Head of the Trade-Law Board of the Supreme Court Juraj Seman has filed a criminal complaint alleging libel and calumny against former Supreme Court judge Jozef Štefanko, the SITA newswire reported, citing Seman's lawyer Milan Valášik. The case follows an interview that Štefanko gave to the Hospodárske Noviny daily earlier this month.
According to the Sme daily, which quoted SITA, Seman denies statements made by Štefanko about the court and accuses him of having praised the wartime fascist militia the Hlinka Guard, of having forcibly entered a flat in the Justice Ministry building, and also of having made a wrong decision in a case (Feldek vs Slobodník), which he said later had to be decided by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
In his newspaper interview earlier this month, Štefanko, who was then a judge working for the Supreme Court’s commercial law department, openly discussed allegedly corrupt practices at the court. The accuracy of his statements, which included claims of manipulation in the way cases are allocated to senates – the groups of judges who collectively rule on cases – and the selection of judges for senates, right up to the actual influencing of verdicts, will now be checked by police as well as by MPs. Štefanko has since retired.
The interview with Štefanko was in response to a previous article from the end of June reporting that he was receiving a salary even though he was not active and had not delivered a single ruling in the previous eight months.
The judge said that he was dissatisfied with the current situation at the court. According to him, financial groups are buying verdicts and influencing the court’s decision-making processes.
However, Sme noted that Štefanko has not so far made a single criminal complaint or produced any evidence to back his claims.
Sources: SITA, Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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