The chairman of Slovakia’s Judicial Council and Chief Justice, Štefan Harabin, has asked the President of the European Network of Judicial Councils, Lord Justice John Thomas, as an international authority, to offer his opinion on a proposed government amendment to the Constitution, as well as on an amendment to the Judicial Council Act, the Judicial Council Office stated on Monday, August 9, the TASR newswire reported.
According to Harabin, the proposed amendment to the Judicial Council Act has only one purpose – to change the composition of the council before the proper end of its term, thus destabilising the council and its individual members.
Harabin told the TASR newswire that judges' immunity provides them with adequate protection against false accusations and unjustified activities by law enforcement authorities against judges who decide on their cases.
“If the model proposed by the government is adopted, any police investigator, including of the lowest ranks, could begin legal proceedings against a judge ... This means that the justice minister could immediately suspend the judge. There is a risk that criminal justice tools will become tools for removing independent legal judges,” Harabin wrote in his letter to Lord Thomas. The former Slovak justice minister also noted that the government has proposed the amendment without first holding a discussion with experts.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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10. Aug 2010 at 14:00