Supreme Prosecuting Authority Backs Appeal of Controversial Dismissal of Bulgarian Judge

Politics » DOMESTIC | May 16, 2013, Thursday // 16:07
Bulgaria: Supreme Prosecuting Authority Backs Appeal of Controversial Dismissal of Bulgarian Judge Todorova is appealing a decision of a three-judge panel of VAS from January 5, 2013, which confirmed her dismissal over the unreasonable delay of proceedings. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Prosecutor's Office has backed the cassation appeal of judge Miroslava Todorova against her disciplinary dismissal by the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS).

Thursday's sitting of the five-judge panel of the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) was attended by representatives of the American Bar Association, Dutch NGO Rechters voor Rechters (Judges for judges), and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), according to reports of Capital weekly.

Todorova is appealing a decision of a three-judge panel of VAS from January 5, 2013, which confirmed her dismissal over the unreasonable delay of proceedings.

Sofia City Court judge Todorova was dismissed in July 2012 by the Supreme Judicial Council over delayed submission of written motives to cases she presided over.

Todorova's disciplinary dismissal was upheld by the Supreme Administrative Court in end-July.

On November 23, Todorova was dismissed from the post of BJA Chair.

Todorova is currently appealing the acquittal of Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov in a high-profile libel trial.

On October 18, the Plovdiv Regional Court acquitted Tsvetanov in the libel case initiated by Todorova over 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.

The acquittal is being appealed at the Plovdiv District Court, according to reports of Sega daily.

Todorova's dismissal triggered criticism from the European Commission and a wave of protests of Bulgarian judges.

During Thursday's sitting of the five-judge panel of VAS, prosecutor Iskrenna Velichkova from the Supreme Administrative Prosecutor's Office argued that Todorova's dismissal involved a breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights providing a right to fair trial.

"The three-judge panel of VAS ignored core principles of the Administrative Procedure Code," Velichkova stated.

She argued that the decision of the 3-judge panel of VAS had neglected the requirement to take measures while allowing the magistrate to correct their behavior.

The decision of the 5-judge panel of VAS on Todorova's dismissal is due in a month.

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Tags: Miroslava Todorova, Bulgarian Judges Association, Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, libel, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Supreme Administrative Court, Supreme Administrative Prosecutor's Office, European Convention on Human Rights
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