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Changes affect Judicial Council

ONE week ahead of the election of the Supreme Court chairperson by the Judicial Council, parliament dismissed Dušan Čimo as a member of the Judicial Council and replaced him by the head of District Court in Spišská Nová Ves Ján Slovinský on September 11.

ONE week ahead of the election of the Supreme Court chairperson by the Judicial Council, parliament dismissed Dušan Čimo as a member of the Judicial Council and replaced him by the head of District Court in Spišská Nová Ves Ján Slovinský on September 11.

The proposal of deputy speaker of parliament Jana Laššáková from Smer was supported by 82 of the 82 deputies present in parliament as the opposition did not attend the vote, the SITA newswire reported.

Čimo, elected in February 2012 by the rightist parties, is a long-time critic of previous Supreme Court president Štefan Harabin and has not refuted claims that this could be the reason for his dismissal, which could, in fact, shift the balance of power in the council before the elections scheduled for September 16, the Sme daily reported on September 9.

The opposition has criticised the dismissal, saying that it had just 24 hours to propose new candidate while Slovinský signed his agreement with candidacy before opposition even knew that government wants to recall Čimo.

Opposition MPs further called it a deliberate effort by Smer to secure votes for the upcoming election for the new Supreme Court and Judicial Council head, SITA wrote.

“The Judicial Council will elect its chairperson and the chairperson of Supreme Court next week,” said former justice minister Lucia Žitňanská of the party Most-Híd, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “Smer has its vision of how it should look and Čimo obviously had different one.”

Neither Laššáková nor other Smer MPs have offered an explanation for her step.

“Considering the current practice in the Supreme Court there is no need to specify the reason for recalling a Judicial Council member,” the head of the Slovak Parliament’s constitutional committee, Róbert Madej of Smer, said, as quoted by TASR. “Even President Andrej Kiska, who recalled three members of the Judicial Council, approved this practice; the government also recalled one council member recently.”

Meanwhile, the government elected its own nominee to the Judicial Council, appointing barrister Ján Havlát, founder of the Havlát&Partners law firm and a member of the board of the Slovak Bar Association. Havlát takes up the post on September 11, replacing Jaroslav Chlebovič, whom the government dismissed on August 20, TASR wrote.

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