International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Slovakia

Article 44 of Slovakia’s constitution covers the right to protect the environment. It reads:

Every person shall have the right to a favorable environment Every person shall have a duty to protect and improve the environment and foster cultural heritage No person shall imperil or damage the environment, natural wealth and cultural heritage beyond the limits set by law The State shall be responsible for the economical use of natural resources, for ecological balance and an effective environmental policy, and shall ensure protection of determined species of wild plans and wild animals Details on the rights and duties according to paragraphs 1 to 4 shall be laid down by a law

Article 45, on the other hand, states: “Every person shall have the right to full and timely information on the environmental situation, and reasons and consequences thereof”

Featured Legislation

1991: The  Environmental Protection Act was passed. The Act stipulates the basic concepts and determines the basic principles of environment protection and the duties of legal and natural entities for the protection and improvement of environment conditions and for the utilization of natural resources as well as it follows from the principles of permanently sustainable development. The document consists of VIII Secs. that contain 35 Arts. Section I (arts. 1-11) lays down general provisions. Section II (Arts. 12-16) establishes the principles of environmental protection. Section III (Arts. 17-19) establishes the duties in the field of environmental protection. Section IV regards environmental impact assessment. Section V regards environmental audit. Section VI (Arts. 27-30) establishes liability for the infringement of environmental legislation. Section VII (Arts. 31-33) establishes an economic mechanism of the regulation of environmental protection. Section VIII (Arts. 34-35) lays down final provisions.

2002: The Act on Environmental Labeling was signed. This Act sets out the procedures governing the award of labels for eco-friendly products. The application scope does not cover drinks, food or drugs.

2004: The Water Act was approved. The Water Act creates conditions for: (a) comprehensive protection of water, including aquatic ecosystems; (b) maintaining or improving the state of waters; (c) efficient, economical and sustainable use of water; (d) the management of basins and improvement of the quality of the environment and its components; (e) reducing the adverse effects of floods and drought; (f) ensuring the functions of watercourses; (g) the safety of waterworks; (h) the use of water in view of its strategic and security significance for the State, the public interest and food security of the State. This Act regulates the rights and obligations of natural persons and legal entities with respect to water and immovable property related to water protection. Furthermore, the present Act regulates conditions for the transport of water taken from bodies located on the territory of the Slovak Republic across the border of the Slovak Republic for personal consumption and for the provision of humanitarian and emergency assistance.

2004: The Act on the Environmental Fund was approved. This Act concerns the setting up of the Environmental Fund, a legal entity located in Bratislava which shall operate in the field of environmental protection. The Act describes in particular the origin of financial resources (art. 2), their management (art. 5), types of financial support (art. 7), conditions for benefiting from financial support (art. 8) and procedures for allocating such resources (art. 9).

2004: An act on assessment and control of environmental noise was introduced. This Act is composed of 12 articles and two Annexes. The objective of this Act is to establish a common approach of assessment and control of environmental noise intended to avoid, prevent or reduce harmful effects which derive from the exposure to environmental noise. This Act establishes the rights and obligations of physical persons, legal persons and roles of state organs and territorial authority organs in the area of assessment and control of environmental noise. The following actions are to be implemented: (a) the determination of exposure to environmental noise, through noise mapping; (b) ensuring that information on environmental noise and its effects is made available to the public; (c) adoption of action plans based upon noise-mapping results, with a view to preventing and reducing environmental noise, and particularly where exposure levels may cause adverse effects, intended to protect good quality of acoustic environment. This Act applies to the assessment and control of environmental noise to which humans are exposed in particular in built-up areas, in public parks or other quiet areas in an agglomeration, in quiet areas in open country, near schools, hospitals and other noise-sensitive buildings and areas. This Act does not apply to noise that is caused by the exposed person himself, noise from domestic activities, noise created by neighbors, noise at work places or noise inside means of transport or due to military activities in military areas.

2007: An act on the prevention and remedying of environmental damage was established. This Act establishes rights and obligations concerning the prevention and compensation of environmental damages and further specifies functions of public authorities in this field. The Act is composed of the following Sections: (1) General provisions; (2) Preventive activities and compensation of environmental damages; (3) Expenditures for preventing environmental damages; (4) Transboundary environmental damages; (5) State administration; (6) Enforcement; (7) Common, temporary and final provisions.

2013: An sct on integrated environmental prevention and control of environmental pollution was brought into force. This Act, which is composed of 42 articles and four Annexes, lays down provisions to prevent or reduce emissions into air, water and land and to prevent the generation of waste, in order to achieve a high level of protection of the environment. The present Act regulates: (a) rights and obligations of persons in the field of integrated prevention and control of pollution; (b) professional competence to provide expert advice related to integrated prevention and control of pollution; (c) procedures for the integrated licensing process; (d) information system of integrated prevention and control of pollution; (e) the competence of state administration in the area of integrated prevention and control of pollution; (f) offenses for infringement of obligations; (g) reporting to the European Commission on integrated prevention and control of pollution in the Slovak Republic; (h) the system of information exchange on best available techniques.

2016: A Decree on the air quality was promulgated. The main objective of the Decree of the Ministry of Environment, which is composed of five articles and 14 Annexes, is to establish target values for the concentration of selected pollutants in ambient air in accordance with European Union legislation. The present Decree lays down in particular: (a) limit values, target values and long-term objectives for ozone, critical levels of air pollution for selected pollutants and deadlines to achieve them, ways of monitoring and assessing these criteria; (b) details on information and data on air quality which must be available to the general public; (c) methods and technical requirements for air quality assessment; (d) upper and lower limits to assess the level of air pollution for selected pollutants, requirements for the location of sampling points. Limit values of pollutants for human health protection are specified in Annex 1.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • Slovakia’s authorities require capacity building in order to effectively fight forestry crime. A recent report reveals a discrepancy between mission/intention and reality on the ground. There is no clear approach/strategy to combat forestry crime, as there is a lack of equipment and expertise to carry out investigations – points highlighted by the District Authority Offices. Officials lament the fact that new employees were not even provided with uniforms; the low level or absence of training throughout the enforcement chain may be one of the reasons why the awareness on forestry crime issues and willingness/motivation to combat those crimes is said to be low amongst authorities. Low salaries for forest staff and inspectors increase the chance of corruption and fraud, leading to an illegal black market for illicit activities. To date, Slovakia still lacks a single electronic system to process information on the planning, marking, use, certification, dispatching and processing of timber. → Corruption, nepotism and the involvement of politicians is seen as an aggravating factor of forestry crime. This presents challenges, as a small number of powerful players influence the forestry business at different levels, from the decisions made by state enterprises to the type of timber being harvested (quality, quantity and species). The legislative framework related to forestry crime still has loopholes, including on the definition of illegal logging. There is also a lack of awareness and experience, including the possibility to raise 3rd party concerns. Law enforcement personnel have identified the modus operandi to carry out forestry crime: offenders find numerous ways to contravene the law and a wide variety of actors are involved in forestry crime. “Logging of unauthorised trees in forest stands earmarked for felling”, “logging outside of authorised perimeters” “logging in protected areas” and “logging in excess of permits” are the four most common modus operandi according to a recent survey of officials. From a judicial perspective, there is an obvious lack of success with serious forestry crimes cases because different stakeholders (police, courts, prosecutors, etc.) have different interpretations of the legislation.

References and Further Reading


Minister of Environment: