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SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Bonanno

SLOVAKIA has plenty of its own mafia clans. Yet, it’s the Bonannos who are making headlines this week. More than two years ago, a group of Supreme Court judges, the deputy general prosecutor (who is now the acting general prosecutor) and several other lawyers met in a bar named after the infamous American crime family, decorated with posters of prominent Mafiosi and replicas of automatic weapons hanging on the walls. They fooled around in blue ear defenders like the kind worn by spree killer Ľubomír Harman, held speeches where they referenced their reproductive organs and gave out the Justice Oscar, an award they invented.

SLOVAKIA has plenty of its own mafia clans. Yet, it’s the Bonannos who are making headlines this week. More than two years ago, a group of Supreme Court judges, the deputy general prosecutor (who is now the acting general prosecutor) and several other lawyers met in a bar named after the infamous American crime family, decorated with posters of prominent Mafiosi and replicas of automatic weapons hanging on the walls. They fooled around in blue ear defenders like the kind worn by spree killer Ľubomír Harman, held speeches where they referenced their reproductive organs and gave out the Justice Oscar, an award they invented.

In any normal country, this would mean serious trouble for the careers of most of those involved. Here, the elites of the judiciary are suing the Nový Čas (New Time) daily for nearly €1 million.

Their claims are absurd. Reporting about this event was very much in the public interest. Judges are legally obliged to “refrain from any actions which may violate the reputation and dignity of their office”, both in their professional and private lives. Prosecutors have a similar duty.

The event revealed that prosecutor Ladislav Tichý and Supreme Court Justice Štefan Michálik are friends. Given that Michálik is suspected of corruption and Tichý was supposed to oversee the case, this was a good thing to know. Nový Čas should actually get a reward for writing about this. And the justice minister, the culture minister as well as regular judges and prosecutors, should be voicing their outrage over the lawsuit. But none of that is happening.

In a country where the head of the Supreme Court has yet to explain a wiretap of his friendly phone conversation with a Kosovar drug lord, the former general prosecutor is close friends with a person from the “mafia list” that was leaked from the police, and the head of the parliamentary financial committee worked for years as a manager for a controversial Russian entrepreneur, this is not much of a surprise. Slovakia has never been known for the rule of law and a strong professional ethic at the top of its judiciary.

And sadly, new times do not seem to be in sight.

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