Judge Masleša shows diploma, berates Council for falling for media allegations

Ljubljana – Supreme Court judge Branko Masleša has refuted the suggestions by some media that he may not have graduated in law or passed the bar exam in a detailed explanation in response to a call by the Judicial Council to do so, criticising the body for “falling for imputation in some media”, which he says is politically-motivated.

In the response Masleša says that some media have been misrepresenting the circumstances of his qualification for almost two months. “It all started with a fully unsubstantiated claim that I was not among the graduates of the Sarajevo Faculty of Law who completed their studies in 1975.”

He notes the ensuing allegation of his diploma disappearing in a fire and doubts about the Sarajevo faculty’s assurances that he did graduate there, as well as the remark that a copy of the diploma does not bear the watermark.

Masleša, who has showed his original diploma to the STA, says the watermark cannot be seen on the copy because the original carries a dry seal.

As further evidence Masleša offered the publication on the 70th anniversary of the Sarajevo Faculty of Law (1946-2016) where on page 231 he is listed as one of the graduates, and a report by the Sarajevo paper Dnevni Avaz of 10 January this year about an inspection carried by relevant authorities at the faculty ascertaining he did obtain his qualification in law there.

Some pro-government media also suggested that Masleša has not passed the bar exam and that his bar exam is not valid in Slovenia, where Masleša says he has proofs of his internship, full-time job, training at a Sarajevo prosecution office and court and his passing the bar exam in 1976.

“Before being elected judge I served as deputy municipal public prosecutor II in Sarajevo for two years and 10 months,” he said in reference to a two-year experience requirement for a judge as an alternative to one year internship under the Slovenian law of 1980. He also refuted the claim that his mandatory army service was included in the internship.

Masleša says he had already presented a copy of his diploma and bar exam certificates to the public before, which was why he was “shocked by the position of the Judicial Council, which has not afforded me the opportunity to state my case on the matter”.

He sees the “distortion of the facts and the ever new unsubstantiated accusations” as “an attempt at a pogrom against myself and, more broadly, in view of the positions I have served, as an attack with the clear aim of destabilising and subjugating the judiciary”.

He regrets the Council failing to take a stand on that, and feels it has overlooked “the far-reaching negative consequences of its message and thus in fact contributed itself to undermining my reputation as a judge and the reputation of the judiciary in general”.