JUDGES gathered within the judges’ association For an Open Judiciary (ZOJ) oppose the introduction of across-the-board security screenings for judges. On June 30, they delivered a letter to President Andrej Kiska stating their objection, the TASR newswire reported.

The new rule is part of the constitutional amendment authored by Smer and the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) that combined judiciary reforms with the enshrinement of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. It required a three-fifths majority in parliament and was passed in June just before Kiska became president.

The statement was supported by 625 of the total 1,400 Slovak judges.

The president understands why legislators decided to adopt “such a radical measure”, but at the same time he claims that it could overstep the limits of the constitution and represent a violation of Slovakia’s international commitments, according to the president’s advisor Ján Mazák (a former Constitutional Court chairman from 2000-06).

“It’s a statement in which we express our opinion that the security screenings of judges are contrary to the constitutional principles of judicial independence,” ZOJ head Katarína Javorčíková said after meeting with Kiska and presenting the letter, as quoted by TASR.

Such screenings are dangerous because they involve a presumption of guilt, she said, adding that the ZOJ does, however, approve of selective screenings of judges in cases where there is a concrete suspicion in regard to a specific judge.

“The disciplinary court would decide [on the appropriateness of screening] in such cases,” added Javorčíková, as quoted by TASR.

“Mr President is restrained because he believes that if someone is to make a judgement, which is binding, it must be the Constitutional Court,” Mazák told TASR. “If judges want protection, please, let them ask the Constitutional Court to rule whether such screenings are or aren’t in accordance with the constitution, or to request a temporary suspension of those provisions.”

Source: TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.