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Harabin submits controversial amendment to Act on Judges

Justice Minister Štefan Harabin has submitted to the cabinet an amendment to the law on judges, which he says is the most fundamental change to the courts system since 2004.

Justice Minister Štefan Harabin has submitted to the cabinet an amendment to the law on judges, which he says is the most fundamental change to the courts system since 2004.

If it is approved, the Justice Ministry will waive many of its powers in relation to the courts. Finances, disciplinary proceedings, appointment of court chairmen, and education should all be transferred to the Judicial Council, the Supreme Court or directly to their chairman, the SITA newswire wrote.

The Justice Ministry will only be left with powers to propose legislation on the effectiveness of international agreements. Harabin said that the amendment is intended to secure the independence of the judiciary. It should come into force after the next parliamentary elections to be held in June of 2010.

Harabin himself has made no secret of his ambition to return to the post of Supreme Court president after he leaves office. The post of the Supreme Court president has been vacant since October last year, when the mandate of Milan Karabín expired. The election of the new president, in which Karabín was the only candidate, was postponed based on a decision of the Judicial Council until the Supreme Audit Office inspects the court’s economic performance. Karabín has described the procedure as unlawful, and the result of ministry pressure. The Supreme Audit Office has not yet presented the audit, and so a new date for the election has not yet been set. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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