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Ministry recommends Special Court be abolished

AN ANALYSIS prepared by the Justice Ministry recommends that the Special Court in Pezinok be shut down, despite only having been in operation for a year. It was set up by the previous government to deal with the most serious political and organized crime cases.

The report will be presented to cabinet today by Justice Minister Štefan Harabin, who was nominated to his position by the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) party.

Harabin opposes the Special Court because he regards it as unnecessary.

Among the reasons that the court be scrapped, according to the ministry analysis, is also the fact that Special Court justices must obtain a security clearance from the National Security Bureau, which means that the secret service learns details of the justices’ private lives.

According to Harabin, this means that the executive branch has access to detailed information on the weaknesses of judges, which the minister regards as unethical, the Sme daily wrote.

The analysis also argues that the fact Special Court judges are paid better than regular court system judges constitutes "highly sophisticated state corruption".

"I am clearly in favour of the abolition of the Special Court," Harabin said on September 27 during his first visit since taking office to the court in Pezinok.

A similar institution to Slovakia’s Special Court exists in Spain; the latter has sent letters of support to its Slovak counterpart.

According to Sme, US Ambassador Rodolphe Vallee recently defended the court in a meeting with Harabin, although ministry spokesman Michal Jurči denied the information. Swiss Ambassador Joseph Aregger has also publicly supported the court in its battle for survival.

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