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Sunday, October 2, 2022

For whom does the bell tolls? It tolls for thee!

By: Petra Janša

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” These are the words originally contributed to the world cultural heritage by the English metaphysical poet John Donne in Meditation XVII. collections Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions.

These words came to my mind when I recently listened to a conversation with Supreme Court Judges Barbara Zobec and Jan Zobec on Radio Ognjišče, where, among other things, they talked about the problem that arose in connection with the initiation of an investigation against one of the Ljubljana mayor’s sons for a crime of tax evasion and two mutually exclusive decisions. This issue is also related to the illegal and unconstitutional transfer of Judge Ana Testen from the District Court in Ljubljana to the District Court in Kamnik and to the confiscation of all cases resolved by this judge. “In my opinion, this is an unprecedented scandal in the history of the Slovenian judiciary. As far as I remember, even during communism in Slovenia, it did not happen that a matter on which the senate had already made a decision after the senate members signed the consultative minutes, was assigned to a completely different senate, which would then take a diametrically opposite decision from the original. That this is happening in a democratic Slovenia, which is supposed to be committed to the rule of law, is something inconceivable,” said Barbara Zobec. “The judiciary is as independent as individual judges are independent,” she said, and warned: “If you want to know who controls the judiciary in Slovenia, just look at who, in addition to the leadership structure of the judiciary, is the most ardent advocate of the institutional independence of the judiciary and the absence of any mechanisms, brakes, and balances.” The status quo in the judiciary, however, calls for you to read the introduction again.

“The judiciary is as independent as individual judges are independent,” emphasised Barbara Zobec.

Petra Janša is a journalist for Demokracija.

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