False start of the procedure for the removal of Bulgaria's Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev
False start of the procedure for removal of the Bulgarian Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev. The Supreme Judicial Council again did not start the debate on the signals against Geshev. After 3 hours of disputes and a number of procedural steps, the meeting was adjourned and the procedure postponed.
The reason - the Supreme Administrative Court allowed the signal of the former Minister of Justice Yanaki Stoilov. However, there were irregularities in it, which must be eliminated within 7 days.
The meeting of the Supreme Judicial Council began with anticipation. “I expect to raise my level of culture and legal knowledge in the ongoing sessions of the Plenum of the Supreme Judicial Council. If it wasn't funny, it would have been sad,” the chief prosecutor said.
“It is high time for Bulgaria to get a public prosecutor who owes to the public, who shares and upholds high moral standards and protects people's rights without violating them. Chief Prosecutor, who does not hide behind police violence”, said the Minister of Justice Nadezhda Yordanova.
Instead of debating, the staff got bogged down in procedural issues. The first obstacle was the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court, which obliges them to rule on the request of the caretaker Minister of Justice Yanaki Stoilov. In the summer of last year, he also wished Geshev to leave the post early, but the signal was never considered.
“I support Prof. Stoilov's decision, I know him. Many of the circumstances have grounds for early termination of Geshev’s term, we have also claimed that,” said Nadezhda Yordanova.
“Instead of going around the TV studios and most likely making false statements of a constantly political nature, which probably undermine the prestige of the judiciary, the Minister of Justice should state them in the Plenum of the Supreme Judicial Council,” said Ivan Geshev.
“If there are incorrect data, please, let them be identified and indicated,” Yordanova commented.
“Her request is just nothing,” Geshev was adamant.
There are no specific facts and circumstances in Yanaki Stoilov's request, members of the Supreme Judicial Council claim. Therefore, they gave the Minister of Justice a week to rectify these shortcomings. “I do not intend to deviate essentially from it,” Yordanova said.
In order for the two demands to be debated together, Nadezhda Yordanova's postponed it to next month. On May 4, staff will decide whether the caretaker minister's grounds meet the rules for removing the chief prosecutor.
Meanwhile, another protest of the BOEC Civil Association took place in front of the SJC building. This time they left a chemical toilet in front of the judicial parliament.
To the request for early release of the Prosecutor General, submitted by the Minister of Justice Nadezhda Yordanova, the Supreme Judicial Council will have to add the 4 signals of Yanaki Stoilov.
The first case is related to police violence on July 10, 2020, during a protest against the government and the Prosecutor General. On Twitter, Ivan Geshev commented that he stands “behind the lawful actions of the Ministry of Interior against provocations.”
According to Justice Minister Nadezhda Yordanova, there is a problem with this statement. This is the opinion of her predecessor Ivan Demerdzhiev. “The situation with the beaten children under the columns of the Council of Ministers. You can’t have a prosecutor general that comes out and encourages these actions and determines them as lawful,” he commented.
Former constitutional judge Blagovest Punev believes that the prestige of the judiciary could be damaged by Twitter messages. “The other question is whether these violations were committed by the chief prosecutor and, secondly, whether the statute of limitations has not expired,” he said.
Minister Yordanova also found violations of basic principles of independence and impartiality in the Eight Dwarves cases, in the case of the poisoning of weapons dealer Emilian Gebrev, in the random distribution of cases, and in Geshev's instructions regarding transport crimes.
“The chief prosecutor cannot be accused of anything other than a serious violation, systematic violations and damage to the prestige of the judiciary,” Blagovest Punev said.
The Supreme Judicial Council must also decide on the signals that former Minister Yanaki Stoilov submitted last summer, namely violations of the principles of impartiality and decency.
“I expect both requests to be decided by a decision that there is no reason to remove the Prosecutor General,” said Natalia Kiselova, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Sofia University.
17 votes out of a total of 22 members are needed to release Geshev.
“With the requirement of 17 votes, such a result could hardly be achieved, given that he was elected by 20 votes from the same SJC,” Blagovest Punev said.
Such a procedure against one of the three major members of the judiciary is unparalleled, magistrates said.
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