Constitutional Court overturns Kiska decision to reject judges

PRESIDENT Andrej Kiska breached the fundamental rights of selected candidates for the posts of Constitutional Court judges to take up elected and non-elected public offices under equal conditions when he refused to appoint them last July, according to a March 17 decision by the Constitutional Court's third senate, the TASR newswire reported. 

President Andrej KiskaPresident Andrej Kiska (Source: SME)

The Court decided that Kiska violated the rights of judges Eva Fulcová, Juraj Sopoliga and Miroslav Ďuriš. The Constitutional Court at the same time overturned the respective decision of Kiska to reject the three candidates on July 2, 2014 and obliged him to deal with the issue again. Furthermore, the President’s Office is supposed to pay the three judges the costs associated with the court proceedings.

Back in July 2014, Kiska decided not to appoint five out of six candidates for three vacant posts of judges at the Constitutional Court that were elected by the Smer-dominated parliament. Following personal interviews with the bidders, Kiska decided to appoint only one judge - Jana Baricová. All five rejected candidates subsequently challenged the president’s decision with the Constitutional Court.

The case of the two remaining judges - Ján Bernát and Imrich Volkai - is being dealt with by another Constitutional Court senate, which has not come to a decision yet.

The decision is confusing and does not explain wherein the alleged violation of the complainers’ rights occurs, according to Kiska’s legal representative and former Constitutional Court head Ján Mazák.

The most serious fact is that it appears that actually only one judge in the senate made the difference, said Mazák, adding that Kiska’s complaint against possible bias of senate member Jana Baricová, who was personally involved in the appointments last year, was rejected.

“Senate Chairman Rudolf Tkáčik adopted a different stance, he does not agree with the verdict,”  Mazák said as quoted by TASR. “There was a judge who really lacked impartiality. This means that one vote in this senate decided on the result of these proceedings. It’s a precedent that I can’t understand.”

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