Commencement of procedure
Slovak authorities may start acting under this Chapter on the basis of a request by a foreign authority which was transmitted by facsimile or other electronic means, if they have no doubt about its authenticity and if the matter is urgent. The original of the request must be submitted subsequently within the deadline imposed by the requested authority, unless that authority waives the requirement to submit the original of the request.
INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Scope of legal assistance
Definition of the matter
Procedural acts carried out after the commencement of the criminal proceedings in the Slovak Republic in the territory of another State on the basis of a request by the Slovak authorities or such acts carried out in the territory of the Slovak Republic on the basis of a request by foreign authorities, in particular service of documents, hearing of persons and taking of other evidence, shall be understood as legal assistance.
Requests by Slovak authorities
Form of transmission of requests
(1) Requests for legal assistance emanating from the Slovak pre-trial authorities shall be transmitted abroad through the General Prosecutor’s Office. Requests for legal assistance emanating from the Slovak courts shall be transmitted abroad through the Ministry of Justice. Diplomatic channels shall not be excluded.
(2) If an international treaty provides so, the Slovak authorities may transmit their requests abroad through other channels than the ones provided for in paragraph 1. The policeman may transmit the requests abroad solely through the good offices of a prosecutor.
Contents and form of request
(1) A request for legal assistance shall, in addition to a precise description of the required act of assistance, contain a description of the facts of the offence which is the basis of the request, the legal denomination of the offence together with a verbatim wording of the pertinent legal provisions, the personal data of the accused or, as the case may be, of the victim or the witnesses if their examination is requested, as well as further details required for the proper execution of the requested legal assistance.
(2) The request shall contain the exact specification of the requesting authority, its file number, the date of the request and it shall bear the signature of the responsible officer and the round seal of the requesting authority.
(3) The request and the supporting documents shall be accompanied by a translation into a foreign language done by an official translator if in relation to the requested State such translation is required.
Service of documents on a person abroad by post shall be admissible only if so permitted by an international treaty.
Validity of procedural acts
Service effected by a foreign authority upon a request by the Slovak authority as well as evidence taken by such authorities shall be valid if they were carried out in accordance with the law of the requested State or if they comply with the law of the Slovak Republic.
Summoning persons from abroad
(1) If the personal appearance of a person who stays abroad is required at a procedural act, he must be served the summons by a request for legal assistance. His appearance must not be compelled by the threat of the use of coercive measures.
(2) The person who appears in the territory of the Slovak Republic on the basis of a summons must not be subjected to criminal prosecution, convicted or restricted in his personal liberty in respect of a criminal offence committed prior to his entering the territory of the Slovak Republic.
(3) Criminal prosecution, conviction or restriction of personal liberty of the summoned person shall, however, be admissible :
a) in respect of the criminal offence for which the person was summoned as accused,
b) if, after giving evidence, the summoned person remains in the territory of the Slovak Republic for a period of more than 15 days, having had an opportunity to leave,
c) if the summoned person leaves the territory of the Slovak Republic and returns voluntarily or is lawfully returned to the Slovak Republic from another State.
Requests by foreign authorities
Manner and form of execution of request
(1) Slovak authorities shall carry out the legal assistance requested by foreign authorities in the manner provided for in this Code or in an international treaty. If the legal assistance shall be provided on the basis of an international treaty by a procedure not provided for in this Code, the responsible prosecutor shall decide how such assistance shall be carried out.
(2) At a request by the foreign authority the assistance may be provided on the basis of the legal provisions of another State, unless the requested procedure is contrary to the interests protected by Article 481.
(3) In order to execute the letter rogatory under section 539 para. 1 it is required that the act which the letter rogatory concerns is a criminal offence not only under the legal system of the requesting State but also under the legal system of the Slovak Republic.
Responsibility for execution of requests
(1) Requests of a foreign authority for legal assistance shall be sent to the Ministry of Justice.
(2) The district prosecutor’s office in whose district the requested assistance shall be carried out shall have the responsibility for the execution of the request for legal assistance made by a foreign authority. If more prosecutors` offices have territorial jurisdiction, the ministry of justice shall send the request to the General Prosecution for the decision on which prosecution office shall provide for its execution.
(3) If the foreign authority requests that the examination of a person or another act of legal assistance shall be executed by the court by the reason of applicability of the act in the criminal proceedings in requesting State, the prosecutor shall submit the request in that part for execution to the District Court in whose district the requested assistance shall be carried out. If the exclusive subject of the request is the act, which has to be executed by a court, the request shall be sent to the court directly by the Ministry of Justice.
Authorisation of assistance by court
(1) If under this Code the taking of evidence requested by the foreign authority requires an authorisation by the court, such authorisation shall be given by a judge upon a motion by the prosecutor responsible for the execution of the request.
(2) If the assistance shall be provided on the basis of foreign legal provisions, the judge shall decide upon a motion by the prosecutor whether the foreign procedure does not conflict with the interests protected by the provisions of Article 481. If he does not find such a conflict he shall authorise the provision of the assistance and shall at the same time decide how the evidence shall be taken. An appeal by the prosecutor, with a postponing effect, shall be admissible against the court’s decision. The decision of the court on contradiction of procedure under foreign provision is not required if it concerns delivery of a document or instruction of a person under foreign provision.
(3) The District Court in whose district the assistance shall be carried out shall have jurisdiction to decide under the paragraphs 1 and 2.
Acts by foreign authorities
(1) Foreign authorities may not execute any acts of legal assistance in the territory Slovak Republic by themselves.
(2) A foreign consular office having jurisdiction for the territory of the Slovak Republic may carry out, if so mandated by the authorities of the State it represents and on their behalf, procedural acts for criminal proceedings only with the prior consent given by the Ministry of Justice. Service of documents on the national of the represented State or the examination of a person who appears voluntarily shall not require any prior consent by the Ministry of Justice.
(3) The presence of representatives of the foreign authorities as well as other persons at the execution of legal assistance by the Slovak authority shall only be possible with the prior consent by the responsible prosecutor; if the request shall be executed by the court, the consent shall be given by this court.
Service of documents
(1) If the document to be served on an addressee in the Slovak Republic is written in the Slovak language or in a language which, taking into account all circumstances of the case, is deemed to be understood by the addressee, or if a translation into such language is attached to the document and no personal service is requested, the document shall be served on the addressee in accordance with the provisions of this Code governing the service in proper hands. Service by deposit shall be admissible only after a repeated attempt to serve.
(2) If the document is not in the language specified in paragraph 1 and no translation into such language is attached to the document, and the requesting authority was not required under an international treaty to provide such translation, the authority executing the assistance shall arrange for the Slovak translation and subsequently serve the document as provided for in paragraph 1. Otherwise it shall serve the document on the addressee only should he accept it voluntarily after being advised of the possibility to refuse the service.
(3) If the requesting authority requests personal service of the documents, the documents shall be served on the addressee in person. In such an event, the service under paragraph 1 shall not be admissible and should even the repeated attempt to serve the document in person fail, the authority effecting the service shall return the request non-executed and in the cover letter it shall specify the reasons for the failure of service. The addressee shall confirm the effected service by signing the receipt provided by the requesting authority or in the protocol of the authority effecting the service. If the addressee refuses to accept the documents for reasons specified in paragraph 2, the authority effecting the service shall record this fact in the receipt provided by the requesting authority or in the cover letter by which it returns the request to the requesting authority.
Examination under oath
(1) If requested by the foreign authority, witnesses, experts and parties may also be examined under oath ; prior to the oath they must be advised of importance of the statement and of the consequences of perjury.
(2) The wording of the oath for the witnesses and parties shall be the following: “I swear on my honour that I shall say the truth and nothing but the truth and withhold nothing intentionally.”
(3) The wording of the oath for the expert witness shall be the following: “I swear on my honour that I shall give my expert opinion according to my best knowledge and conscience. I declare that I am aware of criminal consequences of false expert opinion.“
Some special forms of legal assistance
(1) The Minister of Justice shall have the authority to grant the transit of a person through the territory of the Slovak Republic for the purposes of criminal prosecution or execution of a prison sentence upon a request by a foreign authority. During the transfer the personal liberty of the transferred person will be restricted in order to prevent his escape; in order to restrict the personal liberty of the transferred person the coercive measures under special law shall be used.
(2) The decision granting the transfer for purposes which imply the return transfer through the territory of the Slovak Republic shall be deemed as a decision granting such return transfer as well.
Cross-border observation and pursuit
(1) In accordance with the terms of an international treaty the police authority may, in observing or pursuing a person, enter the territory of another State and continue abroad the observation or the pursuit of the person.
(2) The authorisation to proceed under paragraph 1 shall be issued by the presiding judge or in the pre-trial by the prosecutor.
(3) In the case of urgency, the procedure under paragraph 1 shall be possible also without an authorisation solely on the basis of consent by the Chief of Police. The authority having jurisdiction to authorise under paragraph 2 shall be informed without delay.
(4) Foreign authorities may carry out the observation or the pursuit in the territory of the Slovak Republic in accordance with the terms of an international treaty. If the international treaty does not specify which Slovak authority has jurisdiction to grant the permission to carry out the cross-border observation or pursuit in the territory of the Slovak Republic, the permission shall be given by the Chief of Police.
Temporary surrender of detained person abroad
(1) At the request of a foreign authority a person in custody or serving a prison sentence in the Slovak Republic may be temporarily surrendered abroad for the purposes of giving evidence.
(2) The person specified in paragraph 1 may be temporarily surrendered only if :
a) he is not the accused in the proceedings abroad and he consents with the temporary surrender,
b) his absence does not alter the purpose of the custody or the enforcement of the sentence carried out in the Slovak Republic
c) the temporary surrender does not inadequately extend the length of custody in the Slovak Republic, or the temporary surrender does not extend the length of the prison sentence served in the Slovak Republic.
(1) The Minister of Justice shall have the authority to grant the temporary surrender abroad. In his decision he shall set out an appropriate deadline for the return of the person to the territory of the Slovak Republic.
(2) After the temporary surrender was granted, the decision to transfer the person abroad shall be made by the district court in whose district the person is in custody or serving the prison sentence.
(1) The time the person spent in custody abroad shall not be counted against the deadlines under Article 76. The decision to this effect shall be taken by the court, and in the pre-trial by the judge upon the motion of the prosecutor.
(2) The time specified in paragraph 1 shall be counted against the length of the sentence served in the Slovak Republic.
(3) An appeal against the decisions under the paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be admissible.
Articles 545 to 547 shall be applied mutatis mutandis to the transfer of a person abroad to participate in an act of legal assistance carried out in the territory of another State upon a request by the Slovak authorities.
Temporary surrender of detained person from abroad for execution of procedural acts
(1) If in the criminal proceedings in the Slovak Republic the personal appearance of a person other than the accused is necessary for evidentiary purposes and such person is in custody or serving a prison sentence abroad, the prosecutor or the judge may request the Ministry of Justice to arrange the temporary surrender of the person to the territory of the Slovak Republic. The motion submitted to the Ministry of Justice shall specify the procedural acts for which the presence of the person is necessary as well as the date or the period of time for which the personal appearance shall be arranged.
(2) If the requested State authorised the temporary surrender to the territory of the Slovak Republic, the presiding judge of a panel, or in the pre-trial upon the motion by the prosecutor judge for pre-trial proceedings, shall decide that during the period of the temporary surrender in the Slovak Republic such person shall be held in custody. In this resolution shall be specified that the custody shall commence on the day of the surrender of the person to the territory of the Slovak Republic.
(3) The provisions of the paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be applied mutatis mutandis to the surrender of a person from abroad to participate in an act of legal assistance carried out in the territory of the Slovak Republic upon a request by the foreign authorities.
Surrender of things
(1) Upon a request by a foreign authority the seizure of a thing and its subsequent surrender abroad can be effected.
(2) The requested authority may postpone the surrender of the seized thing if the Slovak authorities need it in their criminal proceedings.
(3) When surrendering the seized thing the requested authority shall request its return from the foreign authority. It may, however, expressly waive this right or may agree that the thing shall be returned directly to its rightful owner.
(4) These provisions shall be applicable mutatis mutandis to the surrender of a thing seized with the person whose extradition is sought. Such thing shall be surrendered to the foreign authorities, whenever possible, together with the extradited person.
Seizure of property
(1) Under the conditions specified in an international treaty the court may, on the basis of a request by the foreign authority, and upon a motion by the prosecutor, order the provisional seizure of the thing, account, stocks or another property located in the territory of the Slovak Republic and belonging to the person who is being criminally prosecuted against abroad.
(2) The District Court in whose district the property to be seized is located shall have jurisdiction to decide on the motion under paragraph 1.
(3) The District Court shall revoke the provisional seizure on the basis of a motion of the foreign authority which asked for the provisional seizure. The District Court may also revoke the provisional seizure if the foreign state in proper time does not ask for execution of foreign property decision concerning the seized property.
Information from criminal records
Any request by a foreign authority for information from the criminal records shall be submitted to the Prosecutor General’s Office.
1. States Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Part and under procedures of national law, comply with requests by the Court to provide the following assistance in relation to investigations or prosecutions:
(a) The identification and whereabouts of persons or the location of items;
(b) The taking of evidence, including testimony under oath, and the production of evidence, including expert opinions and reports necessary to the Court;
(c) The questioning of any person being investigated or prosecuted;
(d) The service of documents, including judicial documents;
(e) Facilitating the voluntary appearance of persons as witnesses or experts before the Court;
(f) The temporary transfer of persons as provided in paragraph 7;
(g) The examination of places or sites, including the exhumation and examination of grave sites;
(h) The execution of searches and seizures;
(i) The provision of records and documents, including official records and documents;
(j) The protection of victims and witnesses and the preservation of evidence;
(k) The identification, tracing and freezing or seizure of proceeds, property and assets and instrumentalities of crimes for the purpose of eventual forfeiture, without prejudice to the rights of bona fide third parties; and
(l) Any other type of assistance which is not prohibited by the law of the requested State, with a view to facilitating the investigation and prosecution of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.
2. The Court shall have the authority to provide an assurance to a witness or an expert appearing before the Court that he or she will not be prosecuted, detained or subjected to any restriction of personal freedom by the Court in respect of any act or omission that preceded the departure of that person from the requested State.
3. Where execution of a particular measure of assistance detailed in a request presented under paragraph 1, is prohibited in the requested State on the basis of an existing fundamental legal principle of general application, the requested State shall promptly consult with the Court to try to resolve the matter. In the consultations, consideration should be given to whether the assistance can be rendered in another manner or subject to conditions. If after consultations the matter cannot be resolved, the Court shall modify the request as necessary.
4. In accordance with article 72, a State Party may deny a request for assistance, in whole or in part, only if the request concerns the production of any documents or disclosure of evidence which relates to its national security.
5. Before denying a request for assistance under paragraph 1 (l), the requested State shall consider whether the assistance can be provided subject to specified conditions, or whether the assistance can be provided at a later date or in an alternative manner, provided that if the Court or the Prosecutor accepts the assistance subject to conditions, the Court or the Prosecutor shall abide by them.
6. If a request for assistance is denied, the requested State Party shall promptly inform the Court or the Prosecutor of the reasons for such denial.
(a) The Court may request the temporary transfer of a person in custody for purposes of identification or for obtaining testimony or other assistance. The person may be transferred if the following conditions are fulfilled:
(i) The person freely gives his or her informed consent to the transfer; and
(ii) The requested State agrees to the transfer, subject to such conditions as that State and the Court may agree.
(b) The person being transferred shall remain in custody. When the purposes of the transfer have been fulfilled, the Court shall return the person without delay to the requested State.
(a) The Court shall ensure the confidentiality of documents and information, except as required for the investigation and proceedings described in the request.
(b) The requested State may, when necessary, transmit documents or information to the Prosecutor on a confidential basis. The Prosecutor may then use them solely for the purpose of generating new evidence.
(c) The requested State may, on its own motion or at the request of the Prosecutor, subsequently consent to the disclosure of such documents or information. They may then be used as evidence pursuant to the provisions of Parts 5 and 6 and in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
(i) In the event that a State Party receives competing requests, other than for surrender or extradition, from the Court and from another State pursuant to an international obligation, the State Party shall endeavour, in consultation with the Court and the other State, to meet both requests, if necessary by postponing or attaching conditions to one or the other request.
(ii) Failing that, competing requests shall be resolved in accordance with the principles established in article 90.
(b) Where, however, the request from the Court concerns information, property or persons which are subject to the control of a third State or an international organization by virtue of an international agreement, the requested States shall so inform the Court and the Court shall direct its request to the third State or international organization.
(a) The Court may, upon request, cooperate with and provide assistance to a State Party conducting an investigation into or trial in respect of conduct which constitutes a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court or which constitutes a serious crime under the national law of the requesting State.
(i) The assistance provided under subparagraph (a) shall include, inter alia:
a. The transmission of statements, documents or other types of evidence obtained in the course of an investigation or a trial conducted by the Court; and
b. The questioning of any person detained by order of the Court;
(ii) In the case of assistance under subparagraph (b) (i) a:
a. If the documents or other types of evidence have been obtained with the assistance of a State, such transmission shall require the consent of that State;
b. If the statements, documents or other types of evidence have been provided by a witness or expert, such transmission shall be subject to the provisions of article 68.
(c) The Court may, under the conditions set out in this paragraph, grant a request for assistance under this paragraph from a State which is not a Party to this Statute.