Ivan Geshev Sworn In as Prosecutor General
December 18 (BTA) - Ivan Geshev took the oath of office as Bulgaria's new Prosecutor General at the Grand Hall of Sofia's Palace of Justice on Wednesday. With his hand on the official copy of the Constitution kept at the National Assembly, Geshev swore to accurately apply the laws, discharge his duties guided by his conscience and inner convictions, be impartial, objective and fair, contribute to enhancing the prestige of the profession and respect official secrets.
Having signed the oath sheet, he thanked everybody who supported him in recent months.
Geshev expressed confidence that the prosecution service will become more open and will be sensitive to people's problems and concerns. "I know that it will be difficult and hard but the price is worth it," he said, adding that the price is a better State committed to the rule of law.
"I may walk slow but never backwards," the new Prosecutor General said at the end of his statement, quoting Abraham Lincoln. He added a quotation from Bulgarian national hero Vassil Levski: "What we need is actions, not words."
Later on, Geshev was approached by the media for comment on a discussion on the part of the Constitution regulating the judiciary, which has been initiated by President Rumen Radev. The Prosecutor General said that he will state his position on the matter when the subject of the debate becomes clear and that after the New Year he will form an advisory board of prominent legal experts who will be consulted.
In Geshev's words, his term of office will be the hardest because citizens expect fairness and the prosecution service comes under attack from people who are affected or concerned by the law. He has not yet structured the team of his deputies.
Concerning the recommendations of the Venice Commission, Geshev said that some of them make sense but other show inadequate expertise of Bulgarian legislation.
Regarding the Government-proposed amendments institutionalizing an "independent" prosecutor to investigate cases in which the Prosecutor General is implicated, Geshev said that all magistrates are independent and make their decisions on the basis of the law, their inner convictions and the evidence in the case. In his opinion, the term "independent prosecutor" is insulting to the prosecution service.
Geshev, 48, was elected Prosecutor General by the Supreme Judicial Council on October 24 and, after President Radev refused to decree his appointment, again on November 14. He was the only candidate for the position. In both cases the vote was 20 in favour and 4 against. Geshev graduated in Law at the Police Faculty of the Higher Institute for Police Officer Training and Scientific Research for the Needs of the Ministry of Interior in 1994 and then worked in Sofia as a police operative (1994-1995), assistant investigating magistrate (1995-1996) and investigating magistrate (1996-2006). He became a prosecutor at the Sofia Regional Prosecution Office in 2006 and was appointed to the Sofia City Prosecution Office in 2012. In July 2016, he was elected head of the Specialized Prosecution Office and has served as Deputy Prosecutor General since July 2018.
Geshev's highly controversial bid was supported by his predecessor Sotir Tsatsarov, the rest of the prosecutors, investigating magistrates and Interior Ministry personnel. They argued that he was the first member of the prosecutors community to get the top job, for which he was fully qualified. Geshev's opponents, which included a reform-minded minority in the SJC and in the judges community, lawyers and NGOs, insisted that he was professionally and morally unfit for office because of his law training at the Interior Ministry Academy, a career with the police and the investigative service, and gross disregard for fundamental principles of democracy like the separation of powers. RI/LG