THE DECIDING judge in the Ľudmila Cervanová murder case has been granted one final extension to the deadline to deliver a written verdict in the 30-year-old case.
Štefan Michalík, the president of the senate of the Slovak Supreme Court and the judge who decided on the case in December, will now have until May 4 to submit his written verdict.
The head of the office of the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Eva Rupcová, said Chief Justice Milan Karabín agreed to extend the deadline again, on condition that this extension would be the last one.
The latest deadline comes five months after the Supreme Court in Bratislava decided on the case.
"I really do not know why it is taking so long. This is unusual," Rupcová told The Slovak Spectator. "But, after all, the whole case is unusual."
The body of Cervanová, a 19-year-old medical student, was found on July 14, 1976, in the Čierna Voda River near the village of Kráľová pri Senci. Six years later, in September 1982, the Regional Court senate in Bratislava gave its judgment on the case, delivering prison sentences of four to 24 years for the six men accused.
After the fall of the communist regime, the federal Supreme Court discharged the verdict of the Regional Court in Bratislava, arguing that during the investigations and trials, the law was violated 72 times, to the detriment of the convicted. Therefore, it ordered the Regional Court in Bratislava to re-open the case and bring a verdict. After the break-up of Czechoslovakia, the case languished in Slovak courts for 16 years until the defendants themselves requested the continuation of the trial.
On December 4, 2006, the senate of the Supreme Court again declared the six defendants guilty. The court extended the original sentences of three of the defendants, including Milan Andrášik. His sentence was extended from 13 years to 15, and he started serving it in December.
Andrášik will have served two-thirds of his sentence by August, which gives him the right to ask the District Court in Trnava for a conditional pardon. But without a written verdict, the district court has its hands tied.
"We are trapped in a stalemate situation," Andrášik's lawyer, Martin Kanás, told The Slovak Spectator. "The district court will only decide on releasing my client when it has the written verdict in hands - and the verdict has still not been completed."
Kanás seemed frustrated when asked how he would interpret the fact that after five months, the verdict still had not been written.
"What should I think?" he said. "The judges who decided this case, and who thus should have studied the case properly in order to decide justly, have a one-month deadline for writing the verdict.
"However, the president of the senate, Štefan Michalík, was not able to meet this deadline. He has let it be prolonged four times."
According to information obtained by The Slovak Spectator, documents have been found in the archives of the Nation's Memory Institute concerning two witnesses in the case, Silvia and Lydia Cohen.
These two Frenchwomen have been claiming since Andrášik and Čerman were first charged that both are innocent as they all spent the evening together.