HALF of Slovakia’s citizens perceive courts in Slovakia as corrupt, based on a survey undertaken by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International Slovakia, the SITA newswire wrote.
“Compared to 2006, the perception of cronyism in courts has grown by one-third,” states the conclusion of the survey, as quoted by SITA. “Nearly every other Slovak considers bribery in courts and the prosecutor’s office to be very widespread.”
The survey was carried out by the Focus polling agency in November 2009 for Transparency International Slovakia. After a decline in 2004-2006, perception of corruption among the judiciary had remained broadly unchanged since the last elections, until these latest results. In the past three and a half years, the perception of personal interests at the expense of public interest grew from 22 percent to 30 percent, according to the survey. Cronyism in courts is perceived as the fourth worst, following cronyism of parliamentary deputies, cabinet ministers and civil servants.
Gabriel Šípoš, the director of Transparency International Slovakia, stated that this perception of the courts by the public unfortunately comes at a time when the country needs its courts to be as independent as possible.
“The courts are handing down verdicts in disputes in which politicians who dominate the executive and legislative power are stepping up their attacks on the media, the private sector and even non-governmental organisations,” SITA quoted Šípoš as saying.