Bulgarian President: Judge Dismissal Reverberated to Brussels
The Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, made a blunder that reverberated negatively across the country all the way to Brussels, according to Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev.
Speaking Saturday during his visit to the ancient capital Veliki Preslav, the President commented on the controversial decision of VSS to dismiss Miroslava Todorova, Chair of the Bulgarian Judges Association, BJA, and Judge at the Sofia City Court.
Without a hearing, Todorova was dismissed Thursday by VSS on disciplinary grounds over the unreasonable delay of proceedings. The move came just days ahead of the release of the European Commission's Monitoring Report on Bulgaria's Justice System and Internal Affairs under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism.
Plevneliev, however, voiced optimism that “Europe will be objective and note the progress the country has made.”
After the visit, the President said he was in awe by the cultural heritage of Veliki Preslav and the project that will be accomplished there in near future. He added he was ready to bet with the local mayor that the number of visitors, after its implementation, will increase from the current 20 000 to 150 000 in just two years.
He will also travel to the other ancient capital Pliska later Saturday to see firsthand the progress in another project – the construction of a park and complex “Bulgaria Starts Here.”
On Friday, 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 protest rally against the dismissal.
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