Hundreds gathered on Tuesday, November 16, at Bratislava’s Primatial Palace to say a final farewell to prominent lawyer and former President of the Czechoslovak Constitutional Court Ernest Valko, who was shot dead at his home a week ago.
Politicians, actors, writers, singers and other personalities attended the farewell ceremony in the palace's Mirror Hall. On behalf of the government, Prime Minister Iveta Radičová apologised to Valko for not having prevented what she called the unjust attack on his reputation of 2006 (when he was arrested by police and held for several days; no case against him was ever brought).
Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská said, as quoted by the SITA newswire, that in his struggle for the rule of law, morals always came before the letter of the law for Valko. She said that over the past twenty years, he had been part of the battle for morality in law. Deputy Speaker of Parliament Pavol Hrušovský stressed that Valko saw not only the law but also the human beings behind it.
Valko was a prominent Bratislava lawyer who specialised in constitutional cases. He was deputy speaker of the lower house of the Czechoslovak federal parliament in 1990-1991, and in 1992 became the chief justice of the Czechoslovak Constitutional Court. Since 1993 he had run his own law firm. Valko represented a number of state institutions under the 1998-2006 governments of Mikuláš Dzurinda, including the state privatisation agency and the SPP gas utility. He also won a legal battle in 1998 that helped Dzurinda's SDK party remain in the running for elections and defeat the ruling HZDS.
He also represented Ivan Mikloš, now finance minister, in a long-running libel lawsuit against former prime minister and Smer party leader Robert Fico.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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17. Nov 2010 at 10:00