It was on Sunday that ‘For Open Justice’ spokespersons Katarina Jovorcikova and Miroslav Gavalec made a statement about the head of the Judicial Council and the Supreme Court, Stefan Harabin, saying he “is contributing significantly to lowering the moral standing of the judiciary because he failed to refute his contacts and links with a person suspected of organised crime, and he has repeatedly lied and uttered unacceptable racist remarks in Parliament”. They didn’t have to wait too long for their reply, which came in a statement released by the Judicial Council’s Office a day later. The retort alleged that Katarina Javorcikova and Miroslav Gavalec represent the personification of nepotism, non-transparency and lobbying that borders on corruption. ‘Handbags at dawn’ are words that may spring to mind, and you can be sure that the war of words will continue because the ‘For Open Justice’ initiative seeks to overthrow those who it claims are ‘responsible for the lowest-ever level of trust shown by the public in the justice system,’ namely Mr Harabin along with other members of the Council and the chiefs of district courts.
For Open Justice also alleges that Harabin bullies judges who are deemed to be ‘inconvenient’ through various methods, including ruining their holiday plans, cutting bonuses, and unjustified transfers. The association also says these methods have been used by several regional and district court heads who are the reason behind “the thriving nepotism as far as the allocation of judicial posts is concerned”.
The Judicial Council’s response today also ‘invited’ Katarina Javorcikova-Stranska to let the public know why cases she presided over were also providing work for her husband, resulting in the couple earning to the tune of almost EUR 1.3million. “The Judicial Council hopes that if the proclaimed intent of the Interior Minister, Daniel Lipsic, to fight corruption is real, he will thoroughly investigate this case as well,” read the statement.
To top it off, the Council turned to judge Miroslav Gavalec, asking him to explain his lobbying practices, as he supposedly offered his allegiance to MPs of a certain political party, ex-Justice Ministry state secretary Daniel Hudak and others, as well as a cash-for-Judicial-Council-votes episode when standing for the post of judge.