site.btaPartnership Council with Supreme Judicial Council Calls for Keeping Current Constitutional Model of Judiciary
The Partnership Council with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) call for keeping the current constitutional model of the Judiciary, the SJC's press centre reported. At a meeting on Friday, the Partnership Council members adopted a decision to that end and agreed on the need to strengthen the professional element of participation of judges, prosecutors, and investigators in the SJC.
In the context of the bill to amend and supplement the Constitution tabled by the incumbent on August 28, the Partnership Council members voiced critical views on the proposed reform, which would lead to changes in the state governance's function. The Council voiced disagreement with amendments to the Constitution linked to a disruption of the balance of powers through the removal of structures, functions, and powers of constitutionally established Judiciary bodies. A position was adopted reading that the judicial reform should take the form of legislative changes, including constitutional ones, that strengthen the Judiciary's independence while observing the principles of rule of law and separation of powers.
During the debate, the participants noted that the Constitution guarantees a good foundation and model of functioning of the Judiciary, which should be built upon and improved. The proposed revisions in the constitutional model have caused unprecedented agreement of the professional communities of judges, prosecutors, and investigators on key matters posing a risk to the Judiciary's independence. By removing key prosecutorial powers, the draft amendments create preconditions for emptying of meaning the prosecution service's function to monitor the observation of the law. There might be negative consequences of the SJC's structural reform, the participants in the debate argued. Limiting the Prosecutor General's powers and decentralizing the prosecution service will deface the institution. Increasing the powers of the Justice Minister regarding the management of the Judiciary's material assets and budget will create preconditions for political influence and weakening of the Judiciary's independence.
Attending the meeting were SJC Co-Chair Veronika Imova, SJC members Evgeni Ivanov and Stefan Petrov, Association of Prosecutors in Bulgaria deputy head Daniela Angelova, Varna Appellate Court judge Angelina Lazarova, Association of Bulgarian Administrative Judges representative Radina Despodska, Bulgarian Judges Association representative Rositsa Velkova, and Chamber of Investigators representative Nikolay Krustev. Also attending as a guest was Association of Prosecutors in Bulgaria head Vladimir Nikolov.