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Judges may be allowed to comment

UNLIKE the Czech Republic, Slovakia’s judges are not allowed to comment publicly on the verdicts they pass in court cases. But now Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská wants to change this by amending the law, the Sme daily reported.

UNLIKE the Czech Republic, Slovakia’s judges are not allowed to comment publicly on the verdicts they pass in court cases. But now Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská wants to change this by amending the law, the Sme daily reported.

“I am convinced that people will trust the courts more if they understand their rulings,” stated Žitňanská, as quoted by the daily.

Sme listed the verdicts in the cases of the release of the former head of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) Ivan Lexa, the instances of high compensation payments awarded to politicians for libel, and the verdict in the case of medical student Ľudmila Cervanová as having led to public bewilderment.

The latter was discussed recently on Štefan Hríb’s talk show Pod lampou (Under the Lamp), broadcast by Slovak Television (STV). The General Prosecutor’s Office criticised the show because Hríb invited the men who were found guilty of murdering Cervanová to appear.

Judge Katarína Javorčíková from the initiative For Open Justice supported Žitňanská’s proposal and said that it is the constitutional right of judges to express freely their opinion on cases.

However, she said that judges should be able to comment only on closed cases, not on those which are still ongoing.


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