Presidents’ Decision to Dismiss Judges over Age Didn’t Violate Rights

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Kosice, December 15 (TASR) – The basic rights of two former judges Marianna Reiffova and Helena Kozikova weren’t violated by decisions by Slovak presidents to debench them because of their age, the Constitutional Court decided on Thursday.

Reiffova was dismissed in June 2014 by then president Ivan Gasparovic (2004-14), while Kozikova was removed in June 2015 by incumbent President Andrej Kiska. In both cases, this took place following a proposal from the Judicial Council because the judges had reached 65 years of age.

The former Bratislava judges complained that their right of access to elected and other public posts under equal conditions as guaranteed by the Slovak Constitution as well as the right to take part in the public services of their country under equal conditions according to the International Pact on Civic and Political Rights had been violated.

Kozikova’s lawyer Michal Mandzak complained at the court session earlier in the day that the legislation governing the dismissal of judges in relation to their age is ambiguous. “The current legislation and practice in debenching judges is apparently ambiguous … because it isn’t clear why some judges are still in their posts and others aren’t. This is a clear cut intervention in the independence of the judiciary,” he told journalists, arguing that the age at which judges should be automatically debenched needs to be defined unequivocally because the existing state of affairs invites capriciousness.

The issue was considered by the 2nd Senate made up of chair Lajos Meszaros and judges Ludmila Gajdosikova and Ladislav Orosz.