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Harabin may avoid discipline if objections block Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court re-opened the disciplinary proceeding against the chairman of the Supreme Court Štefan Harabin – but he may escape undisciplined thanks to the objections of bias he had filed leaving no judges eligible to rule on the case.

The Constitutional Court re-opened the disciplinary proceeding against the chairman of the Supreme Court Štefan Harabin – but he may escape undisciplined thanks to the objections of bias he had filed leaving no judges eligible to rule on the case.

A panel of the Constitutional Court (CC) led by Justice Milan Ľalík on September 11 ruled that it was inadmissible that Harabin in 2010 interfered with the work schedule of courts in the case of anti-discrimination lawsuits, the Sme daily wrote, adding that Ľalík’s opinion was probably voted down by the two remaining justices on the panel, Lajos Mészáros and Sergej Kohut.

The class action suit was filed nearly three years ago by hundreds of judges who claimed that the bonuses received by judges of the former Special Court – six times greater than what other judges received – were discriminatory. The case wound up before the Constitutional Court after a District Court in Bratislava upheld the discrimination claim of one of the judges, and awarded him nearly €90,000 in compensation in February 2010. The Ministry of Justice appealed against this decision to the Regional Court in Bratislava and then a series of objections of bias followed. These objections of bias were eventually transferred to the Supreme Court, where its chair decided that all claims of bias will be addressed by a single senate. The Constitutional Court has ruled on September 11 that the rights of the complainant – i.e. the Slovak Republic represented by the Justice Ministry – have been violated.

Harabin denies any wrongdoing in the anti-discrimination case. The Constitutional Court re-opened the case in which Harabin turned to the European Court for Human Rights. The ECHR ruled that the CC flatly refused all his bias objections against justices of the CC. Now, the CC has to assess the objections anew, and more minutely, Sme wrote.

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