Justices of the Constitutional Court have adopted a new measure that should resolve the stalemate that occurred with in the court after a series of complaints of alleged bias were lodged by President Ivan Gašparovič and general-prosecutor elect Jozef Čentéš. The justices approved Amendment No 1 to the work schedule of the Constitutional Court, which says that if all justices are blocked due to objections of bias, the plenum of the Constitutional Court shall select a new panel. (The Constitutional Court operates with a system of three-member panels of justices.) Objections to justices of this panel will no longer be observed, as well as objections that justices of the panel file against each other, the Sme daily wrote on its website.
Čentéš was elected for the post of general prosecutor in June 2011. However, President Gašparovič declined to formally appoint him, citing various Constitutional Court cases that had been brought relating to Čentéš’ election. In October 2011 the Constitutional Court ruled that both secret and open ballots were legitimate means for parliament to elect the general prosecutor (the secret ballot was the reason cited for Čentéš not being appointed, although he was finally elected in an open one.) Finally, in late 2012, the Constitutional Court ruled that the president has the right to refuse to appoint parliament’s choice of general prosecutor, but that he must cite good reasons for doing so. At the very end of 2012, Gašparovič sent a letter to the speaker of parliament in which he formally rejected Čentéš. Čentéš promptly appealed his decision to the Constitutional Court, claiming that his rights had been infringed, but the case became bogged down after he and Gašparovič between them challenged 12 of the court’s 13 judges on grounds of alleged bias.
This Constitutional Court decision comes shortly after parliament elected a new candidate for general prosecutor, Jaromír Čižnár. Gašparovič has so far not appointed him, either.
Čentéš himself accepted the ruling, commenting that it was a better solution than the amendment passed in parliament, which has since been suspended by the Constitutional Court, and which sought to abolish the previous valid decision of the court. The Constitutional Court itself has so far not responded to Sme’s questions.
“The amendment will be published on the Constitutional Court’s website on July 4,” Martina Demčáková of the court’s press department informed Sme.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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4. Jul 2013 at 14:00