Prosecutors complain to CoE about PM’s “inadmissible pressure”

Ljubljana – The Slovenian Association of State Prosecutors has turned to the Council of Europe (CoE) to complain about “inadmissible pressure” that they say Prime Minister Janez Janša and media that he controls are exerting on prosecutors.

Ljubljana
Prime Minister Janez Janša in the National Assembly during a questions and answers session with the government.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

In a public letter to the CoE’s division for the independence and efficiency of justice circulated on Thursday, the association claims pressure directly by Janša as well as by Nova24TV.si and Demokracija.

It names as an example Janša’s letter to the Supreme State Prosecutor in July 2020 in which he alleged the prosecutor was “neglecting his legal role” and said he was responsible for “the escalation of incitement to violence”.

Janša has also used Twitter to criticise individual decisions by prosecutors, including a tweet in which he said it was “a disgrace and a crime” that a prosecutor had dropped a lawsuit against bankers.

Apart from that, the association implies the government has been holding up the appointment of state prosecutors, including two European delegated prosecutors.

It claims the government has rejected the Justice Ministry’s legislative amendment that would regulate the status of delegated prosecutors because the selected candidates had “fallen out of favour with the SDS and its president Janez Janša”.

The letter also points out that the prosecution had indicted Janša in 2020 for a criminal act prosecuted ex officio, which means he is currently subject to a criminal procedure.

“We are convinced that because of that, the prime minister should refrain from statements and actions that may constitute a form of inadmissible pressure on the state prosecution,” says the letter signed by the prosecutor Mirjam Kline, the chair of the association.

The letter comes after the opposition earlier this week urged Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlović to step down over her handling of the appointment of Slovenia’s two members of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Kozlovič said her ministry had asked for the proposal of two prosecutors to be put on the government’s agenda several times, but received no reply.

Holdups regarding the appointment of multiple state prosecutors as well as the delegated European prosecutors have been reported by several media.