Council of Europe concerned over new judicial law

THE INTRODUCTION of obligatory security clearances for judges might breach international standards, according to the Council of Europe’s body concerning the independence, competence, and impartiality of judges.

THE INTRODUCTION of obligatory security clearances for judges might breach international standards, according to the Council of Europe’s body concerning the independence, competence, and impartiality of judges.

The Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE), which the CoE established in 2000, stated in its opinion on the recently passed amendment to Slovakia’s Constitution which, among other changes of rules for the work of judges, introduces compulsory security clearances for all judges.

“CCJE in its statement states that the international standards will be breached if the conditions will be widened by adding the possibility to recall a judge from their post in case they are evaluated as not fulfilling the prerequisites of judges’ competence,” Slovakia’s representative in CCJE Alena Poláčková, who requested the organisation’s opinion, said as quoted by the TASR newswire.

CCJE deems the stable term of a judge to be the main element of a judge’s independence, meaning that the only reason for a judge to be recalled, apart from health reasons or achieving the given age, is a sentence in a penal procedure or in a disciplinary procedure.

Not even the fact that the Judicial Council is supposed to evaluate the clearances secures an impartial process, since the Council “is not a judicial body and definitely not politically independent”, Poláčková said as quoted by TASR.

CCJE also expressed concerns about the gathering of documentation from secret services for the purposes of the clearances of judges.

“We all know that the secret services have their own very specific ways of gathering information which are absolutely non-transparent,” Poláčková said, adding that the CCJE believes this would create pressure on the judiciary and violate the principle of the presumption of innocence.

“These clearances will impact the division of power in the state,” Poláčková further stated as quoted by TASR. “A democratic state is characterised by the fact that there is an equal division of power between the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. As soon as the executive is put in a position from which it controls the judiciary, we are no longer talking about a democratic state but rather a police state.”

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.

Top stories

Bratislava ring road is closer

Final call now in the hands of the government.

UPDATED: Nurses ready to strike compromise, Fico refuses

NURSES and midwives who filed resignations recently agreed with the proposal made by Prime Minister Robert Fico whereby they were urged to go back to their jobs.

Monika Kavecká

Riding the carousel

THE TRUTH is important and the recent allegations that connect both the interior and transport ministers to a massive tax fraud scheme have not been proven.

Ministers Ján Počiatek (l) and Robert Kaliňák

President will not appoint constitutional judges before election

SLOVAK President Andrej Kiska will yet not appoint the candidates for judges of the Constitutional Court (CC). He confirmed this in his February 4 address to the CC at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava.

President Andrej Kiska