NEWS IN SHORT

Minister heads to the Supreme Court

THE JUDICIAL Council of Slovakia approved the temporary assignment of the current Justice Minister, Viera Petríková, nominated by the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), to the country’s Supreme Court for one year. Her deputy, State Secretary Dušan Hudák from the Slovak National Party (SNS), received an identical assignment.

THE JUDICIAL Council of Slovakia approved the temporary assignment of the current Justice Minister, Viera Petríková, nominated by the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), to the country’s Supreme Court for one year. Her deputy, State Secretary Dušan Hudák from the Slovak National Party (SNS), received an identical assignment.

According to the Judicial Council’s spokesperson, Juraj Sopoliga, the assignments apply from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, the SITA newswire wrote.

The proposal for these temporary assignments was initiated by Štefan Harabin, the president of the Supreme Court and a HZDS-nominated former justice minister.

According to Sopoliga, the decision to make the temporary assignments was not influenced by whether these persons hold a post in government or not, saying that both individuals served as judges before they were appointed to posts in the government and, according to the constitution, they remain judges after their government service ends. The temporary assignment, or internship as Sopoliga termed it, is a usual procedure to allow a judge to gain additional, expert experience at a different type of court.

Previously Petríková served as the chairperson of the district court in Vranov nad Topľou. Sopoliga said she could not have been directly appointed to serve on the Supreme Court and that she would have had to successfully compete for the post because it is a higher level court than her previous position.

Radoslav Procházka, a newly-elected MP from the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and a lawyer, said the law does not allow Petríková and Hudák to take up posts at the Supreme Court immediately after their terms in the executive branch ends.

He said that according to the law, a judge whose judicial duties were suspended due to service in the government can return to the judiciary only to his or her previous court or to one to which he or she is appointed by the Judicial Council.


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