The fact that Slovenian courts do not operate independently has long been well-known to the Slovenian public even though regime media do not write about this much since their journalists often fail to do their job and instead act like socio-political workers who do not investigate and do not critically asses the work of politicians and judges but actually support the ruling apparatus with their silence. Nevertheless, we were somewhat surprised by the personal testimony of the former constitutional judge and now the supreme judge at the supreme court of the Republic of Slovenia Jan Zobec, who on Monday published an article on the legal portal IUS INFO. Zobec describes shocking details of the actions of the former president of the supreme court, Branko Masleša. Among other things, Masleša has surrounded himself with PR people that used to be journalists of the aforementioned regime media and were the first to attack certain judges that had not judged according to their expectations. One of them is Sven Berdon, who used to work at Dnevnik.
Judges are gentle and sensitive creatures, Jan Zobec writes in his blog. “Some of them especially when it comes to themselves. So much so that they threaten to implement disciplinary actions against colleagues who are critical of the sins of their guild and disturb the peace and comfort of ruling judiciary leaders and their squires – especially when they recognise their own actions in the publicly exposed wrongdoings,” he writes on IUS INFO. “It is interesting that the more authority an individual man of rank has in the judicial hierarchy, or is imagining he has, the more the area of his tolerance narrows when it comes to the critical views and positions expressed by his colleagues, which is contrary to expectations about the intellectual range of a nominal judiciary person in power,” Zobec writes about his colleagues though he does not wish to give any names at the beginning of his article. Of course, most of the criticism is directed at Branko Masleša.
According to the judge mentioned above, the average Slovenian citizen is naive enough to expect that the judicial hierarchy, which not only does not belong and should not belong to any political pole but actually fights against them when their members are attacked, will not tilt left or right. This means that the average Slovenian citizen expects that the so-called scale will always remain horizontal. But Zobec still points out that in regime media Slovenian judges are considered to be inherently good, unbiased, independent, and infallible. Zobec was also concerned about how the head of the supreme court of Slovenia was not bothered by this at the time and always kept silent. Even when he should not have. He only spoke out when courts were attacked by conservative media. “This did not bother the top of the judiciary. They just kept silent. Completely different from when judges were attacked by intimidators from the other gang. There was roaring and shouting then, and rightly so,” he remarks cynically.
As journalist of Dnevnik, Berdon operated as unofficial PR person of Branko Masleša
Sven Berdon, as chronicle editor at Dnevnik, repeatedly acted as protector of judges and in this role attacked certain media. The case of Reporter is especially well-known. At the time, Berdon was outraged because Reporter dared to criticise the work of the Ljubljana district judge Gorazd Fabjančič, who had acquitted Dragan Tošić and others in the “Balkanski bojevnik” case before the higher court overturned his judgement. Berdon was even convinced that it is not permitted to photograph judges at all, not even on the street, even though they are public officials that exercise judicial power. Back then many already believed that Berdon actually works as an unofficial PR person of the court.
Journalist Mitja Lomovšek linked Berdon to Baričevič affair
A while ago, the former journalist Mitja Lomovšek also wrote about the former Dnevnik scribbler Berdon: “Of course, with PR person you meant Sven Berdon, rapist of his dogs – mastiffs and bullmastiffs – or role model of Sašo Baričevič, who in 2011 did not miss any opportunity to attack Dragica Kotnik, who dared to investigate what had been happening in the garage at Oražnova. On 30 September 2014, he already published the contents of the joke of an indictment.”
On 21 June 2017, the local court in Ljubljana adopted the decision that the criminal proceedings under the case number III K 26388/2012 shall only be terminated for Dragica Kotnik but not for Mitja Lomovšek, and as a result Kotnik, Lomovšek, and the prosecutor Bogdan Matjašič from Krško appealed. The higher court has not yet considered these appeals, which is why the proceedings against Kotnik have not been formally concluded either. But this was still enough for Berdon to become a PR person at the supreme court of Slovenia.