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Reaction to the verdict on the Special Court

The parliamentary opposition said on May 21 it wants to discuss with Prime Minister Fico a constitutional law on establishment of the Special Court and also intends to organise protest rallies next Wednesday in Bratislava and Košice against the dissolution of the court.

The parliamentary opposition said on May 21 it wants to discuss with Prime Minister Fico a constitutional law on establishment of the Special Court and also intends to organise protest rallies next Wednesday in Bratislava and Košice against the dissolution of the court.

Chairman of the opposition Christian-Democratic Party (KDH) Pavol Hrušovský told a news conference that the opposition would ask the prime minister for a meeting as the fight against corruption, organised crime and the mafia should not be subject to a dispute between the coalition and the opposition. According to Hrušovský, the opposition wants to reach a consensus about the draft bill, and not compete with governing parties. The chairman of the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Mikuláš Dzurinda, said that the opposition wants a solution to the situation that would not weaken the powers of the Special Court, the SITA newswire wrote.

Ernest Valko, a former chairman of the Constitutional Court of Czechoslovakia, said that the abolition of the Special Court could trigger a series of problems. Some other experts saw the move as inevitable, however. “In my opinion, such a decision could have been expected. In our conditions, a court created in such a way has no foundation, a fact that was evident since its conception, namely in the selection of judges and the advantages they were given. This was also seen in the disproportionate number of issues decided on when compared to ordinary judges, who decide on ten times as many cases,” lawyer Ondrej Mularčík told the TASR newswire.

Constitutional Court chair Ivetta Macejková said after the vote on the issue on Wednesday that the ruling won’t affect valid judgements handed down by the Special Court. Several legal experts had said earlier that abolition could prompt convicted members of organised crime groups to ask for their cases to be reopened.

SDKÚ MP and former justice minister Lucia Žitňanská said on Wednesday that the Constitutional Court’s decision to abolish the Special Court represents a black day for justice in Slovakia. The former justice minister said she didn’t believe that the Constitutional Court judges made their decision impartially and without bias. In her opinion, they failed, and she can’t avoid the suspicion that they were illegally influenced. Žitňanská pointed to the case of Constitutional Court judge Ladislav Orosz, who has been assigned a bodyguard. “But this doesn't mean that he [Orosz] was the only person who needed one,” she said.

The abolition of the Special Court could even pose a threat to people’s lives, KDH vice-chairman Daniel Lipšic told journalists on May 20. Lipšic stressed that the Special Court had a great advantage. “It wasn’t corruptible. Nobody could influence its decisions,” he said, asking who would be celebrating the Constitutional Court's verdict. “Who will be opening the champagne apart from Justice Minister Štefan Harabin?” he stated. At the same time, he thanked all the “courageous and decent” judges of the Constitutional Court who voted against the abolition of the Special Court (six out of a total of 13).

The ruling coalition party the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) views the Constitutional Court’s ruling from Wednesday as a confirmation of expert arguments that the party has been presenting all along, HZDS spokesperson Monika Zakariášová told TASR on May 20. Prime Minister Robert Fico's spokesperson Silvia Glendová said on May 20 that the he fully respects the ruling. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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