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The Depoliticised National Judicial Council Includes A Human Rights Violator

The judiciary is on the verge of being completely “depoliticised”, according to the mainstream media. On Thursday, MPs elected Samo Bardutzky, an associate professor at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana, Zvonko Fišer, a former Prosecutor-General, Vlasta Nussdorfer, a former Prosecutor, and Ivan Žaberl, the long-time Head of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Celje, as the new members of the National Prosecutorial Council, by a majority of votes in a secret ballot, according to reports by the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).

The Secretary-General of the Office of the President of the Republic, Uroš Krek, stressed that the selection of the candidates was made on the basis of their professionalism and credentials, their knowledge of the work of the public prosecutor’s office, as well as their various levels of previous work within the public prosecutor’s office, and their scientific and professional work in various fields of law.

“All the candidates on the list of candidates are legal experts, meet the eligibility requirements, and are suitable candidates to serve as members of the National Judicial Council,” Krek pointed out.

But on the other hand, “We in the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS) parliamentary group will not support the proposed candidates for the State Judicial Council,” said MP Alenka Jeraj on behalf of the SDS party’s parliamentary group. She said that the party was firmly opposed to the appointment of Fišer, who, according to her, had been found to be corrupt by four state bodies and was also accused of being a human rights violator. She also pointed out Fišer’s role “in the orchestrated Patria affair, which was eventually annulled by the Constitutional Court.”

Old friends of the transitional left

This selection is a major blow to the rule of law. In the 1970s and 1980s, Zvonko Fišer prosecuted, among others, two priests who erected a cross on the site of the communist massacre in Cerkno. These were priests Janez Lapajne and Stanislav Medvešček, who, in 1975, together with Amalia Jereb, commemorated the place of many people’s deaths with dignity. Their only fault was erecting a cross on the spot where the locals from Cerkno were killed.

We have previously already reported that Fišer was suspended by the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office in 2017 because he was also being prosecuted for alleged abuse of official position, which carries a prison sentence of up to one year. In 2012, shortly before the change of government, the outgoing Minister of Justice, Aleš Zalar, with the help of Fišer, appointed the then-State Secretary at Zalar’s ministry, Boštjan Škrlec, Director-General of the State Prosecutor’s Office. Two months later, Fišer was acquitted and was allowed to return to his post.

Former Human Rights Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer became known to the wider Slovenian public a few years ago for her investigations into allegations of forced return of foreigners and police officers’ handling of migrants during the migrant crisis.

And Bardutzky will be remembered for his involvement in suing Slovenia abroad over alleged breaches of democratic standards during the government of Janez Janša, joining the controversial “political journalist” Blaž Zgaga (a journalist who, thanks to his successful bashing of the Janša government, was lucky enough to then be able to pursue a career under the umbrella of the Social Democrats party – SD).

I. K.

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