Appeals Planned Against Annulment of Death Sentence on Prominent Slovenian Nazi

By , 02 Feb 2020, 12:54 PM Politics
Leon Rupnik in the dark suit Leon Rupnik in the dark suit Wikimedia - CC-by-0

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STA, 31 January - Slovenian WWII veterans intend to ask the Constitutional Court to review the recently annulled 1946 guilty verdict of Leon Rupnik, a Nazi collaborationist general. The Association of WWII Veterans is also considering appealing at the European Court of Human Rights.

It said "several people have turned to us who were direct victims of the Domobranci militia's cruel terror dictated by Leon Rupnik in collaboration with the occupying forces of Slovenian lands".

The association said in a press release on Thursday that it had also urged Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina to take action to protect the victims' dignity.

Its president Marijan Križman called on Svetina last week "to not let the collaboration with the occupying forces be honoured in Slovenia".

Križman wrote to Svetina that due to the Supreme Court's unreasonable annulment of the verdict, the association members "feel hurt and expect action".

Pro-Nazi General Rupnik (1880-1946) was sentenced to death by court martial and executed in September 1946 for treason and collaboration with the occupying forces.

The Supreme Court, petitioned in 2014 by Rupnik's relatives, annulled the verdict for being insufficiently explained, and sent the case into retrial.

Rupnik's relatives could petition the Supreme Court on a point of law on the basis of changes to the penal code passed in the 1990s, after Slovenia gained independence.

The changes introduced an extraordinary legal remedy to rehabilitate those who were unlawfully or unjustly sentenced under the former communist regime before 1990.

However, the deadline for direct petitions by relatives has already expired. They can now send a request for legal remedy to the prosecution, which then decides if a petition is justified.

While Rupnik's is probably one of the last annulled verdicts from the communist regime, the state has received almost 700 claims for damages related to the annulments.

The State Attorney's Office has told the STA that the great majority of the claims were filed in 1995-2005 and have already been closed.

The majority have been settled out of court; a settlement has been reached in almost 460 cases and almost 165 claims have been rejected.

Of a total of 126 cases that went to court, 19 lawsuits ended to the benefit of the plaintiffs, while the plaintiffs were not successful in 37 cases, 16 cases ended in a settlement, seven lawsuits have been withdrawn and one rejected.

While the damages claims ranged from EUR 1,200 to EUR 2.5 million, the State Attorney's Office has not provided the figures about the actual damages awarded.

It has explained "the claims ended more than ten years ago" and gathering the data about them would entail time-consuming studying of archived documents.

But it has said the suits and claims for damages were related to a number of different situations, such as imprisonment on the Goli Otok island and at Stara Gradiška prison, both in present-day Croatia, or death sentences.

However, the amount of the damages awarded depended significantly on whether the claim had been made by the victim or their heirs, whether a prison or death sentence had been involved, in which prison the victim had served time and for how long, and to what extent the victim had managed to recover from the experience.

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