Slovenia


Have any emergency powers been enacted in response to the covid-19 pandemic in your country? How long do they last, what are the provisions for extension/prolongation, what are the provisions for review?

Since the 7th of March the Slovenian government has adopted several decrees and orders with the main aim of prohibiting the movement and gathering of people as well as prohibiting access to public spaces and areas (see the answer to the following question below).[1] On the 12th of March an epidemic was declared in the Republic of Slovenia.[2] On the 16th of April, the Constitutional Court of Republic of Slovenia ruled that the Government of Republic of Slovenia must examine the continuous existence of a professional justification for the measures referred to in the adopted decree every seven days and if necessary amend or abolish the measures and inform the National Assembly and the public of doing so.[3] On the 24th of April an additional Article was adopted to the existing decree containing this requirement.[4]

On the 11th of April the Act on Intervention Measures to Contain the COVID-19 Epidemic and to Mitigate its Consequences for Citizens and the Economy entered into force.[5] Article 103 of the Act gives certain additional powers to the police, such as collecting information, inviting, warning, giving orders, establishing the identity of individuals and carrying out the identification procedures, searching for individuals, identifying individuals through photos, setting up roadblocks, temporary restricting movement of individuals, data collection and processing as well as apprehension of individuals. The police may exercise these powers only when pursuing the goal of containing and controlling the epidemic and to ensure compliance with special measures from the law defining infectious diseases and from orders and decrees adopted for containment and control of the epidemic. In order to exercise the powers referred to above, the Act also gives powers to the police to obtain certain personal information on individuals, such as personal name, address, personal doctor information, information on the decision by which the sick person was ordered to be isolated or quarantined as well as on the type and duration of the isolation and quarantine and information on the restrictions imposed on persons subject to isolation or quarantine. Data obtained are kept not more than 30 days after the end of the epidemic. 

On the 15th of April the Government announced the end of the epidemic meaning that the Act on Intervention Measures to Contain the COVID-19 Epidemic and to Mitigate its Consequences for Citizens and the Economy will expire on the 31st of May.[6]   

Have any restrictions on public gatherings been imposed? How are they enforced?

On the the 7th of March the government issued an order that prohibited gathering of people at public events in closed public spaces, where more than 500 people gather.[7] On the 9th of March the number was modified to 100 people.[8] On the 11th of March outdoor sports events for more than 500 people were banned[9] as well as indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.[10] On the 13th of March an exception was added for the organization of emergency care for children of parents who have to perform work duties in the critical infrastructure or national security.[11]

On the 15th of March government issued a decree that prohibited the gathering of people in educational institutions and universities.[12] On the 19th of March the government, until further notice, prohibited the movement and gathering of people as well as prohibited access to public spaces and areas with a substantial list of exceptions in regards to: going to and from work, executing work tasks, executing economic, agricultural and forestry activities, access to pharmacies, grocery stores and agricultural vendors, access to drugstores, petrol stations, access to banks and post offices, access to public parks and other walking areas and so forth. An exception exists for family members or groups of persons from the same household and if it is possible to ensure safe distance from other groups of people. On the 29th of March a new decree was adopted with another restriction added- movement outside of an individual’s municipality of permanent or temporary residence was prohibited. Exceptions were made in case services such as grocery stores, post offices, petrol stations and so forth were not provided in the municipality of residence; in this case individuals were allowed to access another municipality with nearest accessible services.[13] On the 15th of April a new decree was adopted with an additional exception allowing certain sports outdoor activities.[14] Since the 29th of April the prohibition of movement outside of an individual’s municipality of permanent or temporary residence has been lifted.[15]

Fines for offenses of the above mentioned ordinances are imposed in accordance with the law governing infectious diseases in the amount of 400- 4000 euros. Inspectors as well as police officers supervise the implementations of the decrees.[16] Several people have been fined but not excessively. For example, on the 28th of April and the 5th of May protests on bikes took place against corruption in the government with thousands of people attending. There were no reports of fining protesters, even though many people were not on bikes and were effectively “gathering” at certain points.

Have restrictions on leaving home been imposed? How are they enforced?

Yes, on the 19th of March the Government of the Republic of Slovenia imposed restrictions which effectively allow individuals to leave home only for specific reasons.[17] See answer above.

Have any other new powers been granted to law enforcement authorities? (e.g. in the UK, to detain potentially infectious persons)

Yes.

On the 11th of April the Act on Intervention Measures to Contain the COVID-19 Epidemic and to Mitigate its Consequences for Citizens and the Economy entered into force. Article 103 of the Act gives certain additional powers to the police, such as collecting information, inviting, warning, giving orders, establishing the identity of individuals and carrying out the identification procedures, searching for individuals, identifying individuals through photos, setting up roadblocks, temporary restricting movement of individuals, data collection and processing as well as apprehension of individuals. The police may exercise these powers only when pursuing the goal of containing and controlling the epidemic and to ensure compliance with special measures from the law defining infectious diseases and from orders and decrees adopted for containment and control of the epidemic. In order to exercise the powers referred to above, the Act also gives powers to the police to obtain certain personal information on individuals, such as personal name, address, personal doctor information, information on the decision by which the sick person was ordered to be isolated or quarantined as well as on the type and duration of the isolation and quarantine and information on the restrictions imposed on persons subject to isolation or quarantine. Data obtained are kept not more than 30 days after the end of the epidemic. 

On the 15th of April the Government announced the end of the epidemic meaning that the Act on Intervention Measures to Contain the COVID-19 Epidemic and to Mitigate its Consequences for Citizens and the Economy will expire on the 31st of May.   

Are the authorities making new use of telecommunications or other data?

On the 9th of April the government announced to the media, that they are considering the implementation of a voluntary free smartphone application that would let the user know, with the help of geolocating, whether he or she has been in contact with a person that has been infected with COVID-19 and would consequently advise the individual to selfisolate. The application would only be accessing location data of the individuals. All collected data would be destroyed after the individual would delete the application. On the 6th of May the Ministry of Health announced that they are looking into recommending Slovenian citizens the use of an open coded, decentralized, voluntary mobile phone application that would not be based on location data but on Bluetooth technology (i.e. contact tracing).

Since the Government’s announcement there has been a lively debate in the media in regards to the dangers that government surveillance can pose to democracy.

The government also proposed to add article 104 to the Act on Intervention Measures to Contain the COVID-19 Epidemic and to Mitigate its Consequences for Citizens and the Economy that would allow the tracking of quarantined citizens via location data in mobile devices without a court order. The article was deleted on the basis of the opinion of the Information Commissioner, Ombudsman and the Consumer Association of Slovenia.

Are there instances of law enforcement authorities exceeding powers? Can you provide a summary/summaries?

No.

Have any restrictions been placed on the media, or instructions handed down to media organisations, regarding reporting on the pandemic?

There haven’t been any reports on specific restrictions placed on the media. However, in the beginning of April the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Dunja Mijatović described Slovenia as one of the countries where the government puts pressure on the media and where unacceptable interference with the public’s right to information exists. The Slovenian right wing government responded to the Council of Europe’s statement on the 7th of April via a dispatch prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which it stated that the majority of Slovenian media originates from the former Communist regime and that all attempts to create new media that would not be based on the legacy of the ex totalitarian regime have failed. Several journalists are named in the dispatch as linked to the old communist regime. The dispatch was highly criticised by the opposition parties, some of which pointed out that the dispatch failed to mention that the party in power (SDS) is linked to media outlets under investigation for suspicious cash flows from Hungary linked to Viktor Orban.[18]

What (if any) role has been given to the military?

None.

Information on this contribution

Contributor: Katja Simončič (katja.simoncic [at] pf.uni-lj.si)

Date: Received 18 May 2020

Endnotes

[1] http://www.pisrs.si/Pis.web/aktualno

[2] https://www.gov.si/novice/2020-03-12-v-sloveniji-bo-razglasena-epidemija-vrtci-in-sole-se-zacasno-zaprejo/

[3] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0843/sklep-o-zadrzanju-izvrsevanja-7--clena-odloka-o-zacasni-splosni-prepovedi-gibanja-in-zbiranja-ljudi-na-javnih-mestih-in-povrsinah-v-republiki-sloveniji-ter-prepovedi-gibanja-izven-obcin-uradni-list-rs-st--3820-in-5120

[4] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0869/odlok-o-spremembi-odloka-o-zacasni-splosni-prepovedi-gibanja-in-zbiranja-ljudi-na-javnih-krajih-povrsinah-in-mestih-v-republiki-sloveniji-ter-prepovedi-gibanja-izven-obcin

[5] https://www.gov.si/assets/vlada/Seja-vlade-SZJ/2020/03-2020/tc_1.pdf

[6] https://www.gov.si/novice/2020-05-15-preklic-epidemije-nekateri-ucenci-in-dijaki-nazaj-v-sole-z-18-majem/

[7] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0470/odredba-o-prepovedi-zbiranja-na-javnih-prireditvah-v-javnih-prostorih-zaprtega-tipa-v-republiki-sloveniji

[8] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0495/odredba-o-prepovedi-zbiranja-na-javnih-prireditvah-v-javnih-prostorih-zaprtega-tipa-v-republiki-sloveniji

[9] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0508/odredba-o-prepovedi-zbiranja-na-dolocenih-sportnih-in-drugih-dogodkih-na-javnih-mestih-na-prostem

[10] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0526/odredba-o-prepovedi-zbiranja-na-dogodkih-v-zaprtih-javnih-prostorih

[11] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0549/odredba-o-dopolnitvi-odredbe-o-prepovedi-zbiranja-ljudi-v-zavodih-s-podrocja-vzgoje-in-izobrazevanja-ter-univerzah-in-samostojnih-visokosolskih-zavodih

[12] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0568/odlok-o-zacasni-prepovedi-zbiranja-ljudi-v-zavodih-s-podrocja-vzgoje-in-izobrazevanja-ter-univerzah-in-samostojnih-visokosolskih-zavodih

[13] https://www.uradni-list.si/_pdf/2020/Ur/u2020030.pdf

[14] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0793/odlok-o-zacasni-splosni-prepovedi-gibanja-in-zbiranja-ljudi-na-javnih-krajih-povrsinah-in-mestih-v-republiki-sloveniji-ter-prepovedi-gibanja-izven-obcin

[15] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0896/odlok-o-zacasni-splosni-prepovedi-gibanja-in-zbiranja-ljudi-na-javnih-krajih-povrsinah-in-mestih-v-republiki-sloveniji

[16] https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2020-01-0896/odlok-o-zacasni-splosni-prepovedi-gibanja-in-zbiranja-ljudi-na-javnih-krajih-povrsinah-in-mestih-v-republiki-sloveniji

[17] https://www.uradni-list.si/_pdf/2020/Ur/u2020030.pdf

[18] https://www.rtvslo.si/slovenija/anze-logar-o-pismu-ki-ga-je-vlada-poslala-v-strasbourg-ne-gre-za-depeso/520521

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