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Opposition to discuss the state of judiciary at special session

Representatives of the opposition parties united within the People’s Platform want to summon a special parliamentary session to discuss the current state of the Slovak judiciary. The three parties, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Most-Híd plan to speak about the deteriorating trust in the Slovak judiciary and come up with measures to reverse this development, the TASR newswire reported on November 9.

Representatives of the opposition parties united within the People’s Platform want to summon a special parliamentary session to discuss the current state of the Slovak judiciary. The three parties, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Most-Híd plan to speak about the deteriorating trust in the Slovak judiciary and come up with measures to reverse this development, the TASR newswire reported on November 9.

Having met the requirement of obtaining the signatures of 30 MPs, parliamentary speaker Pavol Paška has to summon the special session within seven days after submitting them. The session should result in a declaration, in which parliament will express its deep concerns about the continuously worsening situation with regard to the trustworthiness of the Slovak courts and bind the government to submit a report on specific measures proposed to improve it.

“The government should tell us in the report how work towards the stabilisation and modernisation of the judiciary should proceed, and we propose that the government bring this concept before parliament," said former justice minister and current SDKÚ MP Lucia Žitňanská, as quoted by TASR.

She added that not only does the Slovak judiciary enjoy little support among the Slovak public, but the public has also been repeatedly confronted with information that has further deepened its distrust of the judiciary. She pointed to the recent verdict obliging former president Michal Kováč to apologise to former Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligent agency director Ivan Lexa for his statements that Lexa was involved in the kidnapping of his son in 1995.

“This case roots the feeling in the public that the justice only works well for a chosen few in Slovakia,” said Žitňanská.

Moreover, the former minister added that she realises that courts are deemed independent from state power, but “at the same time it is true that Slovak parliament as well as government have the legitimacy and duty to change the legal atmosphere and influence the political and social climate in a way that improves law enforcement”, TASR wrote.

Current Justice Minister Tomáš Borec responded that he is aware of the problems afflicting the Slovak judicial system, but says that some of these problems have been caused by politicisation and experiments that emerged during the previous electoral terms. He also assured that his ministry has been preparing a series of expert measures that should improve law enforcement and spruce up the workings of the judiciary.

“These measures are set out in the legislative plan for this electoral term,” he said, as quoted by TASR. “The concept of the stabilisation and modernisation of judiciary is due to be submitted in the first half of 2013.”

Further problems will be resolved based on joint discussions that will take place soon and will be attended by representatives of the judiciary system as well as the opposition, Borec said. At the same time he expressed his wish that the discussion over developments inside the judiciary system will maintain a professional character, without any hints of populism.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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