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CC halts enforcement of judges’ security screenings

THE CONSTITUTIONAL Court (CC) suspended the provisions of the law pertaining to the widely debated across-the-board security clearances for judges at its September 17 session. The court will examine whether these provisions, passed on June 4 as part of a revision to the constitution born from a peculiar union between the ruling Smer and the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), are in line with the constitution. The motion was submitted by deputy chair of the Judicial Council Ján Vanko on September 1.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL Court (CC) suspended the provisions of the law pertaining to the widely debated across-the-board security clearances for judges at its September 17 session. The court will examine whether these provisions, passed on June 4 as part of a revision to the constitution born from a peculiar union between the ruling Smer and the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), are in line with the constitution. The motion was submitted by deputy chair of the Judicial Council Ján Vanko on September 1.

The motion was supported by newly elected Judicial Council chair Jana Bajánková.

“Though the CC halted the effectiveness of changes pertaining to screening judges’ qualifications, without any doubt, the absolute majority of the package of important judicial changes focused on increasing the responsibility of judges remained untouched,” said Alexandra Donevová, spokesperson for the Justice Ministry, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

She added that regarding the security screenings of judges, when preparing the legislative changes the principles of the state of law and independent judiciary were taken into consideration.

Donevová said they fully respect the CC’s decision.

According to the complaint, by introducing the screenings for judges, parliament has, without warning and retroactively, expanded the prerequisites for exercising a judge’s mandates, thus disrespecting the principle of legal certainty and wantonly violating the principle of division of power, TASR wrote.

Many judges oppose the screenings, citing concerns that information obtained in this way could be misused and undermine the independence of the judiciary. This view is rejected by the Justice Ministry, according to which the screenings are designed as a tool to get rid of corrupt judges whose property is proven to exceed their income or who abuse alcohol and/or drugs.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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