ŠTEFAN Harabin, former Supreme Court chief justice, believes that the recent investigation by the National Audit Office (NKÚ) into the handling of finances at the court was part of a "scandalous and politically motivated campaign".
It would not be surprising if he is right. After all, the report was ordered by his deputy, Juraj Machrák, after he temporarily took over as acting head of the Supreme Court when Harabin's term ended in February; and Machrák later stood against Harabin in the elections for the top post.
However, whether Harabin's behaviour is eventually deemed to be legal or illegal, there is enough evidence to question his judgement: The size of bonuses he paid to loyal judges, the election irregularities in December, and his handling of the press over all of these issues.
And surely good judgement is exactly what the chief justice should have. As should all the members of the Supreme Court, almost half of whom have backed Harabin in each round of the election.
Of course, many if not all of those judges were the recipients of the questionable bonuses paid out during his period in office, but that would not seriously affect their decision as to who is most suited to the position. After all, as judges they are more concerned with what is best for Slovak justice rather than lining their own pockets. Aren't they?
26. May 2003 at 0:00