site.btaSupreme Judicial Council, European Commission Discuss Justice Reform

Supreme Judicial Council, European Commission Discuss Justice Reform
Supreme Judicial Council, European Commission Discuss Justice Reform
Supreme Judicial Council (BTA Photo)

Members of Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and European Commission officials in charge of the EU rule-of-law mechanism discussed via video conference the constitutional reform and the changes it entails in the SJC structure and powers, the Council said in a press release on Thursday.

The SJC members expressed opinions and considerations regarding the complement of the new Supreme Judicial Council and Supreme Prosecutorial Council (SPC), including the ratio between the parliamentary and the professional quota, and the risks of political influence in the SPC. They commented on the problematic points arising from the abolition of the SJC Plenum, the unregulated legal personality of the two councils, the powers of their General Meeting, and the participation of SJC members in the working group drafting a new Judicial System Act. The European Commission officials were familiarized with statistics and the key points related to the conduct of competitive procedures for promotion in positions at the superior-level courts.

The European Commission officials requested information and comments about the application of the mechanism for accountability and criminal liability of the prosecutor general and the deputy prosecutors general. They called attention to the election and appointment of an ad hoc prosecutor of the Prosecutors Chamber and the options to review his or her decisions. The discussants also commented on the response to reports about magistrates coming under pressure and being involved in the case of Martin "the Notary" Bozhanov.

Bozhanov was shot dead in a gated complex in a Sofia suburb on the evening of January 31. According to media reports, he was a large-scale fixer of people's problems with the judiciary. He has been implicated in building a network of connections with prosecutors and judges whom he allegedly bribed, threatened, blackmailed or otherwise pressured to treat his "clients" favourably. Pretrial proceedings have been initiated. An ad hoc parliamentary committee of inquiry has been set up to probe the facts and circumstances surrounding the activity of Bozhanov and his group. 

At Thursday's online meeting, the SJC was represented by Atanaska Disheva, Daniela Marcheva and Veronika Imova of the Judges Chamber and Kalina Chapkanova of the Prosecutors' Chamber. Taking part on behalf of the European Commission were Georgi Ganchev, Policy Officer at the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, Tomas Garcia, Policy Coordinator at the Secretariat-General, Cornel Deschamps of the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, and an official responsible for the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

/КК/

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By 12:08 on 15.04.2024 Today`s news

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