On 24 October 2017, I wrote on this website that the former Slovenian minister of justice, Aleš Zalar, and the former first prosecutor, Zvonko Fišer, would be brought before a judge due to an abuse of office. I also wondered whether Zvonko Fišer had already been suspended. It turned out that the current first prosecutor, Drago Šketa, had in fact imposed a suspension on his predecessor, Zvonko Fišer. The reason for this is of course that Zvonko Fišer is officially suspected of committing the criminal offence of abuse of office, and that the proceedings before the court are already under way. You can read more about it HERE.
Well, according to my information, yesterday the Slovenian State Prosecutorial Council lifted Fišer’s suspension. They are reporting this on their website, but they will not officially publish the content until the decision is serviced to Fišer. What is the State Prosecutorial Council? The State Prosecutorial Council is composed of nine members. Four of them are elected by state prosecutors from their number, four by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, and one is appointed by the minister from among the prosecutors. They are appointed for a period of six years.
According to information from the website of the council, the members are: Hinko Jenull – prosecutor; Diana Šeruga Sagadin – prosecutor; Dr Matjaž Jager – professor at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana; Alenka Mežnar – retired prosecutor; Primož Suknaič – prosecutor; Dr Katja Šugman Stubbs – professor at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana; Jože Tratnik – former constitutional judge; Boštjan Valenčič – prosecutor. This is the information on the official website. I do not know who the ninth member is. A person that has often appeared in the National Assembly on behalf of the State Prosecutorial Council is Boris Ostruh – prosecutor.
If we add that this composition of the State Prosecutorial Council was appointed during Pahor’s government, when the prosecutorial organisation was led by Zvonko Fišer, everything becomes clear. The State Prosecutorial Council is composed of prosecutors that are subordinate to Zvonko Fišer and of his colleagues, who are either professors at the Faculty of Law or constitutional judges (he used to be a constitutional judge himself). And in this light, Tuesday’s decision of the State Prosecutorial Council to lift Zvonko Fišer’s suspension is completely logical and expected. Prosecutors loyal and subordinate to Zvonko Fišer and his current and former colleagues have saved his skin for the second time. When was the first time?
Already in spring of 2015, the Slovenian Democratic Party proposed that the State Prosecutorial Council should initiate procedures for the dismissal of Zvonko Fišer from the position of state prosecutor general for the very same reason – the suspicion of committing the criminal offence of abuse of office. At the time, the State Prosecutorial Council decided that Zvonko Fišer had acted illegally and incorrectly, but that this irregularity was not of the kind that would justify initiating dismissal procedures. You can read more about it HERE.
At least there is one thing we can learn from all this. When someone is telling you about independent and professional bodies (Slovenia has them in abundance), which the State Prosecutorial Council is by law, it usually involves the biggest abuses of law and the system itself. Most of these are of course not independent and professional bodies but usually the opposite. The State Prosecutorial Council is a typical example of this. In the case of Zvonko Fišer, the politically motivated left-wing structure of the State Prosecutorial Council opposed the current first prosecutor, Drago Šketa, who is apparently trying to at least bring the prosecutorial organisation closer to what it is supposed to be.