Supreme Court justices protest proposing Harabin for re-election, rival candidates to come

On April 23, 13 Supreme Court judges published a protest statement against the proposal of Judicial Council, which on April 15 nominated Štefan Harabin for re-election as Supreme Court chairman. “We consider this proposal to be an initiative of a small group of judges of the Supreme Court connected with the incumbent Supreme Court Chairman Harabin who has long been denigrating not only judges of the Supreme Court but the entire judiciary,” reads the statement from the justices, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “We protest against such a proposal, as it doesn’t represent the opinion of the justices of the Supreme Court. The Judicial Council, prior to the extraordinary session, didn’t turn to the judges for nomination of candidates for Supreme Court chairman.” “If judge Mária Usačevová, who initiated the extraordinary session of the Judicial Council, wanted to propose Stefan Harabin as a candidate for Supreme Court chairman, she should have done so under her name along with other judges who supported the proposal - since any judge of the Supreme Court can make a nomination, and shouldn’t be hiding behind the Judicial Council [as a whole],” reads the statement. The election of the new chair of Supreme Court, who is also the de facto chair of Judicial Council, will be held on May 19. The date was set by Harabin so as the incumbent president Ivan Gašparovič can appoint the winning candidate, as the president-elect Andrej Kiska already announced he would not appoint Harabin for the post, even if he is elected. Kiska will take on the post in mid-June. Eligible candidates for Supreme Court chair can be proposed by April 28. The current chair’s term ends June 23.

On April 23, 13 Supreme Court judges published a protest statement against the proposal of Judicial Council, which on April 15 nominated Štefan Harabin for re-election as Supreme Court chairman.

“We consider this proposal to be an initiative of a small group of judges of the Supreme Court connected with the incumbent Supreme Court Chairman Harabin who has long been denigrating not only judges of the Supreme Court but the entire judiciary,” reads the statement from the justices, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “We protest against such a proposal, as it doesn’t represent the opinion of the justices of the Supreme Court. The Judicial Council, prior to the extraordinary session, didn’t turn to the judges for nomination of candidates for Supreme Court chairman.”

“If judge Mária Usačevová, who initiated the extraordinary session of the Judicial Council, wanted to propose Stefan Harabin as a candidate for Supreme Court chairman, she should have done so under her name along with other judges who supported the proposal - since any judge of the Supreme Court can make a nomination, and shouldn’t be hiding behind the Judicial Council [as a whole],” reads the statement.

The election of the new chair of Supreme Court, who is also the de facto chair of Judicial Council, will be held on May 19. The date was set by Harabin so as the incumbent president Ivan Gašparovič can appoint the winning candidate, as the president-elect Andrej Kiska already announced he would not appoint Harabin for the post, even if he is elected. Kiska will take on the post in mid-June. Eligible candidates for Supreme Court chair can be proposed by April 28. The current chair’s term ends June 23.

The justices who signed the protest are Elena Berthotyová, Miroslav Gavalec, Juraj Kliment, Peter Szabo, Peter Paluda, Zuzana Ďurišová, Jana Henčeková, Peter Hatala, Milan Karabín, Daniela Švecová, Rudolf Čirč, Ivan Machyniak and Igor Belko, the SITA newswire wrote.

Justice Minister Tomáš Borec said after a government session on April 23 that he would bring forward to the Judicial Council his own candidate for Supreme Court chairman, TASR reported. Borec’s nominee is set to become a third candidate in the race, which for now includes Harabin and Supreme Court justice Zuzana Ďurišová, proposed by an association of judges called “For Open Judiciary” (ZOJ).

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