Several dozen Slovak judges have apparently suffered serious mental trauma, at least judging from a lawsuit in which they demand compensation from the state for setting up the Special Court. The litigating judges say it is in conflict with equal treatment, because their colleagues on the Special Court have higher salaries.
This lawsuit is merely another blow in the continuing war against the Special Court. The first attack was launched last year by Justice Minister Štefan Harabin and the HZDS party, which called on judges, public notaries, lawyers and academics to deliver their opinions on the "constitutionality of the Special Court, especially in view of the existence of two groups of judges, one of which comprises judges cooperating with the government for higher salaries and other advantages, and the other comprising judges punished with lower salaries and fewer advantages for not cooperating".
The second attack on the Special Court and the Special Prosecutor's Office was the bill for their abolition prepared by the Justice Ministry. Harabin was stopped ante portas by PM Fico himself, but the bill did not end up on the scrap heap. The ministry may deny that it had anything to do with the current lawsuit, but it cannot deny that the lawsuit flows directly from the rejected bill. The bill's accompanying report says that courts will have to compensate litigating judges "for the passage of discriminatory measures giving advantages to a specific group of judges". What the ministry originally prepared as a warning has been used by the judges as an instruction manual for their lawsuit.
Who knows how many of the litigating judges would be issued a security clearance, which is a pre-condition for serving on the Special Court? Nevertheless, they want compensation. They are also lending themselves to Harabin's continued campaign of below-the-belt blows against the Special Court.
Sme, May 7
14. May 2007 at 0:00 | Juraj Hrabko