Former Deputy Justice Minister allegedly put pressure on judges

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Former Deputy Justice Minister allegedly put pressure on judges

04. 10. 2019 14:29

"Tell her to do what she has to do, or else she'll end up like Kuciak" - is one of the messages allegedly exchanged between the former deputy Justice Minister Monika Jankovská and Marián Kočner, who is under investigation for ordering journalist Ján Kuciak's murder. The story about their messages, which was published by the daily Denník N on Thursday, also indicates that while Monika Jankovská held a position at the Justice Ministry, she was influencing judges in favor of Kočner in the case of the TV Markíza promissory notes. While Jankovská stated that the leaked communication between her and currently imprisoned Kočner is "a great delusion" and "forgery", a number of politicians, even those from her own Smer SD party are voicing their criticism.

"Given the gradually surfacing information, it is right that Ms. Jankovská is no longer serving as a deputy minister. Now, further steps are up to the police and the Prosecutor's Office that have free hands to act as they should," Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini announced following the published information. Jankovská, however, has not yet been charged in this matter. "The investigator is acting in this matter, therefore, we will not comment on it in order not to thwart or complicate the investigation," explained the spokesperson for the Special Prosecutor's Office Jana Tökölyová. Also Justice Minister Gábor Gál said that Jankovská should be accused. "If it is true that these transcripts have been provided to the media from criminal files available to law enforcement authorities, the police should immediately press charges," Gál announced, adding that only after that can he act from his position.

At the beginning of September, Monika Jankovská stepped down from her post over the resulting scandal and returned to her previous position as a judge. Coalition as well as opposition politicians are urging the Justice Minister and Judicial Council to take action against Monika Jankovská. According to the junior governing Most-Híd party, until the court's final ruling is known, Monika Jankovská should not perform a judge's duties and should resign from the post of judge immediately. "As long as there is even a possibility of any court case being presided over by judge Jankovská or other judges, whose links to the mafia are not yet known, Slovakia cannot be considered to be a state that respects the rule of law," stated MP Alojz Baránik for the opposition Freedom and Solidarity party.

Meanwhile, Slovaks show the lowest amount of trust in the independence of their courts compared to the rest of the European Union. About 64 percent of Slovaks do not trust the courts, according to a survey conducted by the Focus agency this summer. Slovaks consider corruption to be the biggest problem of the country's justice system.

Zuzana Botiková, Photo: TASR

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