Supreme Judicial Council Member Backs Upset Plovdiv Judges
The outrage of the sixty four magistrates from the Plovdiv Regional Court is justified, but comes too late, according to Galya Georgieva, a member of the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS.
Georgieva is also a former Plovdiv appellate judge.
On Monday, the Plovdiv magistrates sent an unprecedented letter to VSS in connection with recent media publications about their work.
In it, the judges opposed media claims that the Plovdiv Court has the strongest concentration of violations of human rights of freedom and due process, leading to the majority of cases against Bulgaria to be filed with the Strasbourg Human Rights Court due to the Plovdiv Court rules.
They further reject statements about them working in a feudal environment or in military barracks, stressing the insults stem from the procedure for the election of the country's new Chief Prosecutor.
The authors of the letter asked VSS to assess their work and state publically their position on the issues.
VSS will examine the letter Thursday.
"It is obvious the attacks on the colleagues are connected with Tsatsarov. I was one of the people who nominated him because I firmly believe in his qualities and credentials as magistrate. The Plovdiv Court works like a Swiss clock. What would you want from us – to set criminals free? The Court is an arbiter, but it must issue fair and adequate sentences," Georgieva stated before the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR.
In the letter, the judges explain that they do not oppose the freedom of press and are not blaming the media, stressing there was one main source of such negativity – an unnamed law office in Plovdiv with "serious interests in criminal verdicts."
Since the law office is assumed to be one of prominent human rights lawyer in Plovdiv, Mihail Ekimdzhiev, who has won nearly 80 cases in Strasbourg, he was also approached for an interview Monday.
The lawyer noted the protection of the State from crime should not be done at the expense of the rule of law and the Constitution.
"What if innocent people end up in jail over somebody's temporary glory and strive for better stats? The post of the next Chief Prosecutor is at stake here. Obviously Tsatsarov's colleagues are attempting to polish his tarnished public image lately," Ekimdzhiev, who is also Chairman of the Association for European Integration and Human Rights, commented.
He presented earlier, before the Praven Svyat (Legal World) magazine, a list of 73 guilty verdicts (out of a total of 395 in 1992 – 2011) against Bulgaria, issued by the Strasbourg Court, all pertaining to the practice of Plovdiv's Courts, and in most cases connected with violations of the rights of freedom and due process.
Ekimdziev insists Tsatsarov holds regular meetings with the police and the prosecutors where guilty verdicts are discussed in disregard of the law and the rule of separation of powers.