Janša, Krkovič, and Črnkovič seek compensation from Masleša, Ferlinc, Zobec Hrastar, Klajnšek, and others that conducted Patria proceedings

Ivan Črnkovič, Tone Krkovič in Janez Janša (foto: STA)

“We demand that the state recover damages from the prosecutors and judges who were responsible for the unjust prosecution and sentences. BZH, Ferlinc, Klajnšek, Masleša, …”, Janez Janša posted on Twitter after a majority of the press had announced that three of the people involved in the failed Patria proceedings will demand a compensation of €15 million from the Slovenian state.

On Monday, the central press delivered the news that three of the falsely accused and later also sentenced people in the failed Patria proceedings, Janez Janša, Tone Krkovič, and Ivan Črnkovič, seek compensation that together amounts to €15 million. All of them also reported, that the aforementioned people are suing the Slovenian state for the damages.

All of this is of course not the case since the proceedings have not yet reached the application stage, and they will not seek compensation from the state or the taxpayers that fill the state budget but rather all key people in the Slovenian judiciary who had conducted the non-legal Patria proceedings from their start to their lapsing.

These are prosecutors Branka Zobec Hrastar and Andrej Ferlinc, judge Barbara Klajnšek, who judged at the first instance, members of the panel of the higher court Milan Štrukelj, Mateja Lužovec, and Silvana Vrebac Arifin, as well as the judges of the supreme court who confirmed the conviction of the higher court and later the lapsing of Patria: Branko Masleša, Vesna Žalik, Damijan Florjančič, Kristina Ožbolt, and Maja Tratnik. When the case was remanded to the local court after a constitutional complaint, with the decision that Janša’s, Krkovič’s, and Črnkovič’s right to an impartial trial had been violated along with the principle of legality, the proceedings lapsed under judge Tanja Lombar Jenko.

Patria affair actually cost Slovenian citizens €30 billion
The Patria affair proceedings, which ended by lapsing, cost the Slovenian state €95,218. The bulk of these costs, €95,210, will be covered by the judicial budget, and €8 directly by the state budget, even though the judges that conducted these proceedings should really pay for them out of their own pockets. Of course, the final cost does not take into account the total damage that the judiciary caused for Slovenia and its citizens: due to political consequences and victories of the left at three elections since 2008, Slovenia has accumulated a debt of more than €30 billion, while the non-material, moral damages for the affected are truly incalculable.

They were offered ridiculously low compensation
Črnkovič, who was in prison for 184 days, seeks a little over €13.4 million. Janša, who was illegally imprisoned for 145 days, seeks €900,000, and Krkovič, who was in prison for 259 days, seeks €600,000, the State Attorney’s Office said for STA. Janša’s and Krkovič’s claim mostly concerns compensation for the unlawful imprisonment, while most of Črnkovič’s claim concerns compensation for commercial damages suffered by his company.

According to Radio Slovenia, all three of them have rejected the first settlement offers of the State Attorney’s Office, which were much lower than their claims. According to Krkovič’s lawyer Jože Hribernik, his client was offered a “ridiculously low” compensation of €35,280. According to the radio, all three of them have proposed to the State Attorney’s Office that they pay them the offered amount as the first part of the payment. They are waiting for a new offer, and as a last resort they will file a lawsuit, reported Radio Slovenija.

The three of them had been handed prison sentences in the Patria case and already served parts of them. But in 2015, the constitutional court of Slovenia annulled the judgement and remanded the case just before the proceedings lapsed. The supreme court confirmed the lapsing in February 2017.

Patria cost SDS party victory at election
Already in September, SDS announced that they are suing the state for €886,257.37 due to the impact that the judgement in the Patria affair had on the elections to the Slovenian National Assembly in 2014. Janša was called to serve his prison sentence on 20 June 2014, and the elections were held on 13 July 2014. “It is clear to everyone that this judgement influenced the elections since, due to the unlawful prison sentence, the president of SDS could not participate in the pre-election campaign,” the party said.

“If there had not been any unlawful conduct in the Patria proceedings, the early elections in 2011 and in 2014 would have ended with the SDS party getting at least as much of the votes as in 2008,” they assessed

C. Š.