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Slovak President Gašparovič signs bill on Specialised Criminal Court

Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič signed the bill to establish a Specialised Criminal Court (STS) which will be based in Pezinok, north of Bratislava. The Specialised Criminal Court will commence on the day that the Slovak Constitutional Court's ruling abolishing Slovakia’s previous Special Court is published in the Legal Code, the TASR newswire wrote.

Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič signed the bill to establish a Specialised Criminal Court (STS) which will be based in Pezinok, north of Bratislava. The Specialised Criminal Court will commence on the day that the Slovak Constitutional Court's ruling abolishing Slovakia’s previous Special Court is published in the Legal Code, the TASR newswire wrote.

The Special Court, established to prosecute cases of organised criminal activity as well as cases of political corruption or bribery was ruled unconstitutional for several reasons by the Supreme Court. The legislation for the Specialised Criminal Court was prepared to overcome the deficiencies noted by the court.

The legislation submitted by the government was approved by Parliament on June 18, receiving 119 votes. The move was supported by all MPS from the Smer party, the strongest in the governing coalition, all MPs from three opposition parties and almost all MPs from the Slovak National Party (SNS), one of three parties in the governing coalition. Only MPs from the party of Vladimír Mečiar, the HZDS, opposed or largely abstained from voting on the legislation, although former agriculture minister Zdenka Kramplová, who has since announced her intention to leave the party, voted in favour.

Parliament modified the government-proposed legislation to provide STS judges with continuous bodyguard protection, as had been the case with the Special Court, TASR wrote. Annual bonuses for STS judges will now be twice as high as the average salary, rather than six times, as was the case for the Special Court. In addition, the condition requiring STS judges to obtain top security clearances in order to be eligible to serve has been scrapped for the new court.

The new court will also have its authority expanded to include cases of pre-meditated murder, fraudulent schemes concerning public procurements and public auctions, money and securities fraud, and the abuse of public office. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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