13 disciplinary actions against Judges – 13 questionmarks

Current information on disciplinary actions against Judges as of 30 April 2010:

 

1. Peter Paluda
2. Stanislav Sojka
3. Anna Benesova
4. Angela Balazsova
5. Milan Ruzicka
6. Jana Dubovcova
7. Darina Kuchtova
8. Miroslav Gavalec
9. Juraj Kliment
10. Peter Hatala
11. Jozef Kandera
12. Juraj Majchrak
13. Juraj Babjak


1st Judge Peter Paluda, Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic

The Judge is charged upon the motion of the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic of 8 September 2009 in a disciplinary action for submitting a criminal charge against Stefan Harabin, President of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic and for his opinion expressed in newspapers. The Judicial Council chaired by Stefan Harabin, President of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic, adopted on the same day the resolution to temporary suspend his judicial position.

The Judge filed the appeal against the resolution of the Judicial Council and he also filed an administrative charge to the Regional Court of the Slovak Republic. No decision was made on these motions, and the Judicial Council refused to discuss the appeal and to decide at all, despite the fact that such procedure is applicable to a judge from the legal opinion of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic stated in the resolution refusing adoption of a constitutional complaint of a Judge against the decision on temporary suspended judicial position.

First hearing in the case was held only after 6 months, on 10 March 2010 and it was suspended for impartiality complaint filed by the Judge against one of the female judges of the disciplinary senate based on his general complaint that his disciplinary sanction cannot be decided by any of disciplinary Judges appointed and revocable by the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic, that filed a disciplinary motion against him, because the Judicial Council has the power to create and recall disciplinary senates and their judges.

The petitioner in the disciplinary motion proposed the strictest penalty to remove him from his judicial position, however the actions he is suspected of are not actions that according to the law are incompatible with a judicial position and a judge may be removed from his position only for such actions. The Judge has still suspended position and he waits for the decision of the disciplinary court.


2nd Judge Stanislav Sojka, District Court Michalovce

Jozef Sorocina, chairman of the District Court in Michalovce filed on 3 June 2008 a disciplinary motion upon a written motion of JUDr. Kus, advocate, for a reasoned suspicion that he allowed access to the content of the appeal in a criminal case he was to decide, to known judges, prosecutors, judicial council of the District Court Michalovce and JUDr. Daniel Lipsic. An appeal in the criminal case was filed by JUDr. Kus after the Judge in the criminal case in 2007 (JUDr. Kus defended persons accused for cigarettes smuggling) did not satisfy the motion of JUDr. Kus to release the accused persons free and he decided they are guilty. The advocate in his appeal against the decision stated that it is not suitable that this Judge is in a position in criminal agenda. The Judge informed the Judicial Council of the District Court Michalovce about the attack of the advocate. It is not true that he Judge made access to an incompetent person. Subsequently he was transferred from the criminal division by the chairman of the court.

The petitioner in his original motion qualified the above disciplinary delict as a serious disciplinary failure defined in § 116 (1) of the Act on Judges. After passed statutory limitation period the petitioner “added“ also § 116 (2) to his legal qualification for which a judge may be suspended his position and a judge may be removed from his position.

The Judge describing his problem turned to the President of the Republic, who sent his letter to the chairman of the court for his opinion. The chairman of the court sent the President’s letter to the advocate Kus and he sent a motion to the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic to charge the Judge for writing a letter to the President. The Judicial Council did not satisfy the motion of the advocate and on 9 April 2009 the chairman of the court sent another motion for starting a disciplinary procedure for the above letter to the President and he reasoned his motion also by the fact that “it is obviously in fundamental contradiction with obligations of a judge and his ethics, to write a letter to the President of the Republic“.
Stefan Harabin, Minister of Justice, on 10 June 2008 in his decision temporarily suspended position of the Judge. Disciplinary motion was delivered to the Judge only 6 months after his position was suspended.

The Judge asked the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic to reverse the decision of the Minister of Justice, however, the Judicial Council in the decision of 2 July 2008 did not satisfy his motion.

The Judge used all means of the national law for his protection because the Regional Court in Bratislava suspended the procedure of the complaint of the Judge to review legality of the decisions of the Minister of Justice and the Judicial Council, the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic confirmed the decision and the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic refused the Judge’s complaint on his infringed constitutional rights. That is why the Judge filed a motion to the European Court of Human Rights.

First hearing in the disciplinary procedure was held 8 months after the motion was filed to the disciplinary court and the court decided the case in a decision of 21 October 2009 and made free the Judge of the first disciplinary motion and confirmed guilt of the Judge of serious disciplinary failure in the second procedure – writing a letter to the President of the Republic. A disciplinary measure was taken decreasing his positional wage by 50 % for a period of 6 months. The Judge immediately after the decision was published appealed against the guilt and against the penalty imposed.

The petitioner in the filed disciplinary charge proposed the strictest penalty for the Judge to remove him from his judicial position, however, the actions he is suspected of according to the petitioner are not actions that according to the law are incompatible with the judicial position and only for such actions a Judge may according to the Constitution be removed from his position.
The Judge has suspended judicial position and he waits for the decision of the disciplinary court.
Viera Petrikova, the Minister of Justice did not refuse the suspended judicial position despite the fact that he was acknowledged guilty only for writing a letter to the President and he was imposed a financial penalty.

3rd Judge Anna Benesova, Regional Court Bratislava

Gabriela Simonova, chairman of the Regional Court in Bratislava filed on 15 July 2008 a disciplinary motion against the Judge because in her position of the chairman of a senate she in the allocated cases allegedly did not enable sound recording of the hearings on 14 June 2007 and 11 October 2007.  The court chairman later extended her motion by a submission of 9 February 2009 with an action that in the allocated case at the hearing on 14 June 2007 the Judge has not recorded an objection for impartiality of a party and she did not suspend the hearing for submitting the file to the subordinated court to decide the objection for impartiality, and she decided the matter of the case at that hearing.

Stefan Harabin, the Minister of Justice on 18 July 2008 in his decision temporarily suspended the position of the Judge. The Judge in September 2008 filed an appeal against his decision and it has not been decided sofar.

The Judge in her written statements and also at the disciplinary hearing stated that the disciplinary charge was connected with the effort to temporarily suspend her judicial position to discontinue her decisions in the cases where Stefan Harabin, the Minister of Justice, was the party. According to the Judge, the chairman of the court before submitting the disciplinary charge, inadmissibly interfered in the decisions of the senate in one of those cases in favour of Stefan Harabin, former Minister of Justice. The Judge also pointed out the diverse approach in assessment of the same action (possibility to use a sound recorder by a party at a hearing) in other disciplinary charged judges, who were not imposed any penalty or they were imposed symbolic penalties.

In relation to the disciplinary failures the Judge stated that in both cases the parties asked for recording before start of the hearings when she checked presence of invited persons and possibility for out of court settlement and in this period she did not allow them the recording. This corresponds to the content of the court file of the hearing. Because in course of the hearing later the parties have not asked for such possibility, the hearing was made without any other decision on sound recording. Regarding the objection of prejudice, that was to be filed against the Judge  at the hearing on 14 June 2008, the content of the objection shows that the complaining party filed the objection a day after the hearing, on 15 June 2008. The chairman of the Regional Court withdrew this part of the disciplinary charge against the Judge.

The first level disciplinary senate decided the case only in July 2009 more than a year after the motion was filed, the Judge was declared guilty and she was moved to the court of a lower level. The Judge  immediately appealed against the decision.

The petitioner in the submitted disciplinary motion proposed to impose the Judge the strictest penalty, to remove her from her judicial position, though actions she was suspected  of according to the petitioner are not actions that according to law are incompatible with a judicial position and only for such actions a judge may be removed from his position according to the Constitution.

The Judge has worked in judiciary for more than 37 years. She was evaluated as one of the best and the most efficient judges.

Judicial position of the Judge is still suspended and she waits for the decision of the appeal disciplinary court. She did not ask the Judicial Council to annul her suspension. Viera Petrikova, Minister of Justice, did not annul suspension of her judicial position despite the fact that she was not imposed the penalty of removal from judicial position but a more moderate penalty, removal to a lower level court. She has not  decided yet about the appeal of the Judge as her predecessor Stefan Harabin.

4th Judge Angela Balazsova, District Court Bratislava I

Gabriela Bulubasova, chairman of the District Court Bratislava I, filed a disciplinary motion against the Judge on 8 June 2009 for wilful decision of the Judge that is contrary to law. In her motion she stated that it was not filed as a sanction for her legal opinion or for a decision in a case but because the Judge breached her obligations related to performing evidence and application of a legal regulation and that she caused to the State a loss of approximately 3 Billion EUR. The motion does not show the relevance between the way of performed evidence and the loss.
Stefan Harabin, Minister of Justice, in the decision of 9 June 2009 suspended position of the Judge. She did not appeal against the decision. At the beginning of July 2009 she asked the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic to annul the decision of the Minister. The Judicial Council did not satisfy her request.

The first level disciplinary senate decided on 24 February 2010, i.e. 9 months after the motion was submitted and declared her guilty for culpable not fulfilment or breach of one of the obligations of a judge that are defined in § 30 of the Act on Judges and By-Judges and ceased imposing a disciplinary measure. The decision of the court shows that she was declared guilty because she within evidence has not asked for the record of the Securities Depositary. The Judge states that in the case she used decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic where the ownership of disputable securities in favour of the petitioner was stated and she considered evidence by record of the Securities Depositary unnecessary. The Judge and also the chairman of the Court, now Helena Kozikova, filed an appeal against the decision.

The petitioner in the submitted disciplinary motion proposed to impose the strictest penalty, removal from her judicial position, though action she was suspected of according to the petitioner is not an action that according to law is incompatible with judicial position and only for such actions a judge may be removed from his position according to the Constitution of the Slovak Republic.

The judicial position of the Judge is suspended and she waits for the decision of the appeal disciplinary court. She has not asked the Judicial Council again to annul suspension of her position, because she does not trust impartiality of this body, because Helena Kozikova, chairman of the court is also the member of the Judicial Council. Viera Petrikova, Minister of Justice did not annul suspension of her judicial position despite the fact that the disciplinary court ceased her penalty.


5th Judge Milan Ruzicka, District Court Velky Krtis

JUDr. Jan Bobor, chairman of the Regional Court in Banska Bystrica, filed a disciplinary motion on 9 March 2009 against the Judge, because in an execution case he was given, he did not proceed from 18  August 1999 till 18 April 2006, despite the fact that already on 16 August 1999 the court executor delivered to the court objections of the obliged person.

Stefan Harabin, Minister of Justice, in his decision of 9 March 2009 temporarily suspended the position of the Judge. On 24 March 2009 the Judge asked the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic to annul the decision of the Minister, however, the Judicial Council did not satisfy his request. The Judicial Council did not satisfy his repeated motion of 9 June 2009 to annul the decision of the Minister of Justice. Submission in which the Judicial Council informed him about the decision was signed by Stefan Harabin, chairman of the Judicial Council, who earlier in his position of the Minister of Justice decided the suspension of his judicial position.

The Judge in the disciplinary procedure defends himself that the court file and the court register show that the objection of the obliged person was not delivered to the Court on 16 August 1999, because it is not registered in the court register. It was journalised in the file only in 2006. From 2004 higher court officers decided objections in execution procedures according to a work schedule, judges did not. The Judge points out the fact that in the whole period from 1999 the parties of the procedure have not filed any complaint for delays in the objection. An executor cannot file such complaint because he is not party to the procedure. In the case there were not found any delays by control activities of the court or by a review body and no other authorised body (European Court for Human Rights, Constitutional Court) have not stated any delay in this case. Also no loss was caused.

The Judge was the chairman of the District Court in Velky Krtis from 1993 till 2006, when Stefan Harabin, shortly after he was appointed to his minister position, removed him from the position of the chairman of the court without stating any reason. In the period from 2005 till 2010 he was active as the external member of the pedagogical staff of the Judicial Academy. Work evaluations of the Judge were always highly positive.

In this case the disciplinary motion was not filed by the competent person, chairman of the District Court Velky Krtis. Chairman of the court upon request of the chairman of the Regional Court was to confirm that she did not found any delay in the execution case and she was not to file any disciplinary motion against the Judge. Disciplinary motion was filed by the chairman of the subordinated Regional Court, despite the fact that he was not competent to. Subsequently the chairman of the District Court waived her position. More, in this case the file was asked for by the Ministry of Justice with no published reasons despite the fact that the Judge pointed out this and he asked for explanation.

The first level disciplinary court in the hearing in November 2009 7 months after submitted motion declared the Judge guilty of accused failure and imposed him financial penalty in decreased positional wage by 50 % for the period of 5 months.

The petitioner in the filed disciplinary motion proposed to impose the Judge the strictest penalty, removal of judicial position, though action he was suspected of according to the petitioner is not an action that according to law is incompatible with judicial position and only for such actions a judge may be removed from his position according to the Constitution of the Slovak Republic.

Viera Petrikova, Minister of Justice, on 29 December 2009 annulled the decision of Stefan Harabin, previous Minister of Justice suspending judicial position of the Judge and the Judge in performing his position waits for the decision of the appeal court.



6th ex-Judge Jana Dubovcova, District Court Banska Bystrica

Lubomir Busik, chairman of the District Court Banska Bystrica, filed on 11 September 2009 a disciplinary motion delivered to the disciplinary court on 16 September 2009 against the Judge that has never been delivered to the Judge. He also proposed that the Minister of Justice suspends temporarily her position.

Viera Petrikova, Minister of Justice, in her decision of 25 September 2009 temporarily suspended the Judge’s position. In her decision she stated that the chairman of the District Court reasoned his disciplinary motion by the fact that despite the decision of the collegium of chairmen of judicial councils at the Regional Court in Banska Bystrica of 9 April 2009 the Judge was notified about inadequacy of the way and the means she expressed her opinions as a judge, she signed the declaration of the campaign published on 22 June 2009 at the web page of Aliancia Fair – Play Cervena pre Harabina (Red for Harabin), where she asked the Judicial Council to consider consequences of election of Stefan Harabin to the position of the President of the Supreme Court not only to the judiciary, the judges and also to the citizens of Slovakia and not to elect him. In daily Pravda on 22 June 2009 she invited the members of the Judicial Council to withdraw from voting, because the conditions exclude normal voting. According to the petitioner thereby she breached her fundamental judicial obligations related to her civic life.

The disciplinary court in the decision of 28 September 2009 stopped disciplinary action against the Judge, because through faxed motion delivered on 28 September 2009 the chairman of the District Court took back the disciplinary motion.

In relation to this case it is known that impact to the judicial position of the Judge caused unprecented reaction of public and also brought attention of politicians and political parties to the situation in judiciary. Already next day the Prime Minister of the Government of the Slovak Republic reacted and he publicly declared that “it is not possible even theoretically to charge anybody for his expressed opinion“. Followingly the chairman of the court informed that he withdraws his disciplinary motion against the Judge because it became the object of political fight. The Minister of Justice did not annul her decision on temporary suspension of her position, however, she publicly declared that “she took steps“ to return the position to the Judge“.

The Judge returned to her judicial position, however, on 28 February 2010 after 20 years in judiciary, she ceased her judicial position and she definitely left judiciary.

7th Judge Darina Kuchtova, Regional Court Bratislava

Stefan Harabin, Minister of Justice, upon motion of the judge Pavol Polka, filed on 10 September 2008 a disciplinary motion against the Judge, because she breached the fundamental obligations of judges defined in § 30 (1) of the Act on Judges and By-Judges, to refrain in civic life from anything that could breach respectability and dignity of a judicial position. According to the petitioner the action was committed in criminal proceeding of the charged persons Z. J. and E. K. for crimes of defamation where she gave evidence as a witness at the main hearing on 7 December 2007, where at the hearing she stated untrue facts and evaluating opinions related to the position of Pavol Polka, chairman of the District Court Zilina in the period from 1997 till 1999, where she significantly infringed the personality sphere of the above person.

The petitioner proposed a financial penalty of decreasing her judicial wage by 15 % for a period of three months.

The first level disciplinary court on 12 February 2009 decided and declared the Judge guilty in full range and it also ceased her penalty.

The Judge in her defence stated that she gave evidence as a witness in the criminal procedure where she fulfilled her statutory and also civic obligation. As a witness she was summoned properly by the court for giving her witness evidence in the court procedure and she answered questions of the court and of the prosecutor according to the truth. She had no legal reason to refuse her evidence to the court. She also stressed that she has not been prosecuted or sentenced for any crime of false testimony though such motion was filed to competent prosecution body. Such action was legally finalised by refused motion for lack of reasons. The judge Polka in relation to her evidence in criminal procedure filed also a civil law petition against her to protect his personality, but later probably because of lack of reasons he withdrew the motion. The Judge pointed out that the disciplinary court cannot within their action in a disciplinary motion in the case of false (untrue) testimony replace any criminal court. The same cannot be done also in relation to the statement of the petitioner that through her evidence the Judge infringed the personality sphere of the judge Polka, because only a court in a civil law suit may decide this.

Because she was accused for her behaviour that does not relate to any action or decisions in a case she was allocated, a disciplinary court is not competent to act in the case according to her opinion, but according to § 69 (1), (3) of the Act on Judges, competent judicial council was to decide the motion of Pavol Polka.

The Judge was the chairman of the Regional Court in Bratislava, she was removed from this position by Stefan Harabin, Minister of Justice, shortly after he started his position, without any reason.

From February 2009 the Judge waits for the decision of the disciplinary court.

8th Miroslav Gavalec, Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic

Stefan Harabin, President of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic, filed against the Judge on 14 January 2010 a disciplinary motion based on the facts that the Judge has not trained himself thoroughly. It was based on the fact that without proper verification of the applicable legal regulation he substantially and without expert knowledge asked in a letter the Health Surveillance Authority (in September 2009) to check work conditions of the judges and the court staff at the Supreme Court despite the fact that the above Authority is not materially competent to check such facts. He was by his action significantly decreasing dignity of his judicial position and position of the chairman of a senate, his expert reputation and also respectability of the Supreme Court authority of the Slovak Republic. He also proposed to impose him the penalty of removal to a lower level court.

The Judge as the member of the judicial council of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic presented to this body several initiatives to improve conditions of the work of judges that were accepted by the judicial council, however, without accepting them by the management of the Supreme Court. That was why he as the member of the judicial council in September 2009 invited two national authorities to evaluate work conditions of judges at the Supreme Court. He wished to present the acquired results to the judicial council for further action.

The Health Surveillance Authority refused to deal with the case, because they did not consider the request of the Judge well-grounded. Work conditions, i.e. mainly size of rooms and way of work were evaluated as reasons that are not to be dealt with within preventive care for health of judges. The Public Health Care Authority evaluated work conditions of the judges and the staff of  the Supreme Court and concluded that small rooms for the judges, the court staff or the special court room (all with area of 10 to 14 m2 including the area covered by furniture) have sufficient size for dignified work of 3 members senates and 2 court workers or for proceedings of serious cases with number of participants, because the binding limit is the minimum area of 2 m2 per one worker and that area is in the premises of the Supreme Court according to their conclusion fulfilled.

The Judge presented to the disciplinary court the review of his activities connected with his judicial training for the period from 2005 till 2009 in total exceeding the number 100, including international events and participation in international scientific conferences.

The Judge asked the disciplinary senate to suspend his disciplinary action, nevertheless this procedure continues.

 

9th and  10th Judges Juraj Kliment and Peter Hatala, Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic

Stefan Harabin, President of the Supreme Court, filed the disciplinary motion against both Judges on 5 March 2010. Against Juraj Kliment allegedly for breach of a deadline for writing a decision on custody in a criminal case and against both Judges for allegedly caused delays and marring a public procedure in a serious criminal case.

Judge Juraj Kliment in connection with production of a custody decision defends himself that in the above criminal case on 10 September 2009 an order for releasing the charged person free from custody was made and the charged person was ordered the penalty of imprisonment. In the case of the disputable resolution on custody the Judge took legal opinion within his decision making activity that by ordered penalty of imprisonment the resolution on custody was repealed and that was why it was not produced. It is proved also by the record of unproduced decisions, in which it has never been recorded as not written.

In connection to this disciplinary failure the President of the Supreme Court in his decision of 31 March 2010 terminated the Judge his permission for working  in domestic environment due to the fact that he allegedly does not fulfil his judicial obligations properly and in time. The President of the Court did not respect the negative opinion of the judicial council of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic of 15 March 2010 which informed him that the conditions defined by law are not fulfilled. The Judge during his position has not written any decision after a deadline. In 2009 he finalised in the criminal collegium the highest number of cases.

Both Judges defend themselves in the allegedly caused delays and marred public proceeding in a serious criminal case by the fact that the criminal case on 18 February 2010 was overtaken by their senate 1 Toš with first chairman Juraj Kliment, and on the same day the case was in the senate allocated to the second chairman of the senate Peter Hatala, who defined on 19 February 2010 the date for public proceeding. At the proceeding it was decided to merge this case with another case held at the court division of another senate, because conditions defined by law were fulfilled for such procedure. In the criminal case to which the criminal case of their senate was allocated to, was the date of public proceeding defined on 22 February 2010, however, this could not be made, because procedural conditions for apology of charged persons were not met. The Judges knew about this obstacle for a public proceeding already on 19 February 2010. This was the reason to define a new date for a closed proceeding on 26 February 2010, when decisions in both criminal cases were repealed and the case was returned back to the first level court to a new proceeding and a decision. Such procedure did not mar public proceeding and did not cause delays in the procedure.

In both disciplinary cases the Judges are disciplinary charged for decision making activity which is contrary to the legal regulation.

The Judge Juraj Kliment was proposed the penalty of removal to a lower level court and the Judge Peter Hatala was proposed a financial penalty.

 

11th Judge Jozef Kandera, Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic

Stefan Harabin, President of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic, filed against the Judge on 4 September 2009 a disciplinary motion for alleged delays in four criminal cases with proposal to remove the Judge to a lower level court.

The disciplinary motion was not discussed with the Judge and he could not give his opinion to the delays. The motion was filed without the review on burden and work performance of the Judge in the decisive period submitted by the petitioner and the comparison of results of work and burden of other judges in the criminal collegium. The petitioner without proved basis in a disciplinary motion states that the Judge was objectively capable to provide the cases without delays.

The disciplinary court in the first level decision of 17 March 2010 decided that two large criminal cases were eliminated from the motion and he was declared guilty of delays in two less complicated criminal cases. The court reasoned their decision that along with large cases he had to provide the easier cases earlier. The court has not observed reviews of the criminal collegium presented to the judges during the disciplinary procedure which clearly showed that along with large criminal cases he in the defined period provided tens of other cases, easier and also more complicated. The court also did not consider that in that time the Judge made higher achievements than majority of members of the criminal collegium and evidently he made higher achievements than the members in his senate. Also in the defined period he was in position of the chairman and later the member of the judicial council of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic.

The Judge was imposed financial penalty – decreased wage by 15 % for the period of one month. He did not appeal against the decision immediately because he finds declared guilt for unfair.

Followingly after 26 years of his work in his judicial position (16 years thereof at the Supreme Court) he waived his position as of 30 April 2010. The motive of his decision is mainly that it is not possible to effectively defend for delays against the attacks of the President of the Supreme Court, who evidently misuses his position. If he is legally sentenced in this disciplinary procedure, he assumes other disciplinary motion would continue and he would be seen as a repeated offender. Work schedule at the criminal collegium of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic is according to his opinion currently made in the way that inadequately burdens judges who execute agenda of the former Special Court and evidently their failures are expected. Under the stress of such situation it is hardly possible to concentrate on work that is complicated and demanding.
The Judge waived his position in the situation when he filed the appeal against the first level decision, due to which he looses a rather high compensation payment he would have received in the case of accepting penalty at departure.

12th Judge Juraj Majchrak, Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic

Stefan Harabin, President of the Supreme Court, filed against the Judge on 2 July 2009 a disciplinary motion because in the custody criminal case allocated to senate 2 Toš to Jan Mihal, second chairman of the senate, as a representing judge during his holiday, has not proved a fax request of the defence attorney of the charged person, who stated that the charged person is in custody after a deadline defined by law, and he was to cause an illegal custody of a charged person in period from 17 June 2006 till 24 June 2010. A penalty of removal to a lower level court was proposed.

The Judge learned from media about the disciplinary action during his holiday. He defended himself against the charge that the member of the senate the case was allocated to in the senate informed him before his departure to holiday that the deadlines for custody in this criminal case are observed. On 17 June 2009 (Thursday) the court received only a fax request of the defence attorney of the charged person to release this charged person free from custody. Because the statutory judges were to start work after holiday as early as on Monday 21 June 2009, he ordered the Office to give him the request immediately. He started his holiday on 21 June 2009. In spite of this he is charged that he caused custody of the charged person also in time of his own holiday.

On 21 August 2009 and on 25 September 2009 Stefan Harabin, President of the Supreme Court, filed against the Judge two more disciplinary motions for delays in procedure in four criminal cases. The Judge was informed about the disciplinary motion by media, the disciplinary motion was not discussed with him and he could not give his opinion to the delays.

The disciplinary motion was not discussed with the Judge and he could not give his opinion to the delays. The motion was filed without the review on burden and work performance of the Judge in the decisive period submitted by the petitioner and comparison to results of work and burden of other judges in the criminal collegium. The petitioner without proved basis in a disciplinary motion states that the Judge was objectively capable to provide the cases without delays.

The petitioner for the above disciplinary failures proposed to impose the Judge the strictest penalty, removal from his judicial position, though actions he is suspected of according to the petitioner are not actions that according to the law are incompatible with a judicial position, only for such actions a judge may be removed from his position.

From 10 September 2009 the Judge is sick for a long term period. He performs his judicial position for 30 years, until now there were no objections against his work and he is a known expert in criminal law. In the past he was in the position of the vice President of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic and he was elected the member of the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic by his colleagues.

13th Judge Juraj Babjak, Regional Court Banská Bystrica

Jan Bobor, chairman of the Regional Court Banska Bystrica filed on 27 November 2009 a disciplinary motion against the Judge for wilful action causing delays in four court proceedings thereof two cases were allocated to the Judge in January 2007, with proposed removal to a lower level court.

The disciplinary motion was not preliminary discussed with the Judge, the motion was delivered to him only on 26 April 2010 and that is why he could not give his opinion to the delays. Before the Judge was informed about the motion by media and later by the decision of the chairman of the court cancelling his domestic work permission. The Judge commutes weekly to Banska Bystrica from his permanent residence in Kosice, because the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic has not accepted his request for removal to the regional court in place of his permanent residence.

The motion was filed without the review on burden and work performance of the Judge in the decisive period submitted by the petitioner and comparison to results of work and burden of other judges in the criminal collegium. The petitioner without proved basis in a disciplinary motion states that the Judge was objectively capable to provide the cases without delays.
According to the opinion of the Judge before started disciplinary procedure against him, this is a misuse of the state power, with the following reasons:

  • Method of allocating criminal cases – after seven years of his position at the Constitutional Court in Kosice and return back to the position of a judge at the Regional Court in Banska Bystrica in January 2007, the Judge was after purposeful modification of the work schedule with the common submission of criminal cases allocated extra 20 mostly complicated criminal cases (in total range of more than 30 000 pages), that were left after another judge who retired to pre-time old age pension. The other judges of the criminal collegium have not been touched by allocation of his cases. The Judge filed an objection for infringed rule of equal burden of judges and mainly the rule of statutory judge (criminal cases after a retired judge could have been allocated for instance by random selection via electronic registration to the judges of the criminal collegium and not to only one defined judge). He also informed the chairman of the court that with his workload he cannot act in the allocated cases without delays.
  • Presentation of the Minister of Justice at the session of the Parliament of the Slovak Republic on 15 October 2009 – she namely attacked several judges who used publicly freedom to speak and criticised current situation in judiciary. Judge Juraj Babjak who criticised publicly relations in judiciary individually and as a signatory of several initiatives, with allegedly subjective delays in one criminal case he was allocated in January 2007, indicated corruption and support to crime: “I publicly ask how much takes a judge for a megafraud not to define the date and not to proceed?“; these are for me judges who support crime.“ The Judge filed a motion for protection of personality in March 2010 against the Minister for these untrue and defamable statements.
  • Obvious continuation of the disciplinary motion to the presentation of the Minister of Justice – even that the disciplinary motion against the Judge was filed by the chairman of the Regional Court, it is obvious that the motion against the Judge of November 2009 imminently refers to the presentation of the Minister of Justice in the Parliament in October 2009. The Minister of Justice in position of a politician used critics of the Judge as part of her defence within the political fight. The chairman of the Regional Court as the author of the disciplinary motion and also as the representative of the state administration of the court (subordinated to the politician -  Minister of Justice) continued in critics of the Judge by initiating his disciplinary procedure with the aim to degrade him to a lower level court. In doing so he misused the situation after special allocation of the cases to the Judge in January 2007 he participated in.

 

 

Due to the facts and the legal background of described disciplinary motions we consider them purposeful and controversial.

9 judges of 13 judges disciplinary prosecuted belong to open critics of the current court system and the court representatives.

In the case of 1 judge there seems to be a real reason for her disciplinary procedure her unwillingness to be influenced in her decision in the case with a party of current President of the Supreme Court.

In the case of 3 judges it seems they are from some reasons uneasy for the court management.

Done at Bratislava 30 April 2010.

 

Spokesmen of Initiative:
Katarina Javorčíková
Miroslav Gavalec

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