The Slovenia Times

Amnesty for covid fines coming


The Slovenian government has adopted a bill that halts all infraction proceedings for breaking covid-era rules that were later declared unconstitutional, which will affect fines totalling several million euros.

Since the end of the covid state of emergency the Constitutional Court has voided key provisions of the law on communicable diseases and the law on public assembly, legislation which served as the legal basis for the previous government's heavy-handed approach to fining violations of covid restrictions.

The fines were one of the reasons why anti-government protests were held throughout much of the pandemic and the new government, in office for a year, had made it a campaign pledge to halt all infraction proceedings and refund any fines.

Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan described the bill on 4 May as an important step in rebuilding trust in the rule of law "which was significantly undermined by the use of excessive and unconstitutional repression ... during the pandemic."

Between March 2020 and May 2022 more than 62,000 infraction proceedings were launched under legislation that was subsequently ruled unconstitutionally and the fines issued totalled €5.7 million.

About 30% or just over €1.7 million in fines had been paid, the rest are currently still pending, although enforcement was paused soon after the new government took office.

Under the bill, all ongoing infraction proceedings will be formally halted and all those who have paid fines will get their money back. The data on the infractions will be automatically deleted from public records.

The minister said the previous, right-wing government had been faced with great uncertainty due to the Covid outbreak and had to act quickly to adopt temporary measures that directly encroached on freedom of movement and the right to assembly.

"However - and this is crucial - such measures must be consistent with the fundamental tenets of the constitutional order and the rule of law... A crisis cannot and must not be an excuse to undermine them", she said.


More from Politics