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International Judges Association comments on Slovak judicial system

The honorary president of the International Association of Judges, Günter Woratsch, wrote in a report on the state of the Slovak judicial system that the President of the Supreme Court, Štefan Harabin, is still influencing the system in an unfavourable way, the Sme daily reported. Woratsch also warned that in an effort to remedy the conditions, the independence of the Slovak justice system could suffer.

The honorary president of the International Association of Judges, Günter Woratsch, wrote in a report on the state of the Slovak judicial system that the President of the Supreme Court, Štefan Harabin, is still influencing the system in an unfavourable way, the Sme daily reported. Woratsch also warned that in an effort to remedy the conditions, the independence of the Slovak justice system could suffer.

“Harabin dominates the judicial system in a very marked way,” Woratsch wrote ever since his Harabin’s powers were shifted from the Justice Ministry to the Judicial Council. This step, basically, a good one and in compliance with international standards, has been abused by Harabin for personal reasons, Sme wrote, adding that Harabin has strong support especially among judges in eastern Slovakia.

However, the international observer also warned top judicial officials not to get too zealous in their effort to make corrections and to turn to the other extreme. Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská reacted by saying, as quoted by Sme, that the most imminent threat for the justice system in Slovakia was that it has become too rigid and moth-balled and it “clones itself with all negatives included”.

Harabin called Woratsch’s view biased and based on false information and stated that that the European Association of Judges does not agree with Žitňanská’s steps, which Harabin claims strengthen executive power and weaken judicial power – politicising the judicial system.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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