The Slovenia Times

New Fiasco of the Slovenian judicial system


The court's judging panel released five from custody and lifted house arrest against two further of the total of 17 defendants in the high-profile cocaine trial, after deciding to exclude part of the evidence.

Voicing "shock" at the decision, State District Prosecutor Blanka Žgajnar said the judging panel ruled that all the evidence collected in Slovenia and Serbia was gathered unlawfully, by violating human rights and freedoms.

Based on that decision, the panel released most of the defendants from custody. This means the panel does not think reasonable ground has been presented for suspicion the defendants committed the charges brought against them, the prosecutor said.

She said the excluded evidence was collected also based on an order by the Ljubljana District Court, announcing an appeal against the decision to end remand within three days.

The prosecution will also appeal against the exclusion of part of evidence, but only by appealing against the verdict, which Žgajnar hopes will be declared by 23 November.

"Serbian evidence was obviously sufficient for Serbia to pronounce final guilty verdicts, while Slovenia is obviously a human rights oasis where such evidence is not sufficient," prosecutor Mateja Gončin stated.

The evidence remaining is mainly that collected in Italy and Uruguay.

Žgajnar said the list of the evidence excluded was very long and would still need to be examined, but she would expect what remains was mainly incriminating for the part of subordinate ring members operating in Italy.

The defence welcomed the decision with Tošić's lawyer Luka Zajc stating that the defence's arguments proved justified. He claimed that no piece of evidence, including those excluded, was incriminating for Tošić.

Head of the Criminal Police Administration Jurij Ferme expressed surprise at the court's decision saying that the administration believed the police and investigators acted lawfully and professionally throughout the investigation, following the prosecutor's directions.

Ferme said there had been cases before where defendants were released from custody but were remanded again later or were found guilty by court later.

The trial of the Slovenian arm of a suspected international drug ring started on 10 May 2011, nearly a year after arrests were made in Slovenia as part of an international police operation under code name Balkan Warrior.

The prosecution filed the indictment on 23 November 2010, nearly two years ago, which is the upper limit for keeping a defendant in custody.

The defendants are charged with drug production and trafficking, and racketeering.


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