Bulgaria's Top Diplomat Calls Judge Dismissal 'Untimely'

Politics » DIPLOMACY | July 13, 2012, Friday // 16:54
Bulgaria's Top Diplomat Calls Judge Dismissal 'Untimely': Bulgaria's Top Diplomat Calls Judge Dismissal 'Untimely' According to Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council has applied double standards when deciding to dismiss a senior magistrate on grounds of delayed proceedings. Photo by BGNES

The decision of the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, to dismiss Miroslava Todorova, Chair of the Bulgarian Judges Association, BJA, and Judge at the Sofia City Court is extremely untimely, according to Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov.

Speaking Friday at a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart, Andrei Marga, the Minister explained his statement with the forthcoming release of the European Commission's Monitoring Report on Bulgaria's Justice System and Internal Affairs under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism.

Without a hearing, Todorova was dismissed Thursday by VSS on disciplinary grounds over the unreasonable delay of proceedings.

When asked by a journalist if the controversy will be reflected in the report, Mladenov replied that "the EC writes the report."

According to the Minister, even if VSS had grounds to dismiss the judge, the rules must be applied fairly to all magistrates since many are known to have delayed Court cases.

"We have included in the last changes very transparent and clear rules for nominations for VSS. So, all magistrates who are young, ambitious, and have knowledge of European legislation can be nominated regardless of their current position, and can be elected in the new VSS. In the last years, Bulgaria invested a lot in the process of preparation of the judiciary and the great results can already be noticed," Mladenov concluded.

On his part, Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, called the dismissal a pure provocation, coming just days before the Monitoring Report.

Justice Minister Diana Kovacheva also criticized VSS, saying they should apply the same standards to all and reexamine their decision.

Judge Miroslava Todorova, gained reputation as the strongest critic of the Supreme Judicial Council and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

She filed a libel lawsuit against Tsvetanov with the Sofia Regional Court in the beginning of February, after two consecutive interviews of the Interior Minister in which he accused her of incompetence and of patronizing organized crime because of the delayed presentation of the written motives to an eight-year jail sentence handed down to drug lord Vasil Manikatov.

Todorova is not seeking a monetary award and if the Interior Minister is found guilty, he will be penalized with a public reprimand and a fine of BGN 5000-15000 which will go into the State coffers.

Tsvetanov firmly rejects having a personal conflict with the judge, and chimed in Friday morning saying the dismissal could be interpreted as a provocation.

Also on Friday, Bulgarian judges staged an unprecedented for the judiciary protest rally against the dismissal.

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Tags: Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, Justice Minister, Diana Kovacheva, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, judge, Miroslava Todorova, dismissed, Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, Interior Minister, Bulgarian Judges Association, libel, Sofia City Court, provocation, European Commission, monitoring report, Justice System and Internal Affairs, cooperation and verification mechanism, protest, rally
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