Bulgarian Justice Minister Calls Emergency Meeting of Supreme Council
Bulgaria's Justice Minister Diana Kovacheva, is calling an emergency meeting of the Supreme Judicial Council.
Speaking Sunday for the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, Kovacheva informed that the meeting will begin at 10 am on Monday, while the agenda will include reexamination of the VSS policy on disciplining judges who had delayed Court cases.
The Minister noted her view that this practice must be consistent and with clear criteria all while making a personal commitment to work on such rules if it would emerge that they are non-existent.
Kovacheva comments were related to 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.
Kovacheva is now firm that VSS must make the grounds for their decision public and offer information on the exact violations committed by the Judge.
"Media reports reveal that the violations were actually grave, connected to dismissals of important cases over prescriptions, which is a very serious breach of professional and ethical principles. VSS must further provide information on Todorova's workload. This debate can no longer be held behind closed doors; from now on this a public debate," she declared.
One day earlier, Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev, labeled the VSS decision a "blunder."
On Friday, Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, called the dismissal a pure provocation, coming just days before the Monitoring Report.
The same day, Kovacheva, who at first cautiously sided with the decision, hardened her stance and 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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