Harabin escapes unpunished

From court to determine if disciplinary action will be taken towards Supreme Court judge Štefan Harabin, he has now filed a criminal complaint against the Interior Ministry for attempted murder.

Harabin is leaving court on May 13.Harabin is leaving court on May 13. (Source: SITA)

The Disciplinary Senate turned down the proposal for disciplinary proceedings towards Harabin filed by Judicial Council chair Jana Bajánková on May 13 for statements made against Supreme Court chair Daniela Švecová. The decision is not valid yet.

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Harabin, aged 59, former justice minister and former head of the Judicial Council and Supreme Court, told the media in 2015 that Švecová was “poor thing” and would “end up in a mental hospital”. However, according to the opinion of the five-member senate, Harabin has not committed an infraction that would merit disciplining. He also faces four proposals for disciplinary proceedings. Aside from Bajánková, three others were filed against him by Švecová. In her first proposal, Švecová demands Harabin to be reassigned to a lower level court, in the second she calls for a fine and in the third for his de-benching, the TASR newswire wrote.

The former justice minister and Supreme Court chairman criticises the two top representatives of Slovak judiciary for allegedly acting as puppets of the co-governing Smer party. While naming them “juristitutes”, he urged them to resign immediately.

His disputes with Švecová and Bajánková go back to Harabin’s senate decisions last year, leading to the release of certain police officers who were being prosecuted in custody for corruption. Harabin justified the decisions by stating that the Interior Ministry's internal affairs inspectorate, which investigated the officers, was unlawful.

Harabin has faced disciplinary proposals in the past but has always managed to avoid punishment.

The court dispute had a session on May 10 in which a glass part of a ceiling light fell – during a break – directly on the seats that were supposed to be occupied by Harabin and his lawyer in the courtroom. Harabin now believes that the incident was not an accident and believes that somebody tried to kill him. The primary suspects, in Harabin’s view, are Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, Supreme Court spokesman Boris Urbančík, Švecová, Bajánková and two other staff members of the Supreme Court.

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Harabin  has already formally urged the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate the incident and provide him with personal protection.

“We can neither confirm nor rule out that the interior minister was going around with a screwdriver at the Supreme Court on Tuesday," reacted the Interior Ministry’s press department on May 13, adding that no bodyguards will be provided to Harabin, who asked for them. “The only threat Harabin is facing is from himself. And no bodyguards can protect him from himself,” added the Interior Ministry representative, as quoted by TASR.

Harabin, now a rank-and-file judge at the Supreme Court, filed a criminal complaint concerning attempted murder or heavy bodily harm, the Sme daily wrote. 

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