site.btaUPDATED Supreme Judicial Council Debates Request for Dismissal of Ivan Geshev as Prosecutor General
Meeting on Thursday, the Plenum of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) debated the second motion for early dismissal of Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev.
On Wednesday, a request was filed asking for an adjournment of the debate because Geshev was on a business trip and attending an international conference and because his lawyer Radostina Tomova was ill.
According to SJC member Atanaska Disheva, there are no reasons to adjourn the debate. She said that Geshev could have informed the Council that he was attending a conference on the same day of its meeting. She believes that Geshev could still have attended the conference and been at the SJC meeting.
Disheva described the adjournment request as a "twisted exercise of rights".
It became clear at the SJC meeting that evidence was received from both the six initiators of the dismissal motion and Geshev. Daniela Marcheva said members should comment on the evidence collected in the case, while Veronika Imova said that all parties should be given the opportunity to express their views on the case. She called for respecting the constitutional right of everyone to arrange their defence. "These are serious sanction proceedings," said Tsvetinka Pashkunova, and stressed that the evidence gathered in the case could still be examined on Thursday.
It transpired that Geshev will be on leave from June 5 to 9.
About 30 minutes into the discussion, five SJC members voted in favour of the request to adjourn the debate, but it was nevertheless rejected by the votes of the other 14 members attending.
On the request to suspend the entire proceedings against Geshev on the grounds that the case has been referred to the Constitutional Court, all voted against.
Justice Minister Krum Zarkov said that he will schedule a SJC meeting on Monday at which the Council will address the admissibility of the second motion for Geshev’s dismissal.
Zarkov told journalists that next Tuesday the SJC may merge the two motions for Geshev’s dismissal.
The Justice Minister is of the opinion that Geshev’s petition to the Constitutional Court for an interpretation of a provision of the basic law does not stay the progress of the procedure. The same applies if the Prosecutor General challenges the adopted amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code and the Judicial System Act.
"A challenge of a law [before the Constitutional Court] does not suspend its application," Zarkov argued.
He said that Geshev is entitled to organize his defence the way he thinks fit. According to Zarkov, the request for an adjournment of Thursday’s SJC meeting was “inconsequential”.
In a 17-page opinion to the SJC, Geshev says that the second motion to establish grounds for his early dismissal from the post of Prosecutor General is inadmissible, as it was made by an authority with an expired mandate.
He notes that he has appealed to the Constitutional Court with a request for an interpretation.
His opinion states that there is evidence that members of the SJC, Yordan Stoev and Georgi Kuzmanov, signed the request under pressure from third parties.
Geshev wants the recusal of all four who asked for his resignation during the debates.
The Prosecutor General points out that the expression "political garbage" used by him, which is also the basis of the request for his dismissal, is "a collective noun without any concreteness". According to him, the expression has an abstract meaning and is in no way directed at specific individuals engaged in political activity.