STA, 25 February 2019 - Following President Borut Pahor's recent assessment that the work of the government commission for mass graves has "become not only socially acceptable but also socially accepted", substantial progress in the field has also been confirmed by the commission's vice-president Mitja Ferenc.
So far 233 mass graves and post-WWII execution sites have been confirmed and registered in Slovenia. Full or partial reburial was performed at 129, while the the existence of body remains has been confirmed for the remaining 104, Ferenc told the weekly paper Reporter.
The historian attributes major importance to the 2015 act on concealed mass graves and the burial of victims, adopted under a centre-left coalition at the initiatives of the centre-right opposition New Slovenia (NSi).
In the last three years, 162 summary execution sites were marked and tended to. The remains of at least 2,532 bodies were discovered in them and 1,615 were buried, he said.
The commission's main project presently is the Larch Hill mass grave in the south-east of the country, where he hopes exhumation will already start in the spring.
Expecting to discover around 1,500 victims, Ferenc said "the objects found near the pit indicate that Slovenian victims lie inside".
While asserting that the EUR 480,000 allocated to the commission by the state annually suffice for its tasks, Ferenc is not happy with the attitude of the Economy Ministry.
He said legislation tasked the commission with a large number of tasks that are demanding and require assistance. A key issue are delays in tenders and unreasonable deadlines, which for instance give the commission six weeks for reburial on demanding terrain and winter conditions.
Meanwhile, Ferenc said that concealed mass graves are not the only problem in Slovenia: "We have a neglectful attitude to all grave sites, including those of the Partisan forces. They are not looked after, the registry is not systematic, there are also sites that do not really contain any victims."
Ferenc, who said it was time to stop looking away, announced an initiative to establish an institute for war graves, to be presented on the occasion of the nearing tenth anniversary of the entry into Huda Jama, a site which contained 1,416 victims.