Harabin could be forced out of another job

A YEAR after his forced departure from the helm of the Supreme Court Štefan Harabin might also lose his post as chairman of the penal-legal collegium.

Štefan HarabinŠtefan Harabin (Source: Sme)

The reason is two disputable decisions of Harabin’s collegium from the last period. In one case, the collegium released a man convicted for sexual molestation by Veľký Krtíš District Court judge Milan Varga, because it decided that Varga was on the bench illegally. Milan Varga was convicted in the Czech Republic in 2011 for driving under influence and, under Slovak law, a judge sentenced for any intentional crime is to be lose their post. In 2011, however, DUI was defined only as a misdemeanour and not a crime in Slovakia.

Whether also other convicts will be released will now depend on whether they will file appeals with the Supreme Court. The lawyers approached by the Pravda daily say that this may happen as every such convict may appeal in three years since the valid ruling was issued. They consider the verdict of Harabin’s panel of judges incorrect.

In another case, Harabin’s panel released a police officer convicted for corruption because it found the Interior Ministry’s internal affairs inspection to be in violation of the law. It was the daily Sme that broke the news about both cases.

Justice Minister Tomáš Borec has joined the discussion, the Sme daily reported on June 25. 

“It was wanton, in my view, and I stand behind this opinion ... I’d like to call upon judges of the Supreme Court to give thought in some manner as to how to improve the reputation of the judiciary,” Borec told TASR after the government’s away-from-home session in Ružomberok.

Borec claimed that he was considering whether or not to take action against Harabin.

“I don’t believe, however, that taking disciplinary action on part of the minister and ministry is appropriate because even the judiciary then perceives this as the executive branch exerting pressure upon the judicial branch,” Borec said, as quoted by TASR.

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