Slovakia: Trial begins in the Kuciak murder case
The trial of those suspected of involvement in the murders of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnirová begins before a special court in the Slovakian town of Pezinok on Friday. In a move which surprised many observers, the court accepted the indictment on Thursday and set January 13 as the date on which the main trial will begin. Commentators' expectations are high.
Hopes of a new era
The fact that those responsible for the murder are being brought to justice has already changed Slovakia, Pravda notes:
“The prime minister and minister of the interior resigned last year. A few months later, both the alleged murderers and their contractors were taken into custody. A trial has begun that could restore people's faith in justice. Slovakia has never experienced anything like this. ... If the case is solved, it could herald the end of an era. Politicians who take bribes and those who try to bribe them - because they believe that corruption will never disappear anyway - will do so knowing that they are in real danger of being arrested. When it's no longer possible to manipulate things with impunity and then sweep it all under the carpet, Slovakia will be a better place to live in.”
Trusting but not naive
Peter Bárdy, chief editor of the website aktuality.sk, where the murdered journalist Ján Kuciak worked, is both sceptical and hopeful as the trial begins:
“The investigations so far have shown that the system was even sicker than we thought. A system designed to safeguard respected citizens protected Kočner and his accomplices. But it's important to say that we trust the Senate, the judge and also the public prosecutor's office. We trust them to be impartial, unbiased, transparent and fair. But the fact that we trust does not mean that we are naive. We observe everything that happens in connection with the investigation into the murder of our colleague and his fiancée with a critical eye. Out of respect for those murdered, their families and the system of democracy that we want to uphold.”