11 Dec 2015

Open letter in relation to the vote by the National assembly on 09.12.2015 for the Law for amendment and annexation of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria

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Dear Bulgarian citizens,
    
    The Bulgarian Judges Association is addressing you directly for the first time. The ongoing series of statements which we have been sending to various competent institutions have not led to significant results. We have been making such statements in regard to scandalous judicial appointments, we have been calling for vital oversight because of the suspicion of management and corruption, and we have been highlighting the behavior of certain magistrates that raises ethical questions.
    We have been constantly pointing out repeated scandals that undermine the credibility of the judicial authorities, and which underline the necessity of a deep and determining reform. This year, for the first time in years, specific proposals for a positive and lasting change were placed into a Parliamentary constitutional reform process which was transparent for all of society to see. The claims that these proposals would not lead to an improvement of the judicial system, and thus to an increase in the feeling for justice of the citizens, are not true. The quality of judging depends on the qualities of the people working in the system. Therefore and quite logically, the most significant thing is the oversight of the judicial authority itself – because it is this authority that determines what kind of people, and with which professional qualities, will be selected to go into the judicial system, and which of them will then be promoted and appointed to senior management positions.  
    One of the most important of these proposals – which guaranteed true responsibility and accountability to society, rather than the chronic absence of such oversight, and which provided a real chance for an honest and truly independent judiciary – was rejected with the Decision of the National Assembly in it’s final reform vote yesterday on 09.12.2015.
     It is important to make clear exactly what happened on that day and how it affects every single citizen of Bulgaria. The long-awaited changes that were in the draft for constitutional amendment, and which were supported by the large majority, were instead replaced with ‘accepted corrections’ which will not result in a real change; will not give any guarantees for the rule of the law and the independence of judges; and will not eliminate the widely suspected dependencies within the judicial system...
 
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