Up to 88 percent of Slovak citizens consider the Slovak courts to be corrupt. Only 33 percent of the citizens trust the Slovak justice system. That is why we have been monitoring the conditions in the Slovak courts and public prosecution office. We believe that by increasing the transparency, we can improve the Slovak judiciary.
Why is it a problem?
Until today, there has not been a single high-level politician convicted of corruption. Only less than 40% of prosecutions of corruption and tax offenses get to the court. Even in the cases of prosecution, the majority of the perpetrators are usually convicted for bribes of less than 20 euro. The indictments are usually assessed by prosecutors from unknown public prosecution offices. The large extent of politisation and inability to successfully prosecute political scandals remain the main problems of the public prosecutions. The acquaintances within the judiciary are still of an important influence when it comes to selection of new judges – in fact, every third new judge has a family member inside of the justice system. Having functional courts and prosecution is the first step to prosecuting the corruption and other serious crimes. Ineffective justice system is a fundamental obstacle for the economic development of the country.
We systematically monitor the selection procedures in the courts and the public prosecution office. We analyse the decision making of the courts connected to the prosecution of corruption and other crimes that could be connected to it.
We have created a list of suggestions concerning the selection procedures for assistants to the judges and the information which should be published voluntarily and presented it to the Supreme Court. At the same time, it is necessary to open the public prosecution office to public oversight, as currently the prosecution is a closed system, where the prosecutors are controlled only by other prosecutors.
We regularly publish all the court decisions and other information about the activities of the courts on the portal Otvorené Súdy. You can also find our evaluation of the activities of district court judges there. You can also find the work placements of the public prosecutors there. The citizens can also take part in this process. We have written many blogs about the selection procedures of judges, where we pointed out the family connections within the judiciary. We also prepared a map of the judges’ family connections.