President to challenge paragraph 363 after PG used it again

President to challenge paragraph 363 after PG used it again

Last weeks move of Slovak Prosecutor-General (PG) Maroš Žilinka to annul an investigator's decision to press charges of bribery against MP Martin Borguľa using the so called paragraph 363 of the Penal Code caused controversies. The use of the paragraph has sparked numerous heated debates in Slovakia, as it is the PG’s tool to stop investigation and there is no corrective tool in the Slovak legislation against it once 363 has been used.

Žilinka cited the failure to meet the conditions for pressing charges as the reason for his decision. Furthermore, he also annulled the Special Prosecutor's decision to reject Borgula’s complaint against the indictment.

Numerous politicians and public figures criticized the PG for the move, with acting Prime Minister Eduard Heger saying that the election of Žilinka to the post in 2020 was the biggest mistake of the government that he was a part of.

In her reaction, Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová is set to challenge the wording of 363 in the Constitutional Court. The head of the state aims to file a motion to launch proceedings regarding the paragraph's compliance with the Slovak Constitution and international conventions. According to Čaputová, the current wording and the powers that the prosecutor-general has on its basis interfere disproportionately with the independence of the judiciary but also don't contribute to building trust in the judiciary. The mere fact that such a serious tool, against which there is no means of remedy, and its use by the prosecutor-general arouses controversy in the whole society, was a sufficient reason for changing or clarifying the corresponding amendment of the Penal Code," said the President.

As the Denník N daily pointed, before being elected as the PG, Žilinka said that 363 is “just making mess at our office” and commented that the PG could express his opinion, however, cannot stop investigation - which is exactly what 363 does. Nevertheless, after he took up the post, the PG’s office used the paragraph to free of charges former PM Robert Fico, former Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, former Finance Minister Peter Kažimír, former head of Slovak Intelligence Agency Vladimír Pčolinský and controversial entrepreneurs such as Norbert Bödör former Police President Tibor Gašpar and even other people.

"I've never used the Paragraph 363 to help anyone get rid of their charges and most certainly not because those persons had clout," wrote Žilinka. He also added that he refuses to let the Prosecutor's Office get dragged into politics.

The acting government promised in its manifesto to narrow down the legal regulation of the 363 so that it corresponds to its original meaning, however, did not do so, mainly due to the disagreements from the Sme Rodina party, which nominated Žilinka to the post of the PG.

Source: TASR

Mojmir Prochazka, Photo: TASR

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