At least 105 judges, who feel that there is a lack of judicial independence, have signed an open letter criticising attempts of judicial authorities to penalise judges for their public statements regarding the state of the country's justice sector, said three of the participating judges at a press conference on October 1, the TASR newsire wrote.
“We are at the stage where a change of the justice system from within is impossible,” said Bratislava Regional Court Judge Katarína Javorčíkova, who appealed to other judges, the public and international bodies to support a revamping of the justice system in Slovakia, wrote TASR.
Dušan Čimo of the Trnava Regional Court said that multiple judges are being penalised for being willing to state their views, adding that the penalties are being adjudicated under the guise of other infractions, such as showing contempt for the judiciary.
“If we want to prevent unnecessary delays we need to build up a specialised justice system and specialised courts. At the moment, the trend is quite the opposite, as specialisation within courts is being suppressed,” said Miroslav Gavalec of Slovakia’s Supreme Court.
The three judges have suggested a number of measures to change the justice system, including the transfer of decision-making powers to suspend judges to a disciplinary tribunal and that disbarring a judge from the bench be possible only on the grounds of a grave disciplinary transgression. The signers also called for the judges to be more specialised and for evaluation criteria for their work to be established.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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2. Oct 2009 at 10:00