The dispute between Supreme Court President Štefan Harabin and the justices of the Constitutional Court continues. Harabin has filed criminal complaints against Ladislav Orosz, Ľudmila Gajdošíková and Ján Luby in the case of the so-called Ducký’s bills, and a motion to begin a disciplinary proceeding against Sergej Kohut, Juraj Horváth and Lajos Meszáros in the case of the alleged organised-crime group Piťovci, the SITA newswire reported on August 20.
Harabin says that he wants only the most experienced judges and prosecutors to serve at the Constitutional Court. He cited the need for legal certainty and condemned what he said was a tendency to rule one way one day and another the next, as reported by SITA.
Harabin was referring to a ruling by the Constitutional Court in the case of so-called Ducký’s bills, which involves the Swiss company Gen Man Ventures AG and its claim of CZK1 billion (about €38.6 million) based on promissory notes signed by Ján Ducký, one-time boss of the gas utility SPP.
The so-called Ducký’s Bills of Exchange, amounting to Sk1.4 billion (now equivalent to approximately €46 million), were supposed to have been signed by Ducký, who was shot and killed in front of his house in Bratislava in January 1999. He served as economy minister in two governments under Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar between 1992 and 1998. The bills are connected to SPP and have become the core of a protracted lawsuit since then. Ducký’s death is thus far unexplained.
The Constitutional Court senate ruled that when Harabin changed the judges deciding the case, it violated the rights of the company, SITA wrote. Yet, Harabin claims that his predecessor, Juraj Majchrák, the deputy president of the court, made the same changes which affected the Ducký’s bills case back in 2003. At the time the Constitutional Court dismissed the complaint of the Swiss company, Harabin said.
He added that if the two courts had different opinions, the judges deciding over the latest complaint should have asked for a unification of the rulings. They did not, a move which Harabin considers a failure, as reported by SITA.
Harabin’s motion to begin a disciplinary proceeding refers to a ruling issued in the case of Piťovci gang, which saw judges rule in favour of a complaint filed by one of the gang’s alleged members. The man claimed he had not seen a document submitted by the prosecutor on the basis of which judges prolonged pre-trial custody.
The pre-trial custody term of four members of the alleged Piťovci group – named after Juraj ‘Piťo’ Ondrejčák – caught in November 2011 during the biggest police crackdown in Slovak history, elapsed more than a year ago. After the Specialised Criminal Court refused to prolong pre-trial custody on May 24 of last year, the prosecutor filed a complaint and the Supreme Court extended custody for nearly five months.
A group of Constitutional Court judges led by Juraj Horváth cited a procedural failure in cancelling the decision, the Sme daily reported. The Supreme Court reopened the case on July 24 and then rejected the prosecutor’s complaint, citing significant changes in the case since 2012.
Four accused had to be released, but two of them, suspects Matej Š. and Miroslav A., were immediately re-arrested on separate charges, according to SITA, including allegations of more serious crimes like the establishment of a criminal group and blackmail.
Harabin explained he was filing the complaint as the court had been deciding over the case for 10 months, which he considers too long. He also criticised that based on the appeal of one person the Constitutional Court justices abolished the whole verdict, resulting in the release of four people, SITA wrote.
Source: SITA, Sme
For more information about this story please see: Judges clash over verdict
Read also: Court under fire for release
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
21. Aug 2013 at 10:00