A memory can also be a new beginning

On 14th April 2011 passed away Juraj Majchrák – former judge, Vice-President of the Supreme Court SR, a longtime President of the Association of Judges in Slovakia and signatory of the initiative For Open Judiciary (ZOJ). He achieved in his life what many of us only desire – natural reverence and respect at home and abroad. He connected the work of a judge with the efforts to transform Slovak judiciary into an independent and credible judiciary.

The way to achieve this goal is still very far. There is lack of distinctive personalities in the jury, such as was Juraj, who would be able to motivate and convince the judges that just as important as the performance of decision-making activities of a judge is also responsibility for the judiciary as a whole, for its professional and moral standard. When in the '90s Association of Judges in Slovakia fought for the adoption of legislation that would make the judiciary indeed the third power in the state, Juraj as its representative had always been associating the requirements with the responsibility of judges for the performance of the judiciary.

We have achieved a lot, something we have already lost. Our credibility in society is low enough and the answer why this is so are different between the judges themselves. When we began to fight for the new face of justice in the '90s, most of the judges were as on the same ship. We thought that we are on one side of the barricades against the executive branch, which has no interest in strengthening our position and powers. However, in parallel with the way we seemed to succeed to achieve the status of judges, which e.g. the judges Czech Republic were jealous of, the process of internal decay of our apparent unity started. Although judges seized, among other things, leading positions in the Ministry of Justice and the Judicial Council, it did not lead to the strengthening of our position and respect in society. The result is rather the opposite.

Juraj liked to use one unnamed author's statement "There is not enough darkness to put out the light even from the smallest candle." There's a profound truth. The problems will not go away if we do not speak about them loud. And if we do not start to solve by ourselves the problems that most people can see, someone else will have to deal with them for us. And sooner or later, the will issue us a bill...

In a newspaper interview in 2004, Juraj said "Evil is allowed by decent people who are silent." He knew what he was talking about and the judges knew it as well. The situation has not changed much since then. Most decent judges are still quiet, even if there is the need to speak.

Judge Juraj Majchrák will not come between us anymore. He will not speak in the way typical for him, when all of a sudden everything seems clear and convincing and proposed solutions acceptable. His legacy, however, remained here and it is important to remember.

So that we do not remain those decent judges thank to whom the things we do not agree with can happen in judiciary.


14th April 2013


JUDr. Juraj Babjak

Vice-President ZOJ 

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Comments (3)

  • Guest (chengfu)

    Well written, keep it up man.


  • Guest (Dalibor Kotacka)

    In reply to: chengfu

    You wouldn´t be so positive about that "man" , if you´ve had information about his law practices regarding ordinary citizens ! No offense to JUDr. Majchrák !!

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