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Harabin seeks €150,000 in ECHR case

IN A complaint filed with the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR), Štefan Harabin, the president of Slovakia’s Supreme Court, is demanding €150,000 in compensation for disciplinary action taken against him in 2011. Though the ECHR accepted Harabin’s complaint, it has made no ruling on the case, the TASR newswire reported.

IN A complaint filed with the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR), Štefan Harabin, the president of Slovakia’s Supreme Court, is demanding €150,000 in compensation for disciplinary action taken against him in 2011. Though the ECHR accepted Harabin’s complaint, it has made no ruling on the case, the TASR newswire reported.

The Supreme Court president’s salary was reduced by 70 percent for a period of one year beginning August 30 last year as a penalty assessed by the Constitutional Court for Harabin’s repeated failure to permit Finance Ministry inspectors from conducting a financial audit of the court.

Harabin claims that the judges who issued the decision were biased and that the one-year, €50,000 salary reduction was inappropriate. His complaint with the ECHR demands compensation for the lost salary plus damages of €100,000.

The Constitutional Court recently halted another two disciplinary proceedings against Harabin initiated by Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská, stating that it will wait for the final verdict of the Strasbourg-based court, the Sme daily reported.

The state secretary (i.e. deputy minister) at the Justice Ministry, Mária Kolíková, told the media there was no reason for the court to halt those disciplinary proceedings.

“If the ECHR wants to halt or suspend any proceeding held in the state, it has the right to release a preliminary ruling,” she stated, as quoted by Sme, adding that it has not done so in this particular case.

The Justice Ministry also told the media that the ECHR has not directly informed the Slovak government about Harabin’s complaint. The Justice Ministry said it had learned about it from a copy of the letter sent to the Constitutional Court, Sme wrote.

The TA3 news channel also recently reported that auditors from Slovakia’s Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) will conduct an audit of the Supreme Court’s financial accounts during the first or second quarter of this year.

Harabin welcomed that announcement, according to TA3, as he has repeatedly stated that he believes the NKÚ is the only state institution authorised to conduct an audit at the Supreme Court.

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