Judicial Branch Protests After Janša Accuses Velenje Court of Political Bias

By , 29 Oct 2021, 11:22 AM Politics
Judicial Branch Protests After Janša Accuses Velenje Court of Political Bias pxfuel.com CC-by-0

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STA, 28 October 2021 - The Slovenian Association of Judges has expressed protest after Prime Minister Janez Janša accused the court that ordered him to pay damages in a defamation suit brought by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) of political bias. The Supreme Court called for more decent communication between the branches of government.

"This is the practice of the Velenje court, which is packed with a cronyist assortment of members or supporters of the Social Democrats and which hands out judgements without hearings and without affording the option of defence," Janša stated yesterday.

This was after the Velenje Local Court upheld the party's EUR 10,000 damages claim against him for claiming the party was headquartered in a "stolen Jewish villa". In a default judgement issued because Janša failed to pick up court mail and respond to the lawsuit, the court also ordered Janša to apologise for the claim on Twitter within 15 days.

The Association of Judges finds Janša's comment about the court "unacceptably scornful toward the court's judges and the court as the basic institution of the rule of law".

They say that each party in procedure is guaranteed equal protection of their rights under the constitution and laws, including through legal remedies in civilian procedures.

The rule of law must be based on mutual cooperation, respect and trust in institutions, the release reads, adding that the highest state officials should set an example and refrain from attempts to discredit courts as a cornerstone of the rule of law.

The Supreme Court also noted in a press release that "judges and courts in Slovenia are obliged to administer justice in accordance with the constitution and applicable law, and all parties in court proceedings have equal legal means to enforce their rights."

"The inappropriate attitude of some representatives of the executive towards the judiciary, which is often manifested in public labelling, belittling or even insulting of judges, is unacceptable, undignified and increasingly tiresome," it added.

In the court's view, the constant inappropriate comments come from those who are "incapable of understanding the meaning of the judicial branch of power, even though the principle of separation of powers is one of the key principles in any democratic state".

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