Slovenia constitutionally reloaded, but still failing

von Matej Avbelj

Some time ago this blog has lent itself as a platform for an intense debate on a systemic rule of law and democracy defiance in several EU Member States, most notably in Hungary. In that context, I contributed a short post on what I then called the de facto failed Slovenian democracy. I described a judicial process against the leader of the opposition, who was accused and convicted with the force of res judicata exclusively on the basis of circumstantial evidence for having accepted a promise of an unknown award at a vaguely determined time, at an undetermined place and by an undetermined mode of communication to use his influence, then as a Prime Minister, to have a military contract awarded to the Finnish company Patria. The ruling was confirmed by the Supreme Court and then appealed to the Constitutional Court. Two days ago the latter quashed the entire process.

The Constitutional Court has thus compensated for its inertness a year ago, when it refused to accept the petitioner’s constitutional complaint before the exhaustion of all other legal remedies, which is possible if an alleged violation is sufficiently grave. Back then the Court refused to recognize such gravity, despite the awareness that the petitioner in his role of a leader of the opposition had to go to jail three weeks before the general parliamentary election. However, what was not grave enough a year ago to merit the constitutional review, now sufficed for the invalidation of the entire process. The fact that the petitioner and others involved in the trial had to spent a few months in an unconstitutional incarceration appears not to have touched neither hearts nor minds of the Slovenian judges.

Be that as it may, this time around the Constitutional Court has engaged in a substantive review of the constitutional complaint and has identified two violations of the Slovenian constitution ...

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