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Sme: General prosecutor wields broad powers; position is almost unremovable

The Sme daily explains on its website why the general prosecutor, a hard-fought position which recently involved much political wrangling to fill the post, is so crucial to the Slovak political system.

The Sme daily explains on its website why the general prosecutor, a hard-fought position which recently involved much political wrangling to fill the post, is so crucial to the Slovak political system.

Sme wrote on Wednesday, June 19 that it was current deputy general prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka who intervened several times in cases in which he was not involved, and explained this by the powers given to him. The institute of special appeal, too, grants considerable power to the general prosecutor, according to Sme. The general prosecutor manages and controls activities and operations of all prosecutors’ offices, and thanks to the rule of subordination, can also have a say in cases given to other prosecutors. In general, he has complete control of the whole pre-trial prosecution until a suit is filed. However, the position did lose a power – the general prosecutor cannot tell his or her subordinates not to launch a criminal prosecution, or not to file a lawsuit. The general prosecutor can also issue a so-called “special appeal” in some cases, in which the verdict for any case can be appealed; Trnka used this once to “save” state money in the case of Tipos lottery and its processing with the Cypriot Lemikon company.

Moreover, the general prosecutor is almost unremovable from his or her position, as the seven year tenure can be shortened only if he resigns, dies or is removed by the president. The latter can happen only if the general prosecutor is pronounced not legally competent, loses citizenship, is sentenced, becomes a member of a political party or commits a disciplinary misdemeanour. However, this has not happened so far.

On Tuesday, June 18 Jaromír Čižnár was elected to become general prosecutor, despite the fact that Jozef Čentéš had been elected to this position in June 2011. However, President Ivan Gašparovič has since refused to appoint Čentéš, and the ruling Smer party amended the law on the functioning of the Constitutional Court and later organised a vote to elect a new general prosecutor. Čižnár is soon expected to be appointed by Gašparovič.

(Source: Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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