No more excuses: See why Slovenian justice minister Goran Klemenčič should leave his post

Goran Klemenčič (Foto: STA)

“The minister of justice grossly misled the public with claims concerning the notification or criminal charges that the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (CPC) forwarded to competent authorities in the case of the suspicion of money laundering in the NLB bank. In fact, the protocol was seriously violated. This was one of the key reasons why the investigation of this case ended unsuccessfully and later without a report to the prosecutor’s office, which is another story,” was the clear statement from SDS deputy Branko Grims, who at Wednesday’s press conference presented an interpellation on the work and responsibility of justice minister Goran Klemenčič.

“We’ve filed the interpellation due to the misleading of the public with regards to his actions at the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption in relation to the investigation of the €1 billion from Iran that were transferred through the NLB bank, giving rise to suspicions of money laundering, the financing of the proliferation – i.e. the purchasing – of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, and also due to other actions and positions of the minister while performing his political function that have resulted in the loss of trust in the position of minister and in judicial institutions,” is how Branko Grims presented the first reason for the interpellation.

The minister did not act, so he apparently agrees with the violations
Branko Grims went on, pointing out that the minister had refrained from acting when it came to appointments and staffing solutions. “It was perfectly clear that the constitutional court of the Republic of Slovenia had expressed its opinion on Mr Masleša with its verdict, but Mr Klemenčič failed to take any action. If you keep silent, you agree. This is an old judicial principle, and it’s impossible to understand this in any other way. This means that the minister of justice agreed, unacceptably, with a gross violation of human rights in the Slovenian judiciary,” Grims described additional reasons for the interpellation.

Negotiations in drafting laws completely alien to Klemenčič
“Furthermore, there is a problem that has kept appearing during his time as minister. He has a negative attitude towards other stakeholders when it comes to the coordination of laws and other decisions of the ministry concerning individuals and groups, e.g. the Bar Association of Slovenia, the Chamber of Notaries of Slovenia. In such cases, he has ignored evidence-based solutions. The best example of this were the changes in the Criminal Procedure Act, when he unreasonably insisted on solutions that were opposed by a large percentage of experts, but the minister did not want to compromise in any way. On the contrary. The amendment in the form proposed by the ministry was not supported by anyone, not even supreme court judges, and it was also opposed by respected professors of criminal law from all three faculties in Slovenia,” explained the SDS deputy.

Responsibility of minister objective and subjective
According to him, the responsibility of the minister of justice is both subjective and objective based on all these facts. “In accordance with article 114 of the constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, each minister is responsible for the work of his or her ministry. The subjective responsibility refers to the powers and tasks performed as minister and depends on the minister’s concrete decision to act or refrain from acting in accordance with his duty. As far as objective responsibility is concerned, let me quote the following: Objective responsibility is in fact indispensable in the political sphere because in complex organisational frameworks of political institutions and in the framework of the large political dynamic of modern society it is often impossible to adequately determine all causal links and degrees of potential wrongful conduct of different subjects in the framework of government bodies and exercise differentiated political responsibility. This is what Dr Miro Cerar wrote in the magazine Teorija in praksa,” said Branko Grims.

Given all the above controversial actions and statements from minister Goran Klemenčič, from whom the public justifiably expects that he will protect the reputation of the position he occupies within the scope of his responsibilities; that he will increase the trust of people in the judicial system and the functioning of state institutions in this area; that he will ensure the effectiveness of the judicial system and its functioning within the scope of his competences and according to European norms, consequently also ensuring the unimpeded exercising of the constitutional right to judicial protection and the enforcement of judgements within a reasonable period; it is clear that Goran Klemenčič is not suited to lead the Slovenian Ministry of Justice.

J. F.