Establishment of the Study Centre

In autumn 2005, the history section of the Sector for Redressing of Injustices and National Reconciliation started to operate within the framework of the Ministry of Justice. Its fundamental task was examination of all forms of violence and violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms against the Slovenian nation and members of other ethnic and religious communities in Slovenia during specific periods caused by all three totalitarian systems: fascism, communism and Nazism. End of April 2008 the Government of Republic of Slovenia established the Study Centre for National Reconciliation. The reason for this was in an objective need for increase of state activity in the above-mentioned area and its commitment to objective examination of historical facts and realisation of the conditions for national reconciliation.

The Government of the Republic of Slovenia established the institute for sake of realising the public interest in the area of science, education and culture. At the same time it would carry out tasks related to research, organisation, development, consultation, co-ordination and education in the area of national reconciliation and examination of totalitarian systems in Slovenia in the 20th century. Thus, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia wanted to follow in the footsteps of Central and East European countries (e.g. Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia and Hungary) which have undergone a similar historical experience as Slovenia. However, they are already a step ahead of us in the field of historical research, as far as the establishment of historical facts is concerned. The same holds true for establishing independent research institutions. The study centre creates and implements conditions for realising national reconciliation among Slovenians.

Legal and International Starting Points for Its Establishment

Fundamental legal basis for establishment of the Study Centre was the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. Here it is inter alia determined in the first paragraph of Article 5 that the country must protect human rights and fundamental freedoms on its territory. In continuation it also determines that the country must provide possibilities for harmonious development of society and culture. Accepting the democratic Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia meant a break with the totalitarian system, which systematically violated human rights and fundamental freedoms of individual. That is, also the fundamental norms of a society.

The Republic of Slovenia is as a member of the Council of Europe committed to observing the regulations and documents which are adopted by the European Council and the European Parliament. Here also belong Resolution No. 1096 of the Council of Europe on measures to dismantle the heritage of former communist totalitarian systems (1996) (link) and Resolution No. 1481 on Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes  (2006) (link), a text on the need for international condemnation of totalitarian communist regimes from the year 2006, which commit all Member States of the European Union, thus also Slovenia, to an effective realisation of its requirements. On 2nd April 2009, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism (link), which in a more detailed manner determines the relationship of European institutions to totalitarianisms of the 20th century, and further provides legal basis for functioning of national institutions in this area.

Activity of the Study Centre

The work of the Study Centre is dedicated to the following areas:

  • research activity: research of various forms of violence and violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms that were caused by the totalitarian systems in Slovenia in the 20th century;
  • collecting testimonies: collecting testimonies of political prisoners, deportees, dissidents, other victims of totalitarian regimes and their relatives, as well as creating records from the area of research using video, audio and computer equipment;
  • issuing publications: collecting and publishing documents and testimonies on violence and violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms which were done against Slovenians and members of other ethnic communities in Slovenia by the totalitarian systems in the 20th century;
  • databases: creating databases for purpose of research and for general public;
  • professional internal library: adding to the existing collection of books the latest home and foreign professional literature and periodicals from the area of work of institute;
  • organizing conferences, consultations and lectures on violence of totalitarian systems and violation of human rights in the 20th century;
  • establishing contact with Slovenians in neighbouring countries and abroad;
  • co-operating with education institutions (co-operation in compulsory elective subjects, history and civic education…) and increasing awareness in students of primary and secondary schools on results of research regarding violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms in Slovenia in the 20th century;
  • organizing and leading professional excursions visiting locations of hidden and concealed mass graves; concentration, working and refugee camps;
  • project tasks: newly-opened projects appearing besides the existing research, which will be presented to the public in short form;
  • creating conditions in order to redress injustices and national reconciliation based on examination of violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms.