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Bulgarian Justice Minister Echoes 'Quit' Calls for Tainted Judge

Politics » DOMESTIC | November 12, 2012, Monday // 14:20| Views: 872 | Comments: 0
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Bulgarian Justice Minister Echoes Calls for Tainted Judge Withdrawal: Bulgarian Justice Minister Echoes 'Quit' Calls for Tainted Judge Bulgaria's Ministers of Justice, Diyana Kovacheva (l) and of the Interior, Tsvetan Tsvetanov. Photo by BGNES

The reputation of one person cannot be more important than the reputation of the State, Bulgaria's Justice Minister, Diyana Kovacheva, commented Monday.

Her statement came in connection with reports that controversial Bulgarian magistrate, Veneta Markovska, who was recently elected constitutional judge, has postponed taking the oath of office in awaiting the results of a probe of all tipoffs against her.

According to the Justice Minister, the conclusion of the complicated situation depends only on Markovska and her sense of dignity. She stressed that Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, had been more than clear in his message to the judge.

Markovska's nomination and following election for one of Parliament's two candidates to serve on Bulgaria's Constitutional Court raised controversy after information was leaked that she had attempted to use her influence to pressure the Ministry of Interior to suppress an investigation.

This led to the European Commission issuing a warning it could publish an emergency report for Bulgaria on the so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Corruption and Organized Crime.

Markovska has continuously and vehemently denied all accusations of attempting to illicitly use her influence, albeit without failing to produce a coherent alternative narrative regarding the events.

In an earlier interview Monday, she said she still had not decided if she would withdraw, but reiterated firmly the tipoff was a false, anonymous slander.

She declared her reputation was everything to her, and pledged to continue to fight for it, regardless of the cost. The judge pointed out that it was inadmissible for a European country, such as Bulgaria, to be ruled not by laws, but by slander.

"As a judge and Deputy Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, where cases of huge material interests are tried, I obviously have harmed some people and their interests. In Court, one of the sides always loses and here they try to find revenge. I have inflicted both on material and political interests," Markovska stated.

Also on Monday, Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, when announcing her postponing the taking the oath of office, stood firmly behind her and informed that if a probe was to be assigned by the Prosecutor's Office, his institution will conduct it.

Last Thursday, Markovska a letter to the Chair of the Constitutional Court, declaring she would take the oath of office after it is proven that her reputation as judge and person is impeccable.

Legal experts in Bulgaria have argued that her request to find the author of the tipoff and conduct a probe violates Article 6 from the Constitution, postulating that all Bulgarian citizens are equal before the law regardless of their personal and social status. They say Markovska should file a private complaint, pay all Court fees, and wait for a Court rule to clear her image.

The lawyers further point out that the Interior Ministry agreeing to search for the author of the tipoff, but refusing to investigate the information in his letter is an example of abusing the Constitution for personal interests.

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Tags: Justice Minister, Diyana Kovacheva, cooperation and verification mechanism, EC, European Commission, Boyko Borisov, Iskra Fidosova, constitutional judge, Constitutional Court, Supreme Administrative Court, Prosecutor's Office, Veneta Markovska, Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, probe, tipoff
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