Harabin, the mafioso-friendly justice minister

UPDATE - Harabin has ceased to be in this position of minister of justice, the new minister is a woman and a fairly normal choice.

Would you buy a used car from this man? Stefan Harabin defender of the Mafia
(in the photo he is reaching for his gun as part of a media management move...)

Would you buy a used car from this man? Stefan Harabin defender of the Mafia
Well fair is fair, when there are some disturbing developments in Bratislava in terms of corruption which is my major worry for the country we must point them out. The good news is that corruption usually is easily fixable afterwards and does not derail the direction the country has taken with EU accession.
Despite being very bad reputationally and in terms of the political climate, petty to medium strength corruption of jobs for the boys and dodgy contracts will not destroy Slovakia and some of them existed within the Dzurinda government too (Odious ANO party being a case in point). That does not mean to say its hermless or good...

The major representative of Vlado Meciar (populist and drunkard extraordindaire) in Fico's government is the justice minister Stefo Harabin. He is a rather odd figure, and certainly very pro-mafia. I suppose after Fico refused the Slovak Intelligence Services brief to Meciar and kept him personally out of government, he had to compromise somewhere. He gave the justice ministry to Meciar/Harabin and now these guys are getting rid of much of the good work done in this field from the previous government. Withstanding criticism and using it to improve one-self constructively is a sign of a mature person, Harabin clearly doesn't have that and he proceeded to act like a bull in a china shop inside the ministry so far.

I think Fico should not underestimate how much damage this is going to do to him politically, I obviously don't know the internals of the coalition negotiations, but he should have tried to fob Meciar off with an unimportant ministry like Agriculture or Defence or both. Justice is important in a country with a corruption problem.

Important Suggestion: the business world should provide employment to the unfairly dismissed justices, If you are an employer in Slovakia consider helping justice by employing one of these excellent judges as a lawyer or counsel.

Ľudovít Bradáč (Banská Bystrica)
Robert Urban (Žilina), both heads of regional courts,
and district court chief justices
Peter Hrnčiar (Žilina),
Milan Růžička (Veľký Krtíš)
and Peter Bebej (Dolný Kubín).

as a show of support for judges that try to clean up the murky world of politics. I am sure they are very capable lawyers and this would send a message that the Meciar style corruption is a thing of the past, and will not be tolerated.

this is just a battle lost and not the war. The big question remains as to how R. Fico feels himself about these developments... He has legal training himself so surely he knows exactly what is going on. If Fico resents these changes then sooner or later Meciar will lose the last strands of voter support and be consigned in the dustbin of history, lets hope he goes under 5% in the next election.

Here is an article about from the Slovak spectator. Meciar has become more corrupt with age not less... Presumably all his sponsors are now in the underworld. If this phenomenon is restricted to the justice ministry and for only 5 years, no lasting damage will be done, but i certainly don't like it one bit.

Harabin sacks critical justices
JUSTICE Minister Štefan Harabin, nominated to his post by the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), has started getting rid of critics in the judiciary, the Sme daily wrote.

Yesterday he recalled five heads of regional and district courts. All of them were considered to be fighters against corruption. They are pro-reform justices who in the past called on Harabin to leave his post while he was still the head of Slovakia's Supreme Court.

The recalled justices include Ľudovít Bradáč (Banská Bystrica) and Robert Urban (Žilina), both heads of regional courts, and district court chief justices Peter Hrnčiar (Žilina), Milan Růžička (Veľký Krtíš) and Peter Bebej (Dolný Kubín).

Harabin said via his press department that he made the personnel changes because the officials had not fulfilled their duties as chief justices. He would not specify the reasons for their recall, however.

[10/5/2006 12:01:07 PM]

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget the two judges from Bratislava he did yesterday: Darina Kuchtova and Gabriela Sobolovska (one was the head of the regional court and the other in Bratislava II district).

    By the way, I have a feeling that these people are still judges. Harabin only took their administrative positions so I'm not sure if they'll be available to work as legal counsels for a bit.