Slovenia: Kodrič case rekindles conversation around human rights

Slovenia: Kodrič case rekindles conversation around human rights

Amid growing criticism by EU institutions facing the Slovenian government and its head Janez Janša over alleged violations of basic human rights such as the right to freedom of expression, of gathering and especially freedom of media, new problems are appearing on the horizon.

According to reports by Slovenian media, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has received an application against Slovenia over an alleged violation of the right to a fair hearing. The case concerns Constitutional Court judge Rok Čeferin’s failure to exclude himself from a case, the STA has learnt from the State Attorney’s Office.

The State Attorney’s Office said it had received the Kodrič vs. Slovenia application from the EHCR two weeks ago, but could not reveal any other details.

However, the STA has learnt from an unofficial source that the ECHR has proposed that Slovenia reach a damage settlement with the plaintiff.

The case is related to the Slovenian Bar Association’s rejection of Peter Kodrič’s application to be licenced as a lawyer in 2014.

Kodrič turned to the Administrative Court and the Supreme Court, with both rejecting his appeal. Lastly, he appealed to the Constitutional Court, which rejected his petition in November 2019.

However, it was at the end of last year that Čeferin notified his fellow Constitutional Court judges that he had unintentionally failed to exclude himself from the Kodrič case.

He should have recused himself given thagt he was a member of the Bar’s board that decided on the Kodrič application in 2014.

While Kodrič took the matter to the ECHR, the Constitutional Court said last month it would now process his petition once again without Čeferin involved.

The Constitutional Court also stated it had meanwhile overhauled its internal oversight procedures to prevent mistakes related to judicial recusal. /ibna