Prime Minister Robert Fico submitted a draft bill to set up a specialised criminal court to the cabinet on Wednesday, May 27, despite failing to win support from his governing coalition partners at a meeting that took place shortly before.
The two coalition partners of Fico’s Smer party continue to oppose the creation of a specialised criminal court, to be based in Pezinok, intended to resolve the situation created by a Constitutional Court ruling last week stating that the existing Special Court is unconstitutional.
The condition that only judges granted security clearance by the National Security Authority to work with “strictly confidential” documents can serve in the Special Court would not hold for the proposed specialised court. The new court would also have a wider sphere of activity, including cases involving premeditated murder, subversion involving public procurement and public auctions, falsifying, changing and unauthorised production of money and shares, and abuse of authority by public officials.
“The parties of the ruling coalition have a different opinion on this matter,” Fico said following the cabinet meeting, adding that Smer still believes that the specialised character of the institution should be preserved, while incorporating all the reservations expressed by the Constitutional Court into a new law.
The Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), whose MPs led the legal challenge to the existing Special Court, said it supports a different solution: the establishment of specialised senates at regional courts. It does not support the preservation of a specialised court in Pezinok. “If parliament passes the law in the proposed form, we will turn to the Constitutional Court again,” HZDS leader Vladimír Mečiar said. He admitted that if Smer voted with the opposition it would be a problem.
Concerning the issue of the Special Court, Anna Belousovová, the vice-chair of the third coalition party, the Slovak National Party, said it would support a solution which respected constitutionality in the establishment of any form of specialised court or special senate at regional courts. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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27. May 2009 at 14:00