Constitutional Court pushes on president, judges refuse cases

After Ľubomír Dobrík left the Constitutional Court, the remaining ten judges refused to take over the 107 files that are left behind.

Constitutional Court chair Ivetta Macejková (C-with former president Ivan Gašparovič-R and the incumbent, Andrej Kiska).Constitutional Court chair Ivetta Macejková (C-with former president Ivan Gašparovič-R and the incumbent, Andrej Kiska). (Source: Sme)

They expect President Andrje Kiska to appoint a new colleague to deal with them – either Jana Laššáková or Mojmír Mamojka.

The protracted dispute between the president and the Constitutional Court entered a new phase. Judges do not want to substitute for the work of colleagues – currently, there are three judges missing at the CC.

Thus, they refused to approve the change of work plan for this year, after judge Ľubomír Dobrík left, whose term ended by the end of February. The proposal suggested re-distributing 107 of Dobrík’s cases among the current ten CC judges. The refusal means, according to the Sme daily, that Dobrík’s cases will remain unprocessed, laid aside. Six judges out of ten voted for such a stance.

The plenum of the Constitutional Court also sent a message to Kiska that they are opting for this step, as they see no reason to further protract the appointment of new judges.

"There is no reason why the president would not appoint a new judge to the post of a former judge, Ľubomír Dobrík,” the substantiation of the decision reads, as quoted by Sme.

The plenum even hinted that Kiska should choose between Smer MP Jana Laššáková and Mojmír Mamojka, who was Smer MP until the March election. Judges also authorised CC chief justice Ivetta Macejková to meet the president and resolve the situation with him.

Those involved in the court proceedings which will be delayed due to the dispute may complain that their right to a just trial without procrastination was violated, and they could turn to the Constitutional Court itself – or even the European Court for Human Rights.

Kiska negotiates the current situation at the CC with representatives of the newly elected parties, the daily wrote on April 10. "After the election, the president started political negotiations with representatives of political parties concerning the CC to solve the situation,” president's spokesman Roman Krpelan informed Sme. Kiska had previously asked for new candidates to be offered for appointment, but was refused by the former parliament. Now, it is possible that four coalition parties will come up with new candidates.

Roots of the problem

The former parliament presented  two Smer MPs, Mamojka and Laššáková,  for appointment  to the  place vacated after Dobrík left. Two more places at the CC are vacant after Kiska failed to choose new judges from among six candidates offered to three vacancies in 2014, appointing only a single judge, Jana Baricová. Kiska explained his reservations concerning the remaining five candidates.

The Constitutional Court is almost dysfunctional, current Speaker of Parliament, Andrej Danko of SNS, said as quoted yb the TASR newswire, adding that it will be crucial to find a consensus between the ideas of the president and the parliament.

Another option is to amend the law on appointing judges, as proposed by the new Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (most-Híd). The draft amendment would change the competences when appointing constitutional judges, according to Sme. 

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