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U.S. Ambassador backs Slovakia's Special Court

The American ambassador to Slovakia, Vincent Obsitnik, has expressed his support for the continued existence of Slovakia's Special Court.

The American ambassador to Slovakia, Vincent Obsitnik, has expressed his support for the continued existence of Slovakia's Special Court.

"It does excellent work for society," he told journalists after meeting the court's president, Michal Truban, in Pezinok. A group of governing coalition deputies headed by the chairman of the HZDS, Vladimír Mečiar, is campaigning for the Special Court to be dissolved. According to a motion delivered to the Constitutional Court in February, the existence of the court contradicts the Constitution as it is an extraordinary court that may be set up only in wartime or other extraordinary situations. The deputies claim that special judges are not independent, because they need to undergo security clearance checks, and that their status is not equal due to the high bonuses they are paid.

The Special Court in Pezinok is part of Slovakia's court system; it has the status of a regional court and decides on cases defined by the Penal Code, focusing on combating high-level corruption and organised crime. According to Ambassador Obsitnik, the court plays a great role in the fight against corruption. He said that in the past fifteen years, the situation in this sphere has improved thanks to the efforts of the Special Court, as well as that of the courts in general. The U.S. Embassy is prepared to continue helping in this effort. Obsitnik pointed to a seminar on the integrity of public officials starting in Bratislava on Monday, August 11, organised by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in cooperation with Slovakia's Customs Administration, the U.S. Embassy, an anti-corruption project by the town of Martin and Transparency International Slovensko. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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