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The Judicial Council has yet to adopt ethics code

THE COUNCILS of judges will once again have to submit comments on the draft of the judicial ethics code, submitted by Dana Bystrianska from the Association of Judges in Slovakia (ZSS). Not enough comments on the proposed ethics code were received, even though judges had about one and a half months to send them. The Judicial Council now says it will discuss the code again in the second half of the year, the SITA newswire reported on March 31.

THE COUNCILS of judges will once again have to submit comments on the draft of the judicial ethics code, submitted by Dana Bystrianska from the Association of Judges in Slovakia (ZSS). Not enough comments on the proposed ethics code were received, even though judges had about one and a half months to send them. The Judicial Council now says it will discuss the code again in the second half of the year, the SITA newswire reported on March 31.

The ZSS prepared the draft code based on an appeal made by Justice Minister Tomáš Borec last November. Supreme Court President Štefan Harabin, who also chairs the Judicial Council, had been saying that the ethics code is unnecessary and that each judge should know the principles. Yet, if most judges agree on the need of having a code, he will not prevent it.

Judicial Council member Dušan Čimo said during the discussion of the code that the ethical principles should not be a form of punishment for judges, but rather something that judges would naturally accept and follow. He also noted the proposal of the council of judges of the Trnava court to define behaviour that is harmful or unethical for a judge.

Eduard Barány, another Judicial Council member, said that the proposed principles, especially the titles of the chapters, remind him of the rules of the medieval order of knights. He therefore proposes skipping some sections of the code that define the ideal characteristics of a judge. He added that the document cannot substitute for the need to make the disciplinary senates work more effectively, as reported by SITA.

It is necessary to discuss the ethics code with the Justice Minister, said Ľuboš Sadovský, in order to achieve any specific result. Council member Mária Bujňáková added that the code cannot be an instruction manual for how to conduct oneself, as every judge knows what to do.

Another Judicial Council member, Ján Vanko, does not oppose the adoption of the code, but he warned that lengthy debates over ethical judicial principles have occurred abroad. According to him, ethical principles cannot be confused with legal duties, SITA wrote.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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