Options for Suspending Judges and Prosecutors to Be Expanded

Options for Suspending Judges and Prosecutors to Be Expanded

Bratislava, November 28 (TASR) – If there’s a reason to doubt that judges or prosecutors meet the prerequisites and abilities to perform their jobs and the credibility or reputation of the judiciary might be seriously compromised, it will be possible to suspend them, according to an amendment to the law on judges and associate judges approved by the Cabinet at a special session on Thursday.

A proposal to suspend a judge for the aforementioned new reason, filed by the Judicial Council chair, the justice minister or the Supreme Court chair, will be decided on by the Judicial Council.

The judge or prosecutor will be suspended until the reasons for the decision cease to exist. Initial suspensions will last a maximum of six months, but it will be possible to extend them for six more months. “During this period the judge will either be charged or disciplined, and then we’ll be able to insist on a further suspension, or the judge will return to work,” said Justice Minister Gabor Gal (Most-Hid).

The new legislation also states that the Judicial Council’s vote will be public. “The provision reflects the Judicial Council’s decision that it wants to vote publicly. The Supreme Court chair will be elected in a public vote as well,” added Gal.

The legislation was officially submitted to the Cabinet session by Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD), who said that there is a need to strengthen public trust in the judiciary and prosecution service and to adopt specific legislative measures in this regard that could take effect as soon as possible. Pellegrini pointed to the fact that the proposed measures don’t only react to the current situation but are designed to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.

The amendment will be debated by MPs at the ongoing parliamentary session. Pellegrini expects the debate to take place next week after the one on the state budge