Claims that the Constitutional Court's judges were pressed into their ruling on the Special Court are overblown, said the head of the parliamentary constitutional committee, Mojmír Mamojka, an MP from Smer, on public service Slovak Television's (STV) politics show 'O päť minút dvanásť' (Five Minutes to Twelve) on May 24, reported the TASR newswire. His comments related to the Constitutional Court's ruling last week that Slovakia’s Special Court to prosecute cases of corruption and organised crime was set up contrary to the Slovak Constitution.
“I've never said that the Special Court's existence (per se) isn't well-founded, but it isn't in the form that it currently takes, that is, with such (salary) bonuses and security clearances by the National Security Office (NBÚ),” said Mamojka, who also asserted that he favours the preservation of the Special Court by adopting a constitutional act rather than by amending the Constitution.
According to opposition SDKÚ MP and former justice minister Lucia Žitňanská who also appeared on the show, the abolition of the Special Court needs to be put in the context of everything that is going on in Slovakia's judiciary - the concentration of power in the Judicial Council and Justice Minister Štefan Harabin's bid to become the next Supreme Court chairman.
Žitňanská added that she respects the Constitutional Court's ruling but pointed out that it was a closely-decided verdict (seven votes to six). She also asserted that nine of the Court's judges were appointed by the current coalition, meaning in her view, that these judges represent the views of the government. She also said that the ruling had a political nature.
Mamojka countered by claiming that the judges were nominated to their seats in “a legitimate way”. The protests that the opposition is about to organise in what it calls an effort to preserve the Special Court are in effect protests against the Constitutional Court, he said on the show, as quoted by TASR. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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25. May 2009 at 14:00