Failed Democracy: The Slovenian Patria Case – (Non)Law in Context

  • Matej Avbelj


The paper discusses the role played by the Slovenian judici-ary and its legal academic counterparts in the notorious Slovenian ‘Patria affair’. The affair led to the incarceration of the leader of the main Slovenian opposition party just three weeks before the parliamentary elections, turning the latter into an unfair and il-legitimate event rather than an exercise in democracy. Due to the overall legal and political context of the affair, there is growing evi-dence to substantiate the belief that right from the outset the affair was politically motivated and used to instrumentalise, even abuse, the institutions of the rule of law for political purposes. With a special focus on the role of the Constitutional Court in this matter, the paper demonstrates the severity of the crisis of the rule of law in Slovenia, a country that is inevitably drifting into the group of de facto failed constitutional democracies. Keywords: rule of law, democracy, fair elections, constitutional adjudication, fair trial, Patria case.