Bulgaria's Justice Minister: Chief Prosecutor's Term in Office Must Be Shorter
Bulgarian Justice Minister Diana Kovacheva has argued that the term in office of the Chief Prosecutor must be reduced from seven to five years.
In a Saturday interview for Darik radio, she said that both the professional and the personal qualities of the candidates for the post of Chief Prosecutor had to be taken into account due to the importance of the position.
Kovacheva emphasized that the three candidates were practicing magistrates with extensive knowledge of the judiciary.
Bulgaria's Justice Minister said she expected a good candidate to appear for the vacancy at the Constitutional Court.
She explained that what was needed was a consensus candidate enjoying wide support, with an option to extend the procedure until the appropriate application was found.
A seat in the Constitutional Court remained empty on November 15, when Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev walked out just as controversial judge Veneta Markovska was about to swear in.
Markovska faced allegations of trading in influence, which she was unable to dispel, but nevertheless chose not to resign, after being elected Constitutional Judge by Parliament.
Kovacheva went on to say that it was too early to say whether the harshest penalty in Bulgaria, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, had to be revoked, as Vice President Margarita Popova suggested.
"I would like to hear more opinions on the matter. I shall try to organize a discussion as comprehensive as possible. Let us make decisions after hearing all view points," Bulgaria's Justice Minister noted.
She said that no other EU Member State apart from Bulgaria had two types of life imprisonment sentences, with and without the right to parole.
Kovacheva went on to dwell on the positive and negative aspects of life without parole.
Commenting on the topic of electronic justice, she explained that paper-based records of administrative and civil cases would be abandoned in favor of digital records in up to three years.
Bulgaria's Justice Minister informed that people would be able to choose whether to file statements of claim electronically or on paper, the websites of Bulgarian courts would have a standard outlook, and there would be an electronic centralized portal.
"Cases will move much faster, and there will be clarity about their progress, about magistrates' workload, and court statistics. These things will increase the predictability of the judiciary and make the lives of people, judges and prosecutors easier," Kovacheva declared.
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