We will never know what the panel of the Slovenian higher court would have decided concerning the appeal by the defence of Dr Milko Novič if the mother of Janko Jamnik, the deceased director of the Slovenian National Institute of Chemistry, had been allowed to testify at the public hearing on Friday. In any event, it is extremely unusual that on Wednesday, due to new facts, the higher court had decided to hold a hearing, read judicial records and, on the proposal of lawyer Jože Hribernik, examine another witness, the father of Janko Jamnik, but did not want to examine a substitute witness, his mother, after the father had gotten sick. According to the defence, the latter would have been able to provide just as much to aid the acquittal of Milko Novič, perhaps even more. On Friday, while the panel of the higher court was deliberating, and journalists were waiting for the verdict for an hour, Ana Jamnik approached me and asked whether she could tell me what she had wished to tell the judges. For a long time, something had been weighing heavily on her, and she desperately wanted for someone to listen to her. She told Nova24TV what other members of the media had not heard. Ana Jamnik’s story is shocking and inspiring at the same time since it opens up new questions about the case of Milko Novič, about why the man is in prison, and about who was truly behind the murder of Janko Jamnik and how the case is connected to the Lebanese Michel Stephan.
“My husband was invited, but he’s been very sick for a long time now. He’s 87, he’d been bleeding and on Wednesday they took him to the hospital,” Mrs Ana Jamnik explained why she had arrived at the higher court on Friday morning instead of him, submitting a doctor’s note and suggesting to the judges that she could testify instead. The court did say that investigators had not been able to find Jamnik’s father at home on Thursday to give him an invitation to the hearing, but Ana Jamnik says that this is a complete fabrication. “I was at home the entire time, and there was no one at our door, no one even called,” she said. Does this mean that someone had not wanted Jamnik’s father to testify?
The life of Janko Jamnik had changed a lot in the last months before his death. “My son was living in fear, he was afraid of Michel Stephan, he told me this a month before his death,” Ana Jamnik said and revealed what her son had told her: Stephan had had a fixed-time contract at the National Institute of Chemistry, and when Jamnik did not extend it, he still continued coming to work. This was one of the reasons why Jamnik forbade him from re-entering the institute, but the decisive thing was the suspicion that the Lebanese had been trying to poison him with cyanide.
Jamnik dismissed Dušanka Janežič for fraud without hesitation
According to Ana Jamnik, her son Janko liked returning home and had a very good relationship with his parents to the very end. At home, he often complained about having problems with former employees. He also said that he had to attend court due to a lawsuit from Milko Novič, but he was never afraid of him. “Milko Novič was never a danger to him. He was problematic because he was in conflict with everyone at the institute. He talked a lot more about Dušanka Janežič, whom he’d dismissed after it’d been discovered that she’d covered for her son and his partner for two years. Every day, she ‘blocked’ their service cards for them, falsely showing them to be at work even though they were abroad. They were stealing money,” remembers Jamnik’s mother, who says that a third of the people employed at the National Institute of Chemistry is mostly just there for the taxpayers’ money but does not work much. “My son was very strict, he wanted to introduce order and discipline among the employees!”
After Jamnik dismissed Janežič and her son, he received explicit threats from their lawyer. “Janežič’s lawyer stated, and I quote: Janko, I’ll show you who you’re dealing with. In court, my son also asked for this to be put down in the record, but the judge rejected it,” Ana Jamnik told me.
During last weekend with his parents at sea, Jamnik was ‘glued’ to mobile phone
The memories of the weekend in December when she saw her son alive for the last time are the most painful for Ana Jamnik. Janko Jamnik had a holiday home near Poreč in Istra, and he liked to go there with his parents. A week before the murder, they went to the sea together. Like every year before the winter, it was necessary to turn off the water and do some other tasks around the house. “But that weekend, my son was completely unrecognisable. He kept having mysterious telephone conversation, didn’t eat anything, was pale, absent, didn’t listen to us when we asked him anything. It was horrible,” remembers Ana Jamnik.
He could not even hide his fear on the way home. He could not stay focused behind the wheel; they stopped in Postojna, and Jamnik walked up and down the parking lot for several minutes. When his parents asked him what was wrong, he did not want to answer. “I’ll tell you some other time,” he told his father.
Jamnik’s mother also remembers an event only a few weeks before the murder when her son came home and for the first time openly admitted what he was afraid of: “Mum, they’ll kill me.” Ana Jamnik was of course appalled when her son also told her how they should bury him if anything were to happen to him. “Anything can happen,” he often repeated.
Meetings with Israeli businessmen scheduled for week after death
Ana Jamnik also says that her son had scheduled meetings with Israeli businessmen for the week after the murder. “There was a lot of money involved. Much could be developed, the institute had a lot to gain from it,” said Ana Jamnik, who claims that Slovenia lost a great scientist with the death of her son. “He loved Slovenia so much that he gave his life for it. He’d had the opportunity to go abroad, but he didn’t.” My son was too honest, too faithful, too strict and did not want to have anything to do with scoundrels,” she added.
Ana Jamnik could not hold back the tears during our conversation. She asked me to write down what she had been wondering ever since they had killed her son on the parking lot in front of the Via Bona restaurant: “Can you tell me why my son had to die? What had he done wrong? All he’d done was to be too honest and too hard-working.” With regards to Milko Novič, she says that she has known from the very beginning that he did not murder her son.
That is why she cannot believe that the courts could so cold-bloodedly and without conscience lock up an innocent man. Janko Jamnik will never be back; his family will never celebrate Christmas together again. But Novič’s family could if the Slovenian judiciary were not so corrupt and incompetent.