je ovadba natančno določena faza predkazenskega postopka, vendar pa to po našem mnenju zahteva še strožje upoštevanje načela domneve nedolžnosti. Zadeva ja problematična posebej zato, ker organi za notranje zadeve v tej fazi predkazenskega postopka javnost obveščajo o svojih ugotovitvah; državni tožilci pa o svojih odločitvah na tej podlagi, torej o zavrženju ovadbe ali o vložitvi obtožnice, praviloma javnosti ne obveščajo. Javnost kazenskega postopka je po ustavi in zakonu v celoti zagotovljena šele z javno sodno obravnavo. Obravnavani primeri kažejo, da je ministrstvo v posameznih primerih odstopilo od lastnih načel, ko je dovolilo navajanje tistih lastnosti posameznika, ki omogočajo prepoznavo.

2.1.2. Varstvo osebnih podatkov

Že uvodoma smo omenili, da smo lani prejeli več pobud, ki so se nanašale na varstvo osebnih podatkov. V posamičnih primerih smo posredovali v skladu s svojimi zakonskimi pooblastili. V več primerih smo pobudnike opozorili, da se lahko neposredno obrnejo na inšpektorja za varstvo osebnih podatkov, ki dela v okviru ministrstva za pravosodje (MP), ter pojasnili možnosti pravnega varstva. V primerih, ko je bilo iz pobude in priložene dokumentacije dejansko stanje jasno razvidno, pa smo zadevo neposredno odstopili inšpektorju za varstvo osebnih podatkov. V večini primerov domnevni kršilci niso bili državni organ ali organi, ki izvajajo javna pooblastila.

Ob zadevah, pri katerih je šlo za domnevne posege v osebne podatke posameznikov, pa smo prejeli še več pobud, ko posameznik ni mogel priti do podatkov, do katerih bi bil na podlagi zakonodaje upravičen. V poročilu za leto 1996 smo opisali več konkretnih primerov, ki ilustrirajo ta problem, ki se kaže zlasti v preozkem in pretogem tolmačenju zakona o varstvu osebnih podatkov (ZVOP). Ugotovili smo, da poleg neustrezne prakse tudi zakonodaja na številnih področjih ni prilagojena strogim merilom iz ZVOP. Ugotavljamo tudi, da se v enem letu stanje glede tega ni nič spremenilo.

2.1.3. Pravica do obveščenosti

Prejeli smo pobudo državljana, ki je želel dobiti informacije o vsebini pogovorov, ki sta jih vodila predsednik vlade in minister z visokimi cerkvenimi dostojanstveniki. Minister mu je posredoval le informacijo, ki je bila posredovana medijem, ta pa po mnenju pobudnika ni bila popolna. Urad predsednika vlade pa na predlog ni odgovoril. Pobudnik se je skliceval na določbo 24. člena zakona o javnih glasilih, ki določa, da morajo državni organi, organi lokalnih skupnosti, posamezniki, ki opravljajo javne funkcije, javni zavodi in javna podjetja ter druge osebe, ki opravljajo javno službo, zagotavljati javnost svojega dela z dajanjem pravočasnih, popolnih in resničnih informacij o vprašanjih s svojega delovnega področja. Drugi odstavek tega člena pa določa, da morajo ti organi s svojimi akti urediti način zagotavljanja javnosti dela, način dajanja informacij za javnost ter določiti osebo, ki je odgovorna za zagotavljanje javnosti dela.

Pobudniku smo posredovali svoje mnenje, da se omenjena določba zakona o javnih glasilih nanaša na razmerje vir informacij - novinar in ne pomeni v celoti uresničevanja določbe drugega odstavka 39. člena ustave RS. Po opravljenih poizvedbah nam je kabinet predsednika vlade odgovoril, da je zahtevi pobudnika vlada zadostila z uradnimi sporočili prek sredstev javnega obveščanja ter da njegove vloge niso obravnavali po določilih upravnega postopka, ker naj ne bi šlo za odločanje o pravicah, obveznostih ali pravnih koristih posameznikov. Pobudniku smo svetovali, naj uveljavlja ustavno pravico s tožbo v upravnem sporu v skladu z zakonom o upravnih sporih (ZUS). Po izčrpanju tega pravnega sredstva pa ima možnost uveljavljati ustavno pravico še z ustavno pritožbo na Ustavno sodišče RS.

Ustava RS v drugem odstavku 39. člena daje vsakomur pravico dobiti informacijo javnega značaja, za katero ima v zakonu utemeljen pravni interes, razen v primerih, ki jih določa zakon. Pravica do svobodnega izražanja, ki vključuje tudi pravico sprejemanja in sporočanja obvestil in idej brez vmešavanja javne oblasti (10. člen konvencije o varstvu človekovih pravic in temeljnih svoboščin Sveta Evrope) oziroma pravico prostega iskanja, sprejemanja in širjenja vsakovrstnih informacij in idej (19. člen mednarodnega pakta o državljanskih in političnih pravicah OZN) nedvomno sodi med temeljne človekove pravice. Ugotovili smo, da navedena ustavna določba ni realizirana z zakonom, neposredno pa jo je težko uresničevati, ker v dveh elementih napotuje na zakonsko ureditev. Posameznik mora imeti v zakonu utemeljen pravni interes, njegova pravica pa se lahko zavrne v primerih, ki jih določa zakon. Ugotavljamo, da ta ustavna določba ureja zelo pomembno demokratično in civilizacijsko pridobitev, ki se imenuje tudi politika odprte oziroma transparentne oblasti (open government), zato bomo pri svojem delu v prihodnje uresničevanju te pravice posvetili več pozornosti zlasti z vidika odprtosti državnih organov glede informacij javnega značaja v razmerju do vseh državljanov in ne le novinarjev, ki jim to pravico daje zakon o javnih glasilih.

2.1.4. Spremljanje volitev

Dežurstvo na dan volitev

 

Kot pri drugih volitvah smo tudi tokrat v času volitev organizirali stalno dežurno službo na brezplačni telefonski številki. V tem času smo prejeli skupaj 76 telefonskih klicev, kar je veliko več kot pri prejšnjih dežurstvih. Prejeli smo tudi več klicev pobudnikov, ki niso bili povezani s samimi volitvami, ter ustregli številnim novinarjem, ki so želeli informacijo o našem delu.

Kot prejšnja leta je bilo tudi tokrat največ klicev zaradi kršitev ali domnevnih kršitev volilnega molka. Volivci so opozarjali na postavitev plakatov preblizu volišč, objave v medijih, zlasti elektronskih, povezanih s kandidati, na prejeta sporočila v svojih nabiralnikih na dan volitev ter na različne druge domnevne kršitve volilnega molka. Pobudnike smo praviloma usmerjali na dežurno službo na ministrstvu za notranje zadeve, ki je lahko nadaljevala postopek oziroma ukrepala v skladu z zakonom o volilni kampanji.

Druga večja skupina klicateljev je imela težave, ker so jim nenadna bolezen ali druge osebne okoliščine preprečile uresničevanje aktivne volilne pravice. Klicateljem smo večinoma pojasnili določila zakona o volitvah glede volitev po pošti in na domu in jih usmerjali na pristojno okrajno volilno komisijo, da bi jim, če je bilo to še mogoče, omogočila glasovanje na domu.

Presenetljivo veliko je bilo tudi klicev volivcev, ki so jih motile vzporedne volitve anketarjev, ki so od volivcev želeli ponovitev glasu pred volišči. Nekateri s tem načinom pred tem niso bili seznanjeni, zato jih je zanimala zakonitost takega ravnanja, drugi pa so se pritoževali zaradi neprimernega pristopa nekaterih anketarjev.

Največ telefonskih klicev pa se je nanašalo na različne večje ali manjše resnične ali domnevne nepravilnosti v zvezi s samo izvedbo volitev. Nekatere je motil način glasovanja na domu, ki naj ne bi v celoti zagotavljal tajnosti glasovanja; opozarjali so na različne drobne nepravilnosti pri delu volilnih odborov; glede na razmere na dan volitev pa je bilo veliko klicev državljanov, ki so imeli težave z dostopom do volišč zaradi na novo zapadlega snega.

Nekaj klicev se je nanašalo tudi na pomanjkljivosti volilnih imenikov; nekateri niso bili vpisani v volilne imenike, ali pa so bili vpisani tisti, ki ne bi smeli biti. Klicatelje smo usmerili na pristojne upravne enote.

Na podlagi prejetih telefonskih klicev lahko ugotovimo veliko občutljivost državljanov za korektno izvedbo volitev, saj so opozarjali tudi na številne drobne okoliščine, ki po njihovem mnenju lahko vplivajo na korektnost izvedbe volitev. Ne glede na veliko število klicev pa nismo ugotovili nobene večje nepravilnosti, ki bi lahko vplivala na volilni rezultat in terjala naše neposredno ukrepanje.

* * *

Opozoriti želimo tudi na vprašanje volitev duševno prizadetih, ki jim ni odvzeta opravilna sposobnost, ali tistih, ki jim je z odločbo pristojnega skrbstvenega organa podaljšana roditeljska pravica staršev. Prejeli smo nekaj klicev staršev otrok, ki zaradi prizadetosti niso sposobni izraziti svoje volje, vendar pa so vpisani v volilni imenik in so tudi prejeli vabila na volitve. Ponovno se je pojavilo tudi vprašanje oseb, ki jim je podaljšana roditeljska pravica staršev in so želeli sodelovati na volitvah.

Volitve po pošti

 

Že pred samimi volitvami smo prejeli nekaj pobud, ki so se nanašale na uresničevanje aktivne volilne pravice. Tako smo prejeli tudi pobudo državljana, ki je zaradi bolezni in starosti v oskrbi pri sinu in hčeri zunaj občine svojega stalnega bivališča. Želel je izkoristiti svojo volilno pravico tudi pri volitvah predsednika republike, zato je pravočasno, že dva tedna pred volitvami, poslal prošnjo za volitve po pošti. Okrajna volilna komisija na prošnjo najprej pisno ni odgovorila, po telefonu pa so mu odgovorili, na podlagi poizvedovanj pri republiški volilni komisiji, da zakon za tak primer ne predvideva volitev po pošti, zato mu niso poslali gradiva za volitve. Pobudnik se je nato za pomoč obrnil na naš naslov.

Na problem glasovanja po pošti za tiste volivce, ki na dan glasovanja niso v kraju svojega stalnega bivališča, vendar pa tudi niso oskrbovanci doma za ostarele ali v bolnišnici, smo večkrat opozarjali javno, še posebej pa v poročilu za leto 1996. Menili smo, da je pobuda utemeljena, zato smo na pristojno okrajno volilno komisijo naslovili predlog, da prizadetemu omogočijo glasovanje po pošti in mu v ta namen posredujejo ustrezno gradivo. Pred tem smo opravili poizvedbe pri Republiški volilni komisiji in ugotovili, da ta vztraja pri ozki in dobesedni razlagi zakona, da ni mogoče dovoliti uveljavljanja pravice do glasovanja po pošti nobeni kategoriji volivcev, razen tistim, ki so posebej omenjeni v 81. členu zakona o volitvah v državni zbor (ZVDZ).

Po našem posredovanju je prizadeti prejel tudi pisni odgovor okrajne volilne komisije. Obveščajo ga, da njegovi zahtevi za glasovanje po pošti ne morejo ugoditi glede na določbo tretjega odstavka 81. člena citiranega zakona o volitvah.

Menimo, da sta pristojna okrajna volilna komisija in Republiška volilna komisija v tem primeru preozko razlagali citirano določbo zakona o volitvah in neupravičeno odklonili zahtevo za glasovanje po pošti. Zakon sicer res določa, da lahko glasujejo tudi oskrbovanci domov za starejše, ki nimajo stalnega prebivališča v domu, ter volivci, ki so na zdravljenju v bolnišnicah, če to sporočijo pristojni volilni komisiji najkasneje sedem dni pred dnem glasovanja, vendar pa iz jezikovne in namenske razlage te določbe ne izhaja, da je zakonodajalec želel popolnoma izključiti druge kategorije prebivalcev, ki so v podobnem položaju. Prej je mogoče domnevati, da je zakonodajalec pri naštevanju kategorij tistih, ki lahko uveljavljajo glasovanje po pošti, nehote prezrl kategorije volivcev, ki bi bili tudi upravičeni do takšnega glasovanja, pa niso niti v domovih za starejše niti v bolnišnicah. Če natančneje pogledamo njihov položaj, vidimo, da so praviloma oskrbovanci pri svojih družinah v trajnejši oskrbi kot bolniki v bolnišnicah ter je njihov položaj dejansko izenačen z oskrbovanci domov za starejše. Menimo, da je neupravičena takšna razlaga zakonodajalčeve volje, da je ta želel izključiti oskrbovance na domu, saj za tako izključitev ne vidimo nobene stvarne ali ustavne podlage. Nasprotno, načelo enakosti zahteva enako obravnavo tistih, ki so v enakem položaju, in različno obravnavo različnih dejanskih stanj. Na tej podlagi menimo, da bi morali biti oskrbovanci v enakem položaju ne glede na to, ali so v oskrbi v državnem zavodu, v domu s koncesijo, zasebnem domu ali pri družini. Razlikovanje na tej podlagi po našem mnenju nima podlage in izhaja iz preozke razlage ZVDZ.

Dodatni argument za izjemno obravnavanje našega pobudnika vidimo tudi v tem, da smo ugotovili, da pa so posamezne volilne komisije omogočale glasovanje po pošti tudi brez našega posredovanja tistim, ki niso v domovih za ostarele ali v bolnišnicah, kar kaže na različno prakso volilnih organov.

Ob tem dodajamo, da ima varuh na podlagi svojega zakona pravico svoje predloge utemeljevati ne le na podlagi ustave in mendarodnih pravnih aktov s področja varstva človekovih pravic, pač pa tudi na podlagi načela pravičnosti (3. člen zakona o varuhu človekovih pravic - ZVarCP). Gre za klasično ombudsmanovo pristojnost. Če oceni, da obstajajo posebej utemeljeni razlogi, lahko utemelji svoj predlog tudi za rešitev, ki je zakon posebej ne predvideva. Takšen predlog pristojnim državnim organom omogoča, da se v izjemnih primerih pri svojem odstopu od dotedanje prakse lahko sklicujejo na njegov predlog.

Celovita rešitev tega vprašanja pa bo mogoča šele s spremembami in dopolnitvami ZVDZ, ki bodo odpravile sedanje neupravičeno razlikovanje med volivci, ki lahko uveljavljajo pravico do glasovanja po pošti.

Volitve v državni svet

Prejeli smo tudi nekaj pobud v zvezi z volitvami v državni svet. Pobud je bilo manj, kar je razumljivo glede na posrednost teh volitev.

Dan pred napovedanim dnem volitev je prišla v naš urad predstavnica, izvoljena v volilno telo za volitve članov državnega sveta. Navedla je, da se kot invalidka na vozičku ne bo mogla neposredno udeležiti volilnega zbora in volitev v prostoru, ki ni urejen za dostop invalidov. Še isti dan smo na republiško volilno komisijo naslovili predlog, naj v okviru svojih pristojnosti storijo vse, da noben elektor ne bi bil prikrajšan pri uveljavljanju svoje volilne pravice zaradi invalidnosti. Obveščeni smo bili, da je bil naš predlog upoštevan, saj so bile volitve prestavljene v prostor, kjer ni bilo arhitektonskih ovir za invalidne elektorje.

2.1.5. Zahteva za oceno ustavnosti zakona o političnih strankah in zakona o volitvah v državni zbor

Varuh je v zvezi z obravnavo pobude politične stranke (1.5-985/95) že v letu 1996 vložil zahtevo za oceno ustavnosti petega odstavka 8. člena zakona o političnih strankah in 53.a člena zakona o volitvah v državni zbor. Prvi zakon določa, da ime stranke ne sme vsebovati imena tuje države ali tuje stranke oziroma tuje pravne ali fizične osebe; drugi pa, da ime liste kandidatov ne sme vsebovati imena tuje države ali tuje stranke oziroma tuje fizične ali pravne osebe in njihovih simbolov in kratic, ki jih ti uporabljajo.

Politična stranka, ki je vložila pobudo, je bila registrirana in je delovala v RS od leta 1991 v skladu z zakonom o političnem združevanju. Po uveljavitvi novega zakona o političnih strankah (Ur. list RS, št. 62/94) je morala vložiti zahtevo za ponovno registracijo. MNZ je vlogo 5. decembra 1995 zavrnilo, ker naj bi ime stranke vsebovalo ime tuje politične stranke. Stranka je sprožila upravni spor in vložila ustavno pritožbo. Ustavno sodišče je ustavno pritožbo 24. oktobra 1996 zavrglo, ker še niso bila izčrpana vsa pravna sredstva.

Na podlagi zahteve, ki jo je varuh vložil v skladu s 6. alineo prvega odstavka 23. člena zakona o ustavnem sodišču, je Ustavno sodišče s sklepom št. U-85/96 z dne 20. novembra 1997 odločilo, da se postopek za oceno ustavnosti obeh zakonov ustavi. Ustavno sodišče je svoj sklep o ustavitvi postopka utemeljilo s tem, da je po vloženi zahtevi vrhovno sodišče v upravnem sporu tožbi stranke ugodilo in odpravilo odločbo MNZ o zavrnitvi vpisa. Menilo je, da je s to sodbo zagotovljeno spoštovanje ustavnosti pred upravnimi organi in sodišči, saj tako upravni organi kot še zlasti sodišča lahko z ustrezno razlago nejasnega zakona zagotovijo njegovo uporabo, ki bo skladna z ustavo. Kadar se z razlago zakonske norme že v postopku pred pristojnim sodiščem zagotovi njena uporaba v skladu z ustavo, po mnenju ustavnega sodišča ni pravovarstvene potrebe za odločanje ustavnega sodišča.

Ustavno sodišče se je torej postavilo na stališče, da ima razlaga zakona v korist prizadetega v konkretnem primeru za posledico izgubo potrebe za presojo ustavnosti spornih določb zakona.

Menimo, da je takšno stališče sporno. Do kršitve ustave in zakona je že prišlo, saj v konkretnem primeru politična stranka ni mogla sodelovati na volitvah; obstoječe besedilo pa dopušča nadaljnje kršitve. Težko se je strinjati z razlago, da je ustrezna (široka) razlaga zakona zadostno zagotovilo, da do podobnih kršitev ne bi več prihajalo.

Z ustavitvijo postopka se je ustavno sodišče izognilo odločanju o ustavnosti napadenih določb zakona in o pomembnih ustavnopravnih vprašanjih, kot sta dopustnost in obseg omejitev ustavnih pravic z zakonom. Ustava RS v 42. členu vsakomur zagotavlja pravico do zbiranja in združevanja, ki vključuje pravico do političnega organiziranja, ter določa, da so zakonske omejitve te pravice dopustne le, če to zahteva varnost države ali javna varnost ter varstvo pred širjenjem nalezljivih bolezni.

Čeprav je v tem primeru ustavno sodišče postopek ustavilo, pa odločba ustavnega sodišča št. 301/96, objavljena v Ur. Listu RS, št. 13/98, vsebinsko pritrjuje stališčem varuha v njegovi zahtevi za oceno ustavnosti zakona. Ustavno sodišče je v tem primeru, ob odločanju o ustavni pritožbi politične stranke, odpravilo odločbo MNZ in sodbo Vrhovnega sodišča, ki je zavrnilo zahtevo stranke za vpis v register političnih strank, razveljavilo četrti odstavek 3. člena zakona o političnih strankah. Obrazložitev te odločbe kaže, da je ustavno sodišče poudarilo pomembnost ustavne pravice do zbiranja in združevanja. V 21. točki obrazložitve je navedlo, da je vprašanje, ali je ustavno dopustno,da o izpolnjevanju vsebinskih ustavnopravnih pogojev za nastanek politične stranke odloča upravni organ, saj bi to lahko pomenilo nesprejemljivo vezanost ustanovitve in delovanje stranke na vnaprejšnje upravno dovoljenje”.

2.1.6. Položaj pripadnikov romske skupnosti

S problematiko Romov v posameznih lokalnih skupnostih smo bili seznanjeni prek dopisov, ki smo jih prejeli v vednost, prek obvestil posameznih občinskih organov in obvestil v medijih. V minulem letu pa se v nobenem primeru s to problematiko niso na nas obrnili neposredno prizadeti. Ugotavljamo, da je šlo v vseh primerih za vprašanja nezakonitih gradenj Romov, tudi na tuji zemlji, in na drugi strani za nasprotovanje lokalnih prebivalcev, da bi s spremembami prostorskih načrtov občin omogočili zakonito gradnjo romskih bivališč. V vseh teh primerih so v občinah imeli veliko argumentov za nasprotovanje naselitvi ali legalizaciji naselitev Romov, ob tem pa jim ni uspelo najti lokacij, kjer bi ti lahko živeli. Tudi sodelovanje državnih organov v teh primerih ni bilo dovolj učinkovito. Občine se tako izgovarjajo na premajhno sodelovanje in pomoč pristojnih ministrstev in vladnih organov, ti pa upravičeno opozarjajo, da se v občinah ne morejo dogovoriti za lokacije, kjer bi pripadniki romske skupnosti lahko živeli.

V Sloveniji ni veliko pripadnikov romske skupnosti, zato je težko razumeti, da niti lokalne skupnosti niti država ne morejo najti prostora, kjer bi ti lahko zgradili svoje domove. Menimo, da bi morala država materialno in s strokovno podporo spodbujati občine k sprejetju prostorskih načrtov, ki bi določali območja, na katerih bi se pripadniki romskih skupnosti lahko naselili.

V skladu z določbo 65. člena Ustave RS položaj in posebne pravice romske skupnosti, ki živi v Sloveniji, ureja zakon. Poseben zakon ni bil sprejet, v drugih pa pravice pripadnikov romske skupnosti tudi niso dosledno urejene. Zato predlagamo, da se ta ustavna določba čimprej realizira.

2.1.7. Pravice invalidov

Na podlagi pobud, ki so opozarjale na čedalje slabši položaj slepih in slabovidnih, posebej pri zaposlovanju in uveljavljanju pravic iz dela, smo zaprosili za mnenje Urad vlade Republike Slovenije za invalide. Ta nam je posredoval informacijo o položaju različnih vrst invalidov v zakonodaji ter ob tem opozoril, da se s spremembami in dopolnitvami zakona o zaposlovanju in zavarovanju za primer brezposelnosti, ki jih je pripravilo ministrstvo za delo, družino in socialne zadeve (MDDSZ), nadaljuje neizenačen položaj invalidov, zato bo urad predlagal izenačenje vseh kategorij invalidov. Pri tem se ne bo omejil samo na slepe in slabovidne, ampak tudi na vse druge invalide, ne glede na vrsto njihove invalidnosti. Pričakujemo čimprejšnjo uresničitev teh predlogov.

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