NOTHING now stands in the way of the castle in Rusovce being rebuilt to provide state receptions rooms for the President, the government and parliament. The Constitutional Court rejected a legal action by a Hungarian religious order to claim ownership of the building under Slovakia’s post-communist property restitution laws. As a result, the castle will stay in public hands, the Pravda daily wrote.
The ruling marks the conclusion of a court dispute that has dragged on for several years, pitting the Hungarian Congregation of the Order of St Benedict against the Slovak Land Fund. Belgium’s Princess Stephanie originally bequeathed the castle to the monks in her will but it is currently administered by the Cabinet Office.
“The three top constitutional officials declared their common will to solve the problem of the rebuilding and further use of the castle in Rusovce some time ago. A crucial condition has been the unambiguous solution of legal property rights,” reads a statement by the Cabinet Office. President Ivan Gašparovič has stated that the reconstruction and repair of the castle could also be financed from the sale of the presidential villa at Slavín, to which he has not moved since he took up his post.
But the Benedictine monks have not yet given up, and say they intend to take the dispute to a higher court.
“We disagree with the court’s verdict,” the administrator of the order, Juraj Szalay, said on November 28. “We will turn to European courts.”
The Slovak Constitutional Court refused the complaint of the Order of St Benedict on November 28, the SITA newswire reported, quoting Constitutional Court spokesman Jozef Skybjak.
Skybjak said that the Order of St Benedict had, in its complaint delivered to the court on October 2, 2006, objected to what it said was the violation of its basic constitutional rights – among others, to own property, to inherit, to court protection and the right to public discussion of the case without undue delays by the proceeding and verdict of the District Court Bratislava V, and by the verdict of the Regional Court in Bratislava. Both courts had decided that the Order of St Benedict submitted its claim to the property in the cadastral territory in Rusovce in an incorrect way.