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Opposition files motion contesting amendment to law on Constitutional Court

In the early afternoon on Tuesday, May 21, a group of opposition MPs delivered a motion in response to parliament’s passing in a fast-tracked proceeding the draft amendment to the law on the organisation of the Slovak Constitutional Court.

In the early afternoon on Tuesday, May 21, a group of opposition MPs delivered a motion in response to parliament’s passing in a fast-tracked proceeding the draft amendment to the law on the organisation of the Slovak Constitutional Court.

The amendment was passed on April 30 and signed into law by President Ivan Gašparovič on May 20, the TASR newswire wrote. It was meant to end the stalemate at the Constitutional Court, caused by complaints of bias filed by both parties in the conflict surrounding the non-appointment of general-prosecutor-elect Jozef Čentéš by Gašparovič.

Čentéš contested the president’s refusal to appoint him at the Constitutional Court, where the appeal became mired in numerous complaints of bias issued by both Čentéš and Gašparovič against various justices of the Constitutional Court. Smer passed an amendment in a fast-tracked proceeding that effectively allows the case to be handled by the first panel of judges assigned to it.

The amendment was approved by parliament in spite of opposition protests, which pointed to the fact that the conditions for a fast-track proceeding were not fulfilled, and to the very wording of the amendment, which allows executive and legislative powers to intervene in the judicial branch. The 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.

The opposition claims in its motion that although the fast-tracked proceeding was allegedly based on an effort to prevent violations of basic rights and freedoms, the very application of the law will grossly violate the basic right to an unbiased and lawful judge and also the equality of means in a legal proceeding. MPs ask the Constitutional Court to debate their proposal urgently and to issue a preliminary injunction suspending the validity of the law passed until the case itself is decided, TASR wrote.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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