Slovenia: Ethics and Good Governance

Publication Date01 Apr 1999
AuthorKlaudijo Stroligo
SubjectAccounting & finance
Journal of Financial Crime Vol. 7 No. 2 International
Slovenia: Ethics and Good Governance
Klaudijo Stroligo
In any state at all regulated, by accepting a term of
office, a government also undertakes to respect
those basic principles on which the legal and social
order of the state is founded. So, for example, in
Slovenia, the president of the government and
ministers, on election to the National Assembly,
swear that they will respect the Constitution and
the law and that they will behave in accordance
with the well-being of all citizens of Slovenia. With
this apparently symbolic statement, a minister binds
not only himself but the state administration as a
In assessing the ethical and unethical behaviour of
any government, it is thus necessary to consider all
those standards which it has succeeded in remoulding
during the period of its term of office, and then, with
the aid of the state apparatus, implementing them in
practice. In this connection, it is also important that
the state administration does not respect the law
only in relation to citizens, but in all its internal
operations, where its officials and employees are
bound by specific ethical and other standards.
In this paper, the author will attempt to show how
the enforcement of such ethical principles and
standards is developing in Slovenia, where numerous
changes have taken place in the last eight years which
have also influenced the construction of the system of
social values. Prior to independence, the political
system in Slovenia had been replaced, and instead
one-party, a multi-party system was introduced.
It was further necessary after independence in 1991 to
set up numerous ministries completely from scratch,
which before this had only operated as smaller units
of former Yugoslav ministries. It therefore became
necessary to employ thousands of new state employ-
All this had to be done at a time when the state
was gripped by a real economic crisis and high
inflation, and the transition to a market system and
privatisation of former social assets had been insti-
gated. It is probably not necessary to emphasise that
during such revolutionary changes, which had for
the most part taken several decades in other countries,
the principles of good governance suffered in many
In this analysis of ethical principles, only those rules
which are inscribed in legislative and other statutory
acts and some codes of ethics are examined, and in
citing concrete cases the author has tried to describe
their realisation in practice. He is, however, unable
to avoid the fact that as an official in the Ministry
of Finance, in the Office for the Prevention of
Money Laundering, he is bound above all to rules
which apply to this state ministry, and his primary
interest lies in their examination.
By determining the behaviour which is defined as a
criminal offence, the state simultaneously defines
the values which it is prepared to protect by threat
of the most serious sanctions and with the com-
mitment of its repressive organs. A list of criminal
offences in any state thus represents some kind of
mirror image of its highest moral and ethical
In the Penal Code of the Republic of Slovenia,"
criminal offences against official duties and public
authority are determined in a special section, so that
even with this apparently unimportant form, the
legislature has made it known that it gives precedence
to the lawful operation of state administration. In this
section are found all the so-called classical criminal
offences of official persons, such as, for example,
the betrayal of official secrets, the forging of official
documents, the illegal appropriation of property on
the part of official persons, and various other forms
of abuse. In addition, criminal offences such as the
giving and receiving of bribes and insider dealing,
examples of criminal offences of corruption, are
found here.
In general, it is true that the criminal law regula-
tions already satisfactorily cover all illegal behaviour
of domestic official persons and that there is no major
loophole in this field. Because of harmonisation with
regulations of the European Community and the
Council of Europe, Slovenia will shortly extend the
criminality of corruption offences to official persons
of other countries, international organisations and
international courts. The proposed amendments and
supplements to the Penal Code which will regulate
this field are in their second reading in Parliament
Journal of Financial Crime
2, 1999, pp. 186-190
© Henry Stewart Publications
ISSN 0969-6458
Page 186

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