Court rejects proposal to stay govt’s decision not to appoint EDPs

Ljubljana – The Ljubljana Administrative Court has rejected a request from prosecutors Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir to stay the government’s May decision not to get formally acquainted with their appointment as Slovenia’s European delegated prosecutors (EDPs), saying that the request has not been sufficiently reasoned.

The government getting acquainted with the candidates is the last prerequisite before the country sends their names to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

In the decision, made on Thursday, the court says that the appellants have not demonstrated the need to issue a temporary injunction in this case, shows Friday’s press release from the court.

Frank Eler and Oštir, who had been put forward by the Justice Ministry after being vetted by the Prosecution Council, filed a repeated suit against the government’s decision last week.

The court rejected the first suit over a month ago arguing it had been filed prematurely, that is before the prosecutors had received the government’s decision on their non-appointment.

The Justice Ministry has since published a new call for applications, but the two are the only ones who have applied to it.

The Administrative Court said today that the appellants should have stated in the request the circumstances and facts that would result in irreparable damage to them.

They have failed to do so, as they themselves claimed in the explanatory note that the new call for applications for EDPs from the beginning of July and subsequent calls for applications would not succeed, the court said.

The two prosecutors referred to the opinion of the Prosecution Council that the new call for applications by the Justice Ministry is unlawful and that the council would not vet the candidates from it.

The council said that if it made a new decision to select candidates, it would “follow the arbitrary interpretation of regulations by the government and confirm its unlawful decision”.

According to the Administrative Court, this means that a temporary injunction is not necessary.

The decision is not final, as appeal is possible at the Supreme Court, the court said, noting that it would treat the lawsuit as an absolute priority.

As for the lawsuit, the court said that the government’s decision could be defined as an administrative act that could be challenged in an administrative dispute, adding that the appellants had filed a legitimate and timely lawsuit.

Frank Eler and Oštir said in their response for the STA that it was an expected decision as they were the only candidates that had applied for the new call for applications.

They meanwhile noted that the court had clearly agreed with them that the government’s decision was an administrative act, meaning that the conditions have been met for the court to decide whether the decision was lawful.

The Justice Ministry told the STA that it would continue with the procedure once the Administrative Court made a final decision, adding that Minister Marjan Dikaučič will respect the court’s decision.

As part of the first call, the Prosecution Council proposed only two candidates for the two posts, while the government maintains it should have proposed three candidates for each post, or a total of six, for the government to make its pick.

According to media reports, the two candidates are not to the liking of Prime Minister Janez Janša because they were involved in investigations into his assets in the past.

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office was launched on 1 July to investigate potential wrongdoing or fraud in spending EU funds. 22 countries are taking part in it.