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IN SHORT

New justice minister criticises slow courts

ONE of the government's priorities in the justice sector is justice for all, not only for the wealthy but also for lower income groups, stated Justice Minister Štefan Harabin following a meeting with the President Ivan Gašparovič on August 3.

Harabin thinks that the previous government infringed on the constitutional right to justice for citizens, pointing to the closure of some district courts and the increased court fees that were instituted during the process of optimizing the court system. Harabin also plans to adopt measures to speed up court proceedings, stating that he was shocked by the exceptionally large number of unresolved court cases.

During the previous government's term, the number of unresolved court cases in civilian matters surged by almost 72,000 while the number of unresolved criminal cases almost doubled, from 10,000 to 19,600, news wire SITA wrote.

According to the SME daily, Harabin also said that the performance of the judges of the Special Court, which was set up by the previous government to fight top-level corruption and mafia cases, was also too low.

It remains unclear, however, whether Harabin would initiate the closure of the Special Court. Meanwhile, the minister plans to carry out an audit of the Court to measure the effectiveness of the institution. The ministry has already launched legislative proceedings to modify the status and powers of the Court and decrease the salaries of the Court judges.

The government should start considering the proposal in September.

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