Const. Court President Calls On Everyone to Respect Court Decisions

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“This is by no means the Constitutional Court’s defeat but it is in line with what the Constitution envisages and that is for the Constitutional Court to decide if a referendum question is in line with the Constitution. I call on everyone who advocates the rule of law to respect the court’s decisions. Referendum initiatives are legitimate and for signatures to be collected but the Constitution says that the Constitutional Court decides on constitutionality,” underscored Šeparović.

Šeparović said that it was only the Bridge that was trying to exert pressure through the media on this judicial institution and neither the ruling parties nor the opposition tried to pressurize the court. The court president underscored that pressure can never bring any results.

“The court delivered its ruling within the prescribed deadline of 30 days,” he added, in reference to the Bridge’s accusations that the court failed to hand down the rulings within the timeframes.

“The stories about politicking are old and always come to the fore when someone is not satisfied with a court decision,” he added.

Šeparović explained that the Bridge party did not tell citizens exactly what would happen if the referendum managed to amend the Constitution the way the party had requested.

“They probably went toward legitimate political objectives, but they went about it in the wrong way.” 

“They claimed that if the Constitution were to be amended the way they wanted then the parliament would have to decide by a two-third majority but they also kept the word that it ‘could.’ As such, nothing would have changed with the proposed constitutional amendment which in itself is not contrary to the Constitution but is contrary to the rule of law because you cannot tell citizens to go to a referendum and amend the Constitution, but there is no point to do so because the Sabor will not have to decide by a two-thirds majority,” said Šeparović.

Šeparović did not wish to speculate why the Bridge launched the referendum initiative and whether they had sought advice in that regard. “They probably had legitimate political objectives but went about it the wrong way,” he said.

Šeparović on plans for new law on abortion

Asked whether the right to abortion should be in the Constitution, Šeparović said that the Constitutional Court never gives its opinion in advance or whether something be inscribed in the law or the Constitution as that is a matter for the law-making authorities.

“The Constitution Court assessed that the existing law (on the termination of pregnancy) is in line with the Constitution. As such, there is no legal ban on pregnancy termination and there is no referendum on that issue. Whether the creator of the Constitution wishes to change something is a matter for the legislature and the Constitutional Court will not enter into that. We have said that a new law needs to be adopted, for preventative education to be regulated and for pregnancy termination to be an exception. The Sabor has not respected that and that isn’t just undermining the Constitutional Court’s authority but also infringe the rule of law,” said Šeparović.

“I expect the government to make a recommendation and for the Sabor to adopt a new law on pregnancy termination.”

He added that he still expects the Sabor to adopt a new law as ordered by the Constitutional Court and claimed that that was sending a bad message to citizens.

”If the Sabor does not respect the court’s decisions how can we expect citizens to. The Constitutional Court does not have the means to make the Sabor adopt a new law. The strongest weapon the court has is to abolish the existing law and determine a deadline when that law would no longer be in effect. In this case, we did not establish that the law was unconstitutional but we did order the Sabor to replace the outdated law which had several problems and for it to be amended and a new law to be passed,” said he.

For more, check out our politics section.


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