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Zeman promotes establishment of supreme judicial council

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Brno/Prague, Nov 12 (CTK) – The establishment of a supreme judicial council might be a stabilising element of the Czech judiciary, especially with regard to the frequent changes in the post of justice minister, President Milos Zeman said after his visit to the supreme judicial institutions yesterday.
Zeman paid visits to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court and the Supreme State Attorney´s Office, which all have their seats in Brno.
He said he hoped that he would see the judicial council established.
Top Czech judicial officials have been calling for a new model of administration of the courts. The Justice Ministry repeatedly failed in its administrative role and the current model is obsolete, they say.
The supreme judicial council might take over some personnel powers, while the ministry would stay in charge of the financial administration and the construction investments, among others.
Helena Valkova (ANO), who was justice minister from January 2014 to March 2015, was in favour of the foundation of the council, but present Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) takes a reserved stance on the issue.
Pelikan said there was no guarantee that the supreme judicial council would administer the judiciary in a better way than the ministry.
He said the powers of the council and its role in the whole system would have to be discussed.
Some critics warned that the council might make the judiciary an isolated world of its own.
Zeman said lawmakers might propose the setting up of the judicial council even if such a plan was not presented by the justice minister.
He said the independence of the judiciary from the ministry had been recommended by former justice minister Otakar Motejl, who was the first Czech ombudsman.
Zeman also said he was considering nominating Supreme Administrative Court judge Zdenek Kuehn for a constitutional judge, but that he finally decided to nominate law professor Josef Fiala, also thanks to his knowledge of the insolvency legislation.
The upper house of parliament will decide whether Fiala will join the Constitutional Court (US) in December.
US chairman Pavel Rychetsky praised Kuehn as well. “I would welcome if he represented the Czech Republic in some international judicial institution,” he said.

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