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Judges elect eight new members of Slovakia’s Judicial Council

Slovak judges elected eight new members to the 18-member Judicial Council, the highest self-governing body within Slovakia's judiciary, the SITA newswire reported, and for the next five years these members will join their colleagues with the authority to appoint and dismiss judges as well as the president and vice-president of the Supreme Court.

Slovak judges elected eight new members to the 18-member Judicial Council, the highest self-governing body within Slovakia's judiciary, the SITA newswire reported, and for the next five years these members will join their colleagues with the authority to appoint and dismiss judges as well as the president and vice-president of the Supreme Court.

Four of eight new members of the Judicial Council are judges who had been favoured by Štefan Harabin, the head of the Judicial Council and the president of the Supreme Court. Before the election he announced that he supported Igor Burger of the Supreme Court, his colleague Jana Bajánková from the Supreme Court, Imrich Volkai from the Košice Regional Court and Dana Bystrianska, a judge from the Košice I District Court.

The other four elected individual were: Nitra Regional Court judge Ján Vanko (who received the most votes, 578); Rudolf Čirč of the Supreme Court; Milan Ďurica of the Banská Bystrica Regional Court; and Peter Straka of Prešov Regional Court. The eight new members were selected among 22 candidates. The vote was held on May 29 and 1,160 of 1,334 judges voted. The main election committee stated that it did not consider Harabin's pre-election activity to be a problem and would not record any objections to it.

Apart from eight judges elected on May 29, the Slovak parliament, government and president will now nominate candidates for the Judicial Council; each can place three nominees on the council. Their nominees do not necessarily have to be judges but are required to have legal education and 15 years of legal practice. Parliament is to pick two of its three nominees to replace those whose tenure is nearing its end.

The daily Sme wrote that Harabin's four favourites are likely to respect his wishes and decisions while also writing that Supreme Court Judges Čirč, Straka and Ďurica hinted before the election that they do not like Harabin’s manner. Sme also wrote that Harabin cannot be assured of support from Vanko, whom he refused to appoint to the top position though Vanko several times won in the selection procedure.

Katarína Javorčíková, the head of Za otvorenú justíciu (For Open Justice) civic association told Sme that she considered the result of the vote a good sign that will positively influence the work of the Judicial Council.

Source: SITA, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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