Updating of the Public Defender of Rights’ legal status in the Slovak Republic

The National Council of the Slovak Republic adopted on the 3rd February 2006 the proposals of the Committee of Human Rights, Nationalities and Role of the Women for the publication of the constitutional law, according to which the Constitution of the Slovak Republic No. 460/1992 Coll. in latter amendments is changing and complementing and for the publication of law, according to which the Law No. 564/2001 Coll. on the Public Defender of Rights in latter amendments is changing and complementing and about the modification and replenishment of some further acts which are amending the legal status of the Public Defender of Rights in the Slovak Republic.

The recommendation to elaborate a proposal for the updating of the Public Defender of Rights’ legal status was a part of the midyear report which has been submitted by the Public Defender of Rights’ own initiative to the Committee of  the National Council of the Slovak Republic for Human Rights, Nationalities and Role of the Women even in 2004. The Committee for Human Rights, Nationalities and Role of the Women became the submitter of the updating proposal of the Constitution of the SR and the Act on the Public Defender of Rights. The mentioned initiative of the Committee can be clearly considered as the climax of a very good co-operation of the Committee and the Public Defender of Rights by the defending of rights and freedoms of the natural persons and legal entities in the Slovak Republic.

By the elaboration of the amendment proposal of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic and of the Act on the Public Defender of Rights has been preceded with the special professional attention with the main aim to ensure a more operative and effective protection of rights and freedoms of natural and legal entities. The basis for the mentioned facts created particularly the practical application of the legal modification, examination of the motions of the natural and legal entities, acting from ones own initiative, and last but not least experiences and conclusions from the ombudsman meetings, in particular ombudsmen of the V4 countries, the International charter of the ombudsmen effectiveness, Constitution of the European Union, international contracts and agreements modifying the protection of human rights and basic freedoms, which have been put to the analysis with the simultaneous respect of the valid legal modification philosophy preservation.

To the changes approved by the National Council of the Slovak Republic, there belong in particular the replenishment of the Public Defender of Rights among the persons entitled to submit a proposal for the beginning of the pursuance to the constitutional court in the case of the detection of facts indicating that the enforcing of legal rules can threaten the human rights and basic freedoms, the possibility of the Public Defender of Rights to participate on the assertion of the responsibility of the persons working in public administration bodies, if these persons violated the basic rights or freedom of the natural or legal entities, the duty of all public administration bodies to  provide the needed assistance to the Public Defender of Rights, the term of 20 days for the fulfilment of the duties of the public administration bodies to provide information, explanations and standpoints to the factual and legal questions for the Public Defender of Rights and to  fulfil further legal duties, because just from the promptness of the provision of the needed documents depends one of the preferred aims, and that is the service for citizen without due delays (the Public Defender of Rights has the experience when the ministry sent it's standpoint only after a year and a half and that after several demands), the duty of the public administration bodies to provide the needed files and documents, as well as explanation to  the matter also in the case when a special regulation restricts the right to  look into the documents only for a defined authority sphere, announcing his standpoint directly to the National Council of the Slovak Republic or to the authority commissioned by the National Council of the Slovak Republic in cases, when he considers the measures concerning the case adopted by a superordinate authority or by the government of the Slovak Republic as insufficient, because the Public Defender of Rights in the Slovak Republic is a type of a parliamentary ombudsman. To the necessities of the motion we can complement the determination of the public administration bodies against which is the motion directing and in cases when it does not concern the person who submitted this motion it is necessary to hand in a written approval of the aggrieved person or a written full power in the matter from the reason of the protection and processing of personal data. Further proposals are dealing in particular with the procedural acting.

Among the originally proposed changes, which the National Council of the Slovak Republic has not adopted, belong the extension of the Public Defender of Rights’ field of  activity for all rights and freedoms of natural and legal entities and hereby approaching to the protection with the whole “maladministration” (wrong administration) similarly as in the other European Union countries, legal education as a condition for the election of the Public Defender of  Rights and returning of an independent chapter in the state budget, which could be considered as a confirmation of the constitution of the given independence of the Public Defender of Rights.

The adopted changes will come into force from the 1st April 2006, after the Act will be signed by the President of the Slovak Republic.