FOUR Slovak judges, Miroslav Gavalec, Zuzana Ďurišová, Elena Berthotyová and Peter Paluda, have lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg challenging the election of Slovakia’s Supreme Court President, Štefan Harabin. The text of their submission was published on the website www.sudcovia.sk, the SITA newswire reported.
The Judicial Council, the supreme self-governing body of Slovakia’s judiciary, elected Harabin, a former justice minister, to the post of Supreme Court president in June 2009. While justice minister Harabin, who was previously a Supreme Court judge, had his judicial functions suspended. The four judges claim that because Harabin was serving as a minister he was not entitled to seek the post of Supreme Court president, as he was not a Supreme Court judge at the time of the election. According to Slovak law, only a judge of the Supreme Court can be elected to be its president.
Moreover, the four judges state that Harabin, as justice minister, could have directly influenced the careers of some members of the Judicial Council which thus endangered the independence of their decision-making in the voting.
Similar claims are currently before Slovakia’s Constitutional Court. On January 12 the head of the Office of the Constitutional Court told the TASR newswire that delays in taking up the case are due to objections raised by the four judges against judges sitting on the Constitutional Court.
The four judges have objected that a member of the senate and a reporting judge are allegedly good friends with Harabin, TASR wrote.
18. Jan 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff