ZOJ Declaration on Current Situation in Judiciary

The Conference of the organisation Judges „For Open Judiciary“ held in Bratislava on 21 March 2014 after evaluating the current situation in judiciary adopted this position:

 

Judges negatively view the procedure in which serious legislative modifications related to judicial power based on motions of the Parliament Members directly in the Parliament are adopted whereby the judges in this procedure are excluded. The proposed motions relate to all key laws and provisions of the Slovak Constitution that were adopted by the end of the 90-ties, after long-lasting and complicated negotiations among the representatives of judges, the Government and the Parliament, and that fulfilled the requirements for integration of Slovakia with the European Union. These legislative provisions were based on European standards and on the independence of judicial power and they should be fully respected also today.

 

Unacceptable are mainly the efforts establishing the security checks and providing a possibility to remove judges from their positions in a way other than regular disciplinary or criminal procedures. Motions of the Parliament Members do not make it clear why current way of creating the Judicial Council is not satisfactory and why it is necessary to modify its creation in a way that give the Slovak Government and the Slovak Parliament stronger powers. It is not possible to find out real effects to efficiency and confidence of the Slovak Courts. We find positive only the proposed separation of the positions of the President of the Slovak Supreme Court and the Chairman of the Slovak Judicial Council. We therefore invite the Members of the Slovak Parliament not to continue the legislative procedure without any regular expert discussion and to enable mainly the judges to comment these serious modifications within a regular consultation procedure.

 

It is surprising that the Slovak Judicial Council has not adopted any position to these efforts of the legislative and executive powers, where judges and the public rightfully expect that this should be the main body to guarantee the independence of the judicial power. Judicial Boards are also inactive though they are the bodies of the Court self-administration.

 

We will inform the international judicial associations about current situation and we will ask them to monitor the Slovak Republic how the fundamental criteria and conditions for a democratic country with rule of law are maintained.

 

Done at Bratislava 21 March 2014

 

JUDr. Katarina Javorcikova

ZOJ President

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