site.btaJudge Miroslava Todorova: Court Independence Remains Main Problem, Comes Before Next Constitutional Amendments
Before the next constitutional amendments, which are extremely important, it is necessary not to allow the focus to be once again blurred from the main problem, which is the alleged independence of the court, said Miroslava Todorova, a judge, former president of the Union of Judges in Bulgaria Wednesday during a conference-discussion in Sofia. The event was coorganized by the French Institute in Sofia, supported by the French Institute in Paris.
Todorova pointed out that when the new democratic constitution was drafted, the model of the judiciary included problems that are still being addressed. In her words, the independence of the judiciary was put at risk when the constitutional model was created and the prosecution service and the courts were put under the one "Judiciary" umbrella.
The discussion was also attended by Peggy Ducoulombier, professor of public law at the University of Strasbourg, Andrey Yankulov, former prosecutor, former deputy Justice and Interior minister and Hristo Hristev, lawyer and European Union law lecturer at Sofia University.
Yankulov commented that a series of chief prosecutors in Bulgaria have tailored the prosecution to their liking and the institution has acquired oversize powers in investigation and prosecution. According to him, the recent developments in the Prosecution Service and the Supreme Judicial Council are not an authentic opposition to the Prosecutor General, but a consequence of political processes and the reversal of the political forces that have supported him, due to a change in the political status quo.
Hristo Hristev noted that there are deficits in the Bulgarian legislation related to the way the Supreme Judicial Council and the prosecution service are regulated, and there are examples in the Bulgarian legislation that are incompatible with the rule of law.
Prof. Peggy Ducoulombier commented that the European Convention on Human Rights system cannot function without independent judges. She noted that there has been a change in the Court's practice, with cases being brought for some time not only by citizens complaining that their cause is not being heard by an impartial court, but also by judges against whom administrative sanctions have been imposed.