The Slovenia Times

Patria Trial, Day Two


The second day of the trial, whose session last Monday was suspended due to the absence of defendant Walter Wolf, also did not bring a reading of the indictment and was dominated by demands for the exclusion of evidence obtained in Finland and of Judge Barbara Klajnsek.

The exclusion of Klajnsek was demanded by the lawyers of Jansa - the PM at the time of the EUR 278m purchase of 135 armoured personnel carriers - who is accused of complicity in receiving a bribe, and of Ivan Crnkovic, who heads Rotis, the Slovenian company selected to supply the APCs from Patria, and is charged with offering bribes.

While the defence argued that Klajnsek should not have ordered an additional investigation of Rotis's accounts before the trial began, the demand was rejected by the court, which said it had been filed too late.

The demand for the exclusion of evidence obtained in Finland and by extension all evidence secured on their basis, including a large part of Slovenian and Austrian evidence, was also filed by Crnkovic's lawyer, who argued that human rights had been violated during the investigation in Finland.

The argument was that methods used by Finnish investigators - suspect were not informed of their right to remain silent, exposed to repeated and extensive hearings - did not meet Slovenian and international legal standards.

While the court is expected to decide on the demand on Wednesday, prosecutor Andrej Ferlinc told the press that virtually nothing would be left of the case if the defence were to get its way.

He stressed that every country has its own legal system, tradition and principles and that the view of the defence suggests that the law is only applied correctly in Slovenia.

Jansa, who refused to share the bench with the remaining defendants today and was allowed to sit next to his lawyer, also commented on the evidence, saying that even tough none of it pertained to his person, documents obtained in ways that did not comply with Slovenia's constitution should be eliminated.

All defendants were present today, including Wolf, an Austrian businessman of Slovenian origin who is suspected of helping Crnkovic, as well Joze Zagozen, Jansa's close aide in the past in the Democrats (SDS), and army officer Tone Krkovic, also an associate of Jansa in the past, both of which are accused of accepting a bribe.

The trial, which is handled by the Ljubljana Local Court but was held in a larger hall of the Ljubljana District Court, remained open to the public.

Notably, the session was interrupted by judge Klajnsek's temporary confiscation of digital appliances, including one used by Jansa, to prevent live reporting from the hall.


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