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Challenging Democracy in Slovakia:
Concept of the Center for Legal Analyses-Kalligram Foundation (CLA)

The mission of the Center for Legal Analyses-Kalligram Foundation (CLA) is to create an independent group of experts to analyze relevant legal questions regarding minorities in Slovakia. Independent legal analysis provides a basis for a potential and necessary improvement of the currently valid legal protection of the minorities and its implementation. Such analysis, together with public discussion and dissemination of relevant information also strengthens legal consciousness of minorities and brings attention of the whole society to the minority issues.


CLA defines legal analysis as:
· Research of legislation needs;
· Compliance of legislation with EU standards;
· Promotion of consistency of legislation in identified specific areas;
· Drafting legislative proposals for amendment of current legislature;
· Interpretation of legislation.

CLA will focus mainly on the legal status and problems of the Hungarian and Roma minorities in Slovakia, which create together almost 20% of the total population. It will organize seminars and round-tables, providing an independent platform for open expert discussion. In co-operation with minority and Slovak experts and lawyers the CLA will produce top-quality analyses and reporting on the relevant issues. The results of these activities will be introduced and presented to important decision-makers.

CLA will also enhance public dissemination of relevant information through the media on the legal status of minorities in the country, thus strengthening the legal awareness of the public.

CLA will network lawyers and enhance communication between various ethnic and generation groups of lawyers in Slovakia.


Activities of CLA

1) Legal Analysis
Legal Analysis comprises of the following 5 horizontal layers (goals) – areas of analysis, which are interconnected:

· Up to Date Analysis
Identification of legislature needs; drafting amendments to current law
Issues: Anti-Discrimination Statute
Revision of the Penal Code (anti-discrimination provisions)
Public Administration Reform

 

· Historical and Comparative Analysis
Evaluation of past and recent legal issues important for today, comparative law – especially in the Visegrád group context
Issues: Rights and treatment of ethnic and other minorities in the Central Europe and elsewhere – historical and comparative analysis: focus on election laws, Beneš decrees, positive discrimination in Europe and the U.S.

 

· Compliance with International and EU Law
Evaluation of current Slovak law in the context of international cooperation and integration; Slovakia´s international obligations
Issues: Minority rights and legal status of minorities in the context of acquis communautaire, UNO and the Council of Europe standards, and the bilateral agreements; implementation of the law

 

· Consistent Body of Legislation
Identification of areas in the legal system for a potential improvement, identification of “gaps” – especially in the context of international obligations
Issues: Minority protection

 

· Legal Interpretation
Identification and evaluation of interpretation of the currently valid Slovak law – especially in the context of judicial decisions, historical and comparative analysis and application of the international and EU law

Issues: European Charter on Minority Languages
Act on Minority Languages
Amendments to the Constitution (if passed)

Analysis and evaluation of the decisions of the Slovak Constitutional Court, European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg, European Court of Justice (EU), Constitutional Courts of the neighboring countries on minority related cases

 

 

2) Reporting
Reporting and monitoring the legislative policy of the Slovak government and parliament regarding minorities. Preparing reports for European and international institutions, organizations, commissions and NGO’s. Commenting on the Slovak Republic's human rights reports, and on the implementation of the Framework Convention on Protection of National Minorities to the Council of Europe, as well as other relevant international human rights documents signed and ratified by the Slovak Republic.

 

 

3) Public relations
Publication of the analyses and the collections of laws and judicial decisions (see charter at the end of the memorandum)
Publication of the recommendations on changing Slovak legislation (see charter at the end of the memorandum)
Publication of the human and minority rights reports (see charter at the end of the memorandum)
Round-tables with professionals on different cases
Seminars for journalist on legal (minority) matters

 

 

4) Library
Gradual creation of legal library which will serve for analytic purposes but might be also open to public, possibly in cooperation with some of the academic institutions.

 
     
The Center for Legal Analyses is grateful for the support of the Ford Foundation