Bulgarian Cabinet Proposes Amendments to Judicial System Act

Politics » DOMESTIC | March 2, 2016, Wednesday // 11:59
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Cabinet Proposes Amendments to Judicial System Act

The Bulgarian government adopted at its regular meeting on Wednesday draft amendments to the Judicial System Act, which will be proposed for approval by parliament.

The proposals are coordinated with the adopted amendments to the constitution and implement the measures featured in the updated strategy for continuation of the judicial reform.

The new texts also take into account the recommendations and standards of the Council of Europe and the EU pertaining to the organization of the judiciary and the impartiality of the court.

The proposed amendments aim to ensure the status of the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) as an impartial and effective body, guaranteeing impartial appointments in the judiciary and enjoying the confidence of judges, prosecutors and investigators.

The changes of the structure and organization of VSS are in line with the implementation of the recommendations of the Venice Commission and the Consultative Council of European Judges to the Council of Europe.

The government proposes the decisions on appointments, promotions and dismissals of magistrates to be taken independently by the college of judges and college of prosecutors and investigators, with none of the colleges interfering in the decisions of the other.

The draft limits the opportunity of parliamentary represented parties to exert influence on the decisions and voting of the college of judges and college of prosecutors and investigators by introducing qualified majority.

The transparency of decisions taken by the two colleges and the plenum is guaranteed by introducing open ballot and not allowing abstentions during voting.

The draft outlines in detail the process of election of VSS members from the parliamentary and the professional quotas.

The proposals foresee for six of the members of the parliamentary quota to be elected by the college of judges and five by the college of prosecutors and investigators.

Six of the members of the professional quota will be elected by the college of judges, four by the college of prosecutors and one by the investigators.

In order for members from the parliamentary quota to be elected, they will have to garner the support of at least 2/3 of MPs, while the draft proposes direct election of members from the professional quota.

The document also addresses the criticism of the European Commission expressed in its latest report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM).

The draft proposes the introduction of permanent commissions of attestation to the two colleges of VSS in order to assess the work of magistrates.

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Tags: prosecutors, judges, CVM, EU, Council of Europe, VSS, judiciary, Bulgaria, reform
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