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Decoding the Controversy Surrounding Slovakia's Paragraph 363

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Wojciech Zylm
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Paragraph 363: A Tool for Justice or a Shield for the Guilty?

The Slovakian criminal justice system is currently under the scanner, thanks to a controversial piece of legislation, paragraph 363 of the Criminal Code. This law, originally intended to halt criminal proceedings when there is no doubt about the innocence of the accused or when the act does not constitute a criminal offense, is now at the center of a maelstrom of debate. This controversy has been ignited by the actions of Juraj Seliga, a member of the "For the People" party, who has filed a criminal complaint alleging distortion of justice.

Controversial Cases Spark Concern

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The catalyst for Seliga's complaint and the ensuing scrutiny of paragraph 363 are two high-profile cases. The first involves Marian K., a businessman with a controversial reputation, accused of tax evasion and alleged VAT fraud. The second case is centered on the former police president, Tibor Gaspar, who was accused of hindering the duties of a public official. In both cases, despite substantial evidence suggesting possible criminal activity, the proceedings were halted using paragraph 363. The Specialized Criminal Court, in both instances, ruled that the acts in question did not constitute a crime.

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Questioning the Application of Paragraph 363

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Seliga's concern lies in what he perceives as the misuse of paragraph 363. He argues that the paragraph is being used to stop investigations even when there is substantial evidence, contrary to the legislation's original intent. According to Seliga, the application of the paragraph should require unequivocal innocence or the clear non-criminal nature of the act. However, in the cases of Marian K. and Tibor Gaspar, Seliga posits that the evidence pointed towards potential criminal activity.

The Impact on Public Trust and the Call for Review

The handling of these cases and the perceived misuse of paragraph 363 have far-reaching implications, especially concerning public faith in the justice system. Seliga argues that the misuse of this legislation erodes the public's trust in the judicial process, creating a perception of bias and potential corruption. To combat this, Seliga has called for the legislation's use to be audited by the General Prosecutor's Office. He has also petitioned the Slovak Constitutional Court to assess the constitutionality of paragraph 363, asserting that the interpretation of the law by the Specialized Criminal Court contradicts the principles of a democratic state governed by the rule of law.

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A Wake-Up Call for Justice

In essence, Seliga's criminal complaint has triggered a critical conversation about the application of paragraph 363 of the Criminal Code in Slovakia. His concerns highlight the potential for misuse of this legislation to halt proceedings in high-profile cases, even when there is substantial evidence suggesting criminality. This call for a review of the usage and constitutionality of the paragraph aims to restore public trust in the justice system and ensure that justice is served impartially, regardless of the individuals involved.

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