Venice Commission Representatives, Bulgarian MPs Discuss Progress of Judicial Reform

Venice Commission Representatives, Bulgarian MPs Discuss Progress of Judicial Reform

Venice Commission Representatives, Bulgarian MPs Discuss Progress of Judicial Reform

Sofia, September 12 (BTA) - Representatives of the Council of Europe's European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and members of the parliamentary groups in the Bulgarian National Assembly discussed the judicial reform after the latest constitutional amendments. The meeting took place here on Tuesday at the Commission's request.

Danail Kirilov MP of GERB told journalists that the Venice Commission report will be ready within a fortnight. He specified that the purpose of the mission is to monitor progress after the constitutional amendments related to the judicial reform.

The ensuing revisions of the Judicial System Act were also on the agenda, along with the ongoing procedures for election of members of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). "The nominations and guarantees of magistrates' independence were considered at length," Kirilov added.

Valeri Zhablyanov MP of BSP for Bulgaria said that his parliamentary group and the Venice Commission representatives talked about the principal structural and personnel problems in the judiciary. The Socialists reiterated their position about the reform: the division of the SJC into two chambers will not automatically lead to an improvement of the quality of justice. "We want every Bulgarian citizen to have access to justice, rather than turn it into a political slogan," Zhablyanov pointed out.

The United Patriots shared with the guests their fears of magistrates' involvement with politics. "Everybody insist on the independence of the judiciary. On the other hand, we stressed our concern that part of the magistrates are trying to deal with politics, part of them are politically affiliated," MP Emil Dimitrov specified. Boris Yachev said that his parliamentary group in principle approves the division of the SJC into two chambers and that they backed the amendments last year. In their opinion, these amendments will lead to a positive judicial reform.

Hamid Hamid MP of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms said that they focussed on the changes in 2016 which, according to his parliamentary group, were a step forward, especially as far as the independence of the judicial system is concerned. "We voiced our concerns about the slow administration of justice and certain processes in the judicial system," Hamid noted. "As far as I understand, the Venice Commission's assessment is also positive."

Source: Sofia