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People’s Platform vows to challenge proposed Constitutional Court changes

The opposition parties united in the People’s Platform say that if parliament passes the government’s proposed amendment to the Act on the Organisation of the Constitutional Court, they will challenge it in court. Representatives of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Most-Híd, say they are also ready to collect the necessary signatures during the ongoing parliamentary session, the TASR newswire reported on April 30.

The opposition parties united in the People’s Platform say that if parliament passes the government’s proposed amendment to the Act on the Organisation of the Constitutional Court, they will challenge it in court. Representatives of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Most-Híd, say they are also ready to collect the necessary signatures during the ongoing parliamentary session, the TASR newswire reported on April 30.

“We do not want to assist them [the ruling Smer party] to approve the law ... They are decided, but we reject it,” said Most-Híd leader Béla Bugár, as quoted by TASR.

He referred to an earlier decision by the cabinet approving the amendment, which is supposed to resolve the ongoing stalemate at the Constitutional Court, via fast-tracked parliamentary vote. Bugár added that the government is simply “raping justice to make sure that a Smer candidate is elected general prosecutor as soon as possible”.

Lucia Žitňanská, chair of the SDKÚ’s parliamentary caucus, said that the proposed changes represent illegal interference in the functioning of the Constitutional Court and the ongoing case of general-prosecutor-elect Jozef Čentéš, who has complained against President Ivan Gašparovič’s refusal to appoint him to the job. If Smer succeeds in passing the amendment it could increase Čentéš’ chances if he submits a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, she said, as reported by TASR.

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 this decision, which the president presented in late December 2012. Čentéš filed his complaint with the Constitutional Court immediately after Gašparovič announced his decision. Both sides have since submitted complaints against individual judges of the court, alleging bias, effectively ruling out 12 of the court's 13 judges. The resulting situation at the court has been described as a stalemate, since only one judge is now left to deal with a matter that requires the decision of a three-member senate.

Meanwhile, Jozef Vozár of the Institute of Law and State at the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) said that the biggest problem of the amendment is that it will allow judges who have already been excluded from the decision-making process to rule on the case.

“There are three categories of judges,” Vozár told TASR. “One against which no objection of bias was submitted, a second against whom an objection of bias was filed, and third over which a decision has already been passed. Justices over whom a decision has already been issued should not, according to me, judge [the case].”

He added that parliament should also respect this decision when passing the amendment, TASR wrote.

Source: TASR

To read more about this story please see: Opposition blocks constitutional committee session on Constitutional Court

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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