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IN SHORT

PM: Special Court here to stay

DESPITE the efforts of Justice Minister Štefan Harabin to have it closed down, the Special Court, which was set up in 2005 to fight high-level corruption and organized crime in Slovakia, will continue to operate.

"The ruling coalition will not cancel this institution," announced Prime Minister Robert Fico following a cabinet session on January 10.

Harabin said he would respect the decision, although he believes that the existence of the Special Court violates the constitution. He also said he would not submit his bill on the dissolution of the Special Court to the cabinet. However, the draft will still undergo a complete interdepartmental review.

The prime minister expects the review procedure to generate proposals for amendments to the Act on the Special Court to improve how the institution works.

The Special Court has been opposed by the ruling coalition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) party since the current government was formed last summer. Although the court has proven effective in handing down sentences in organized crime cases, and is not constrained by the ties to local political and criminal organizations that hamper district and regional courts in Slovakia, the HZDS has claimed its justices are paid too much and do too little work.

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