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President of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic, Daniela Švecová, met with Chargé d´Affaires of Canada in Slovakia, Mr. John von Kaufmann, who took the office in September 2016. It was his first visit at the Supreme Court.
The aim of the meeting was to establish contacts between the Office of the Embassy of Canada in Bratislava and the Supreme Court of Slovakia, as well as to discuss the state of the fight against corruption in the Slovak Republic. John von Kaufmann emphasized that Canada, whose priority is to help Slovakia suppress extremist tendencies in society, sees an unsatisfactory state of trust of the society in Slovak judiciary as one of the engines of rising extremism. He noted that one way of combating extremism is to effectively punish corruption. He also suggested that in the interest of increasing commercial relations, it is desirable to shorten the duration of settling commercial disputes.
Ms. Daniela Švecová confirmed, that the corruption-related legislation in Slovakia is in order and we have enough legal tools to address corruption, however, there is also the problem that only few cases of corruption are being reported. In addition, she explained the scope of the Supreme Court´s competencies. The Court has no influence over corruption cases when they are reported to lower instances and cannot act initiativelly based on suspicion but can only accommodate requests that are passed on to it. She emphasized that the statistics show there are results and many people are being sentenced for corruption, however the confidence of the people in the judiciary is waning because the proceedings take too long. The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic strives for the quickest decision making, which requires a higher number of assistants to judges (following the example of the Czech Republic: three assistants per judge).
John von Kaufmann was impressed to hear how many cases the Slovak Supreme Court has to deal with. He encouraged further efforts to publicize the work of the Court in order to strengthen public confidence in the judiciary.
President of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic has expressed interest in communicating with the Supreme Court of Canada, welcoming cooperation at any level. Together, they agreed to work on facilitating communication with the representatives of the Canadian judiciary.