The most trusted institution in the Slovak constitutional system is the presidency. This was the result of a research project conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs (IVO) entitled The Slovak Judiciary in the Eyes of the Public, Experts and Judges. Within the project, the polling agency Focus surveyed 1,004 respondents in September, the SITA newswire wrote. The respondents were asked to say how much they trusted or did not trust the following institutions: the president, the Justice Ministry, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, parliament, the cabinet, courts, and the judiciary. Based on the results, a lack of public trust affected all the institutions apart from the presidency. Citizens said they trust the courts and the judiciary the least. But people have little trust in the cabinet or parliament either.
Considering the three top institutions whose activity is immediately related to the situation in the justice system, the Justice Ministry enjoys higher credibility than the Constitutional Court or the Supreme Court, according to the poll, as reported by SITA. A panel of experts expressed the same opinion as the general public in the case of the judiciary and the Constitutional Court: among 29 experts, 21 percent expressed trust in the courts and the judiciary, while 79 percent expressed their distrust. The Constitutional Court is deemed trustworthy by 38 percent of experts, while 59 percent do not trust it. Experts differ with the general public over the issue of the credibility of the Justice Ministry and the Supreme Court: 83 percent of experts trust the Justice Ministry and 17 percent don't, while only ten percent of experts trust the Supreme Court and 86 percent do not. Considering the responses of a 37-member panel of judges, 68 percent trust the courts and the judiciary, while the rest don't. 59 percent of judges find the Justice Ministry a trustworthy institution, while the rest are of the opposite opinion. The only institution where distrust prevails over trust is the Supreme Court, as 46 percent of judges trust it while 54 percent don't. The aim of the project is to map the opinions of the general public, experts and judges about the problems of the Slovak justice system, their causes and potential solutions.
The Sme daily wrote in its October 20 issue that one third of those polled perceive current changes to the judiciary to be politically motivated. As many as 33 percent of people in Slovakia view the recent changes as moves aimed at politicising the sphere, while another 42 percent believe that the changes have been adopted in an effort to open up the judiciary and introduce a greater level of transparency. The poll revealed that Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) voters tend to view the measures in a favourable light. Of the coalition parties, supporters of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) were the least enthusiastic about the changes, which were introduced by Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (SDKÚ). The opinion that the judiciary is being politicised was mainly shared by supporters of the opposition parties Smer and the Slovak National Party (SNS).
Sources: SITA, Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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20. Oct 2011 at 14:00