Gasparovic: President Shouldn’t Decide on Quality of Judges

Former Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic. (Photo by TASR)

It’s incomprehensible for the Slovak president to decide on the professional quality of judges, as this should be done by a completely different authority, former president Ivan Gasparovic told TASR on Wednesday in reaction to the stance of current President Andrej Kiska.

Kiska has refused to appoint constitutional judges from among candidates proposed by Parliament. “Parliament provides two candidate names [per post] to the president so that he has people to choose from. The Constitution and the Venice Commission unambiguously state that the president is obliged to appoint them. He can’t say that he won’t appoint them because they aren’t interested in the Constitution. That’s nonsense, as each judge makes decisions every day, and that’s all related to the Constitution,” stressed Gasparovic.

“The Constitutional Court has been understaffed for a long time, which isn’t good,” said Gasparovic.

Kiska announced on July 6 that he was rejecting all five hopefuls for the post of Constitutional Court judge: Eva Fulcova, Juraj Sopoliga, Miroslav Duris, Jana Lassakova and Mojmir Mamojka. He claimed that the requirements for Constitutional Court judges greatly exceed ones that apply to ordinary courts in terms of expertise and acceptance by society. “These requirements can’t be met by applicants who prior to securing their nomination have never, for instance, displayed interest in constitutional law, protection of constitutionality or fundamental rights and freedoms, either in their professional career or in an academic environment,” said Kiska.

The Constitutional Court still lacks three judges out of the full number of 13. In 2014, Kiska rejected five out of six candidates chosen by the then parliament for three Constitutional Court judge posts. He appointed judge Jana Baricova, but rejected the remaining five hopefuls.