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Against legislators

Lawyers Valko and Trimaj wrote on this page two weeks ago that both regular courts and the Constitutional Court are required to ensure a randomly appointed judge on each case they handle, but that the latter court is still assigning cases to judges on a subjective basis. Chief Justice Ivetta Macejková responded that unlike lower courts, which have to use an electronic case assignment system to ensure a random selection, the Constitutional Court "is not required to by law". She added that the Constitutional Court has a specific position that prevents it from "mechanically adopting the same electronic means of case assignment as the lower courts". Her standpoint is not only in conflict with the opinions of these two constitutional law experts, but also with the intentions of legislators.

In April 2004, the parliamentary Constitutional Law Committee presented an amendment to get rid of the difference in the way judges were chosen at regular courts and the Constitutional Court, saying the latter had to ensure case assignment "by random selection with the aid of technical and program aids". The Committee said the change was necessary in order to guarantee people their right to a lawfully chosen judge, and in order to avoid the risk of people suing Slovakia on that very score. If the European Court of Human Rights does uphold a complaint regarding the Constitutional Court's failure to provide a lawfully selected judge, Slovakia will be faced with a big problem - and one that it has known about for almost three years.

Sme, April 10

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