President of the Republic, Borut Pahor, has decided to appoint Dr Marko Ilešič for the position of judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union. The candidate must also be supported by the Judicial Council. It is interesting, however, in what way they chose their favourite to win. Head of the Judicial Council, Dr Erik Keršecan, did not withdraw from the decision-making process, despite the fact that he has previously visited Ilešič in Luxembourg and was often in direct, private contact with him.
In November of last year already, the Judicial Council expressed its support for Marko Ilešič as the most suitable candidate for the position of judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg, STA reports. According to them, he is “one of the most eminent legal experts who has been and still is involved in the wider international and domestic legal environment, with rich academic (also managerial) experience and many years of cooperation in formulating answers to various difficult legal questions from the theoretical and practical point of view.”
The process of nominating a candidate to the Court of Justice of the EU has been going on for almost a year now. Following the publication of a vacancy notice on the 26th of June last year, eight candidates applied for the election to the position at the European Court of Justice in July last year. The President of the Republic sent the list of the mentioned candidates to the Government and the Judicial Council in order to also get their opinion. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia shared its opinion in April this year that seven of the registered candidates meet the formal conditions for performing this function (one less than the original number of applicants because one of the candidates withdrew her application).
On Friday, President Pahor submitted a proposal to the National Assembly to appoint Ilešič as a candidate for the position of a judge at the Court of Justice of the EU. He decided for him after assessing the candidacies, obtaining opinions and consulting with the leaders of the parliamentary groups in the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. He described Ilešič as “a distinguished long-time judge of the Court of Justice of the EU and a former president of the chambers of this court.”
The former practice of interviews has also been changed
However, at this point, it is undoubtedly very interesting that the Head of the Judicial Council Erik Kerševan did not withdraw from the proceedings in which the Council decided to give a positive opinion on judge Ilešič, despite the fact that Kerševan previously visited him in Luxembourg and was also in direct contact with him on several occasions, without explaining why these visits were paid for (dinners, transport, etc.), as the media reported. Former president of the DeSUS party, Aleksandra Pivec, for example, had to resign for much less.
And in this whole matter, it is also very interesting that the current practice of interviews before the Judicial Council for the candidates for the position at the Court of Justice of the EU was also changed in the case of Judge Ilešič, and suddenly, the interviews with the candidates were no longer being conducted (not even online). They also deviated from the practice of gender equality, and, for example, Dr Verica Trstenjak was not proposed with prof. Ilešič. It would be logical for the Judicial Council to propose both Ilešič and Trstenjak.
This appointment was thus more than obviously conducted in a non-transparent, we could even say in a corrupt way, but still, nothing happened. Such a practice can only be understood as a mockery of the candidates who applied for the position. At the Judicial Council, they do not even withdraw from the procedures in the event of a conflict of interest, and nor are they ashamed of nepotism. If the procedures in our country continue in this way, Slovenia will never change.
Judicial Council is a symptom of what is wrong in Slovenia
After Ilešič’s presentation, it is time for a decision of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, where the candidate will have to receive the support of a majority of all deputies, so at least 46 votes. If he succeeds, he will then be examined by Committee 255, which is responsible for assessing the suitability of candidates for office at the Court of Justice of the EU.
The Judicial Council and its practice is a symptom of what is wrong in Slovenia. Especially because the Judicial Council wants to appoint the judges by itself in the future and eliminate the parliament from the process entirely. Neighbouring Croatia, for example, has done so, and the negative consequences of such a system are already being shown, as the judiciary has become a state within a state, which is completely unacceptable.