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Judge who complained was suspended

SUPREME Court Judge Peter Paluda can no longer hear cases. Slovakia’s Judicial Council decided on September 8 to temporarily suspend him and also proposed his recall from the court.

SUPREME Court Judge Peter Paluda can no longer hear cases. Slovakia’s Judicial Council decided on September 8 to temporarily suspend him and also proposed his recall from the court.

The proposal for disciplinary procedure came after Paluda filed a criminal complaint against the Supreme Court and Judicial Council head Štefan Harabin for what he called abuse of power. The disciplinary proposal called it a “deceitful and untrue complaint about the Supreme Court chairman”, which the Council believes was filed “with the intention to harm and dishonour” Harabin, the SITA newswire reported.

The document also blamed Paluda for statements published in the media on August 29 saying that changes in the working schedule of the Supreme Court were most likely made so that the head of the Supreme Court [Harabin] would be able to influence the court’s decision-making on some issues in other-than-lawful ways.

“We have based ourselves on the fact that Paluda has already filed two criminal complaints against Harabin in the past and both were dismissed,” a member of the Judicial Council, Helena Kožíková, said, as quoted by SITA, adding that the council suspended Paluda because “whether anybody likes it or not, it is at odds with judges’ ethics to file criminal complaints against the chairman of the court or a colleague”.

The council also briefly addressed the issue of an open letter written by a group of 15 judges to Slovakia's most senior constitutional officials as well as to the justice minister and the Judicial Council claiming that disciplinary proceedings against some judges appear to be a tool for removal of judges from their posts or at least as a tool of intimidation and harassment. The judges wrote that under the current concentration of judicial power, a situation has emerged in which a judge who has become troublesome to Harabin or to persons with close ties to him feels helpless and unprotected, the SITA newswire reported.


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