Judges’ association protests after Janša accuses court of bias

Ljubljana – The Slovenian Association of Judges has expressed protest after Prime Minister Janez Janša accused the court that ordered him to pay damages in a defamation suit brought by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) of political bias.

“This is the practice of the Velenje court, which is packed with a cronyist assortment of members or supporters of the Social Democrats and which hands out judgements without hearings and without affording the option of defence,” Janša stated yesterday.

This was after the Velenje Local Court upheld the party’s EUR 10,000 damages claim against him for claiming the party was headquartered in a “stolen Jewish villa”. In a default judgement issued because Janša failed to pick up court mail and respond to the lawsuit, the court also ordered Janša to apologise for the claim on Twitter within 15 days.

The Association of Judges finds Janša’s comment about the court “unacceptably scornful toward the court’s judges and the court as the basic institution of the rule of law”.

They say that each party in procedure is guaranteed equal protection of their rights under the constitution and laws, including through legal remedies in civilian procedures.

The rule of law must be based on mutual cooperation, respect and trust in institutions, the release reads, adding that the highest state officials should set an example and refrain from attempts to discredit courts as a cornerstone of the rule of law.