The original senate appointed to decide on the objection by general prosecutor-elect Jozef Čentéš to his formal rejection by President Ivan Gašparovič will be able to rule on the case despite two of its three judges being excluded on grounds of bias, following President Gašparovič’s decision on May 20 to sign into law a change to the Constitutional Court’s rules of procedure, the SITA newswire reported.
The legal amendment, which foresees the implementation of the doctrine of necessity based on the so-called Bangalore principles of judicial conduct, will make it possible for judges who are otherwise excluded from deciding on a given matter to pass judgment if inactivity on the part of the court would lead to a denial of access to fair judicial treatment.
Parliament passed the law change in a fast-tracked proceeding on April 30, despite Prime Minister Robert Fico previously saying that it would go through via an ordinary proceeding. Fico justified his sudden move by saying that it was necessitated by the need to resolve the ongoing deadlock at the court in the case of Slovakia’s next general prosecutor, which has left only one judge against which neither Gašparovič nor Čentéš lodged an objection, and by unspecified problems at the Office of the General Prosecutor.
The very first senate to consider Čentéš’ complaint was composed of Justices Peter Brňák, Milan Ľalík and Marianna Mochnáčová. Čentéš objected to Brňák and Ľalík, stating they might be biased. A panel composed of Justices Lajos Mészáros, Sergej Kohut and Juraj Horváth accepted the complaint at the end of January, which resulted in the replacement of Ľalík and Brňák with Ján Luby and Ladislav Orosz.
Gašparovič then objected to both Luby and Orosz. His complaint was to be judged by Mészáros, Kohut and Horváth, but the president lodged another complaint against this entire panel in mid February. The Constitutional Court then established another panel, composed by Justices Rudolf Tkáčik, Ján Auxt and Ľubomír Dobrík, to judge his objection.
Čentéš then submitted objections against Auxt and Dobrík at the end of February, which resulted in the case going to another panel of judges, composed of Rudolf Tkáčik, Ľudmila Gajdošíková and Ivetta Macejková. President Gašparovič then lodged an objection against Gajdošíková and Tkáčik.
Finally, Čentéš objected to the Constitutional Court president, Macejková, which left only one judge, Mochnáčová, who faced no objections or claims of bias.
The opposition parties have already collected 40 signatures to launch an appeal to the Constitutional Court against the law change, SITA wrote.
Meanwhile, Čentéš has said that he will consider turning to the European Court for Human Rights if his right to a fair hearing and to an independent and legal judge is not respected, SITA reported on May 20.
For more information about this story please see: Legal tussles continue in Čentéš case
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
20. May 2013 at 15:00