Defendant Marian Kočner center, leaves the courtroom at the Supreme Court in Bratislava, Slovakia, on June 15, 2021. The Supreme Court today annulled the 2020 acquittals of Kočner and Alena Zsuzsová in the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak. (AP/Jaroslav Novak/TASR)

Slovak Supreme Court cancels acquittal of primary suspects in journalist Ján Kuciak’s murder

New York, June 15, 2021 – In response to the Slovak Supreme Court’s ruling today to cancel the acquittals of two defendants in the 2018 murder of investigative reporter Ján Kuciak, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“We welcome the Slovak Supreme Court’s decision to cancel the acquittals of Marián Kočner and Alena Zsuzsová and hope to see full justice in the killing of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. “This ruling is a crucial step toward ending impunity in Kuciak’s killing and ensuring that all journalists can work safely and freely in Slovakia.”

A Supreme Court panel today ruled that a 2020 decision clearing businessman Marian Kočner, the suspected mastermind, and Alena Zsuzsová, a suspected intermediary, did not adequately examine all available evidence, according to news reports. The court ordered a new trial, according to those reports.

In September 2020, a lower court acquitted both suspects, citing a lack of evidence, as CPJ documented at the time.

Kuciak, an investigative reporter who covered corruption at the news website Aktuality, and his fiancé were shot and killed on February 21, 2018, in their home near Bratislava, according to CPJ research.