Smer passed Constitutional Court law in fast-tracked proceeding

The Slovak Parliament changed the law regulating the operation of the country’s Supreme Court in a fast-tracked proceeding on Tuesday, April 30. The ruling Smer party said the change was needed to relieve a logjam in the handling of the long-running case over the appointment of the next general prosecutor. Prime Minister Robert Fico justified the use of fast-tracked proceedings, to which the opposition had issued loud objections, on the grounds that urgent change was needed at the Office of the General Prosecutor. He said he could not talk about the information on which he based his opinion.

The Slovak Parliament changed the law regulating the operation of the country’s Supreme Court in a fast-tracked proceeding on Tuesday, April 30. The ruling Smer party said the change was needed to relieve a logjam in the handling of the long-running case over the appointment of the next general prosecutor. Prime Minister Robert Fico justified the use of fast-tracked proceedings, to which the opposition had issued loud objections, on the grounds that urgent change was needed at the Office of the General Prosecutor. He said he could not talk about the information on which he based his opinion.

The Sme daily reported on May 2 that the chairperson of the Slovak Constitutional Court, Ivetta Macejková, helped Fico’s Smer party by blocking an attempt by the court’s own plenum to resolve the stalemate without a law change.

The sudden flurry of activity came after the SITA newswire reported on April 24 that Fico had said the law change would be discussed at a regular parliamentary session. However, on Tuesday 30 April, referring to unspecified reports about the Office of the General Prosecutor which he said indicated that there would have to be a change in its management, the cabinet quickly approved the proposed change. Parliament, in which Smer has a majority, then rushed the law change through the same evening.

The Constitutional Court is supposed to rule on whether President Ivan Gašparovič violated the constitution by refusing to appoint general-prosecutor-elect Jozef Čentéš to office and to assess the reasons for the decision, which the president presented in late December 2012. Čentéš filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court immediately after Gašparovič announced his decision. Both sides later submitted complaints against individual judges of the court, alleging bias, effectively ruling out 12 of the court's 13 judges.

The new law will mean that two judges from the original three-member senate assigned to hear Čentéš’ case who were removed from the case after Čentéš successfully challenged them – he alleged, and the court accepted, that they were potentially biased against him – will now get to rule on the case after all. The opposition has said it will contest the new law at the Constitutional Court, Sme wrote.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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