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Monday, August 8, 2022

Why are they joking at the Supreme Court, saying that there is no legal basis for checking Masleša’s qualifications?

By: Sara Bertoncelj / Nova24tv

“In doubt, an employer has not only the right but also the duty to check whether the employee meets the conditions for work at all,” said Dr Matej Lahovnik and remarked that the Supreme Court is obviously afraid of the truth and that they are taking everyone for a fool when they explain that there is no legal basis to check whether Branko Masleša has the appropriate bar exam, which is a condition for being able to judge. His words were also confirmed by Dr Miha Pogačnik, who emphasised that personnel records and papers belong to the Judicial Administration headed by the Secretary General of the Supreme Court; and the Ministry of Justice has a service for supervising the operations of courts, which has the authority to supervise the judicial administration. “It is good for the justice, the people, and the international reputation of the country that any doubts are resolved as soon as possible,” he added. “When people without qualifications and integrity are tried in the courts, comparable data for the Slovenian judiciary at the European Court of Human Rights are as follows,” commented Prime Minister Janez Janša yesterday, who illustrated his words with a table – namely, the table shows that Slovenia is ranked at the very top in terms of the share of judgments with at least one human rights violation.

According to yesterday’s excuses of the President of the Supreme Court Damijan Florjančič, claiming that they do not have the competence or legal basis to verify the fulfilment of the conditions for taking office, the lawyer Dr Miha Pogačnik emphasised that personnel records and papers belong to the Judicial Administration (Articles 60 et seq. The Courts Act), which is headed by the Secretary General of the Supreme Court (Article 61a). The Ministry of Justice has a service for supervising the operations of courts, which has the competence to supervise the judicial administration (Article 65). Asked whether there would be control, he said he did not know, but it would be good for the country’s justice, people, and international reputation to remove any doubts as soon as possible. “However, it seems that in this case the question “where is the minister,” is slowly and persistently being added to the question “where is the seal?”, which can be legally resolved,” he added. As we have already mentioned, Minister Marjan Dikaučič was present at the emergency session of the Justice Committee – which was mainly devoted to topics related to Judge Branko Masleša and his education, and that was all – he did not even comment on the matter.

Siol also did not get answers to their questions. The Supreme Court rejected their request to send them the approval of the Republic Secretariat for Justice and the Organisation of the Administration, which Masleša had obtained to take the bar exam in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “The court does not have a demanding document, so the applicant’s request had to be rejected, as the conditions from Article 4 of the ZDIJZ were not met, because the required information does not exist in court in material form,” the Supreme Court replied. There is really no luck with documentation that would clarify anything about Masleša’s qualifications. In 2019, the Ministry of Justice wrote that there is no legal basis in Slovenian regulations for the recognition of the state bar exam in Slovenia, passed in another country. When the Law on State Examination came into force in 1994, the transitional provision stipulated: “An examination in accordance with the provisions of this Act shall be equated with a bar examination and with which examinations shall be equated in accordance with the regulations in force so far.” They also wrote that the documentation on how the fulfilment of the conditions under the ZSS was verified in a concrete case when appointing him to a permanent mandate in 1994 was sent to the Judicial Council in accordance with the provisions of the then valid ZSS – which, however, informed us that this documentation was not in their archives.

Is the information about the Supreme Court’s bar exam private?

The Supreme Court also explained to Siol: “As we have explained to you several times, such data are issues that do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia. It has also been explained to you that the set of data that the court as an employer or in the case of a judge, the body in which he or she performs the judicial function collects, processes, and mediates is legally restricted. The legislation does not provide for the collection or transmission of data related to the private area of employees. Only the person concerned can answer such questions.”

The Judicial Council did not find any information about the judge in the archives

The journalists wanted to explain why Masleša needed the approval of the secretariat to take the bar exam – this is what the judge himself said when explaining how his internship and bar exam went. Everything he said is said to be evident from the evidence – which he did not show but is “carefully guarding”. If the Supreme Court does not have these documents, it would of course be right to clarify where the documents are supposed to be located. But the Judicial Council is probably not the right address, although such an answer could be expected. Namely, Vladimir Horvat pointed out at the emergency session for justice that the Judicial Council was looking for certain information about Masleša and Judge Jasminka Jaša Trklja, but they did not find any information in the archives – Horvat does not know who has this information. “This remains unresolved,” he said, adding that the Council would continue to address this issue at a forthcoming meeting.

Did the Internal Audit Service of the University of Sarajevo receive an application for a diploma from the Faculty of Law no. 3227, which contains typographic analysis?

Journalist Luka Perš has also been working on Branko Masleša’s diploma for some time now – which we believe he has, but it is quite unusual that three versions of it have already appeared. For this reason, too, he turned to the University of Sarajevo with some questions, including whether the stamp on his third degree was credible. The blind stamp on the (supposedly) original diploma is not supposed to be the letter Z, but the inverted number 2. The stamp also does not have a visible star or university year. Experts pointed out that during the SFRY the seal contained the inscription of the faculty in Latin and the Latin name Univerzitas Sarajevo, including the year. Perš is also suspicious of the inscription Sarajevo and the words written on the date.

In the copies of the diplomas of the Faculty of Law in Sarajevo from 1974, 1977 and 1978, it was written “In Sarajevo”, and then the date was written in words. The same was observed with the diploma of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Sarajevo from 1973 and the diploma from 1985, which also read “In Sarajevo”. The journalist of the Prava.si media was therefore interested in whether in the time of the SFRY there was a note “In Sarajevo” on all diplomas of the then faculties in Sarajevo and whether the date was written in numbers; whether during the SFRY there was a uniform stamp for all diplomas of all faculties of the University of Sarajevo; which stamp was used for the Faculty of Law in Sarajevo in the period 1973-1980; whether the seals contained a star or faculty year; whether it is true that their internal audit service received an application for a degree from the Faculty of Law no. 3227, containing typographic analysis; whether the internal audit service has initiated appropriate procedures, and if so, which and what are the results of previous research and what has already been verified. It will be interesting to see what the University will answer – if anything.

Perš has already mentioned several times that Masleša belongs to the influential wing of justice from the Coast, just like his boss Florjančič. Both started their careers in Koper like many other supreme judges. The two supreme judges became in tandem, and like Florjančič, Masleša was also the president of the Supreme Court. The influential Koper branch of justice included Gregor and Jožica Velkavrh, Karel and Milan Štrukelj, Janez Brank, Nataša Butina Mrakić, Majda Žužek, Boris Sušec, Jana Petrič, Kristina and Darja Ožbolt, Francka Strmole Hlastec, Boris Strohsack, Danijel and Janez Starman, Bogomir Horvat, Vitomir Bohinec, Darja Srabotič, and Samanta Nusdorfer.

From forgery of official documents to illegal, biased, and unfair trials and false impersonation of an official

Active citizen Vili Kovačič and former journalist Mitja Lomovšek have filed a criminal complaint against Masleša, accusing him of several criminal offenses, from falsifying official documents to illegal, biased, and unfair trials and falsely posing as an official. Unfortunately, the matter has come so far that only law enforcement can resolve it. We can only hope that the Director General of the Police, Dr Anton Olaj and the head of the Ljubljana prosecutor’s office Katarina Bergant will take care of a comprehensive and professional investigation and give the appropriate conclusions, the journalist pointed out. Yesterday, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs also warned that forgery of documents was a criminal offense. “After everything we have seen in recent weeks, it is obvious that the judiciary alone is not able to unequivocally confirm the authenticity of some documents and certificates. It is time for the police to check the suspicions of forged documents and finally disprove them or write a criminal complaint,” he said.

Before the ECHR is the Constitutional Court

In the end, however, there remains perhaps the most effective option for the case to go to ECHR – one of those tried by Masleša could file it there. Namely, the judgment could be challenged on the grounds that it was judged by a judge who does not have the appropriate education. However, the appellant must first avail himself of all domestic remedies, which means that the appeal must first be lodged with the Constitutional Court. According to the convention, the state must first be able to remedy the violation itself.

Slovenia is ranked at the very top in terms of the share of judgments with at least one human rights violation

“When people without qualifications and integrity are tried in the courts, comparable data for the Slovenian judiciary at the European Court of Human Rights are as follows,” commented Prime Minister Janez Janša yesterday, who illustrated his words with a table. Slovenia is ranked at the very top in terms of the share of judgments with at least one human rights violation. Figures show that the share of non-infringement judgments is only 8.31 percent. The Prime Minister also commented on Florjančič’s statement, asking whether it is so difficult to verify Masleša’s diploma and bar exam and write that both documents are authentic and legal. “Obviously everything is wrong,” he remarked.

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