03 Jan 2013

Statement of the Managing Board of the BJA concerning the appointment of a Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria

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On 20 December 2012 we witnessed an unprecedented act of interference on the part of a Cabinet minister in the procedure for the appointment of an incumbent of a high judicial office. That act subverted the procedure for the election of a Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria because the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) submitted a proposal to the President of the Republic for the appointment of one of the nominees in flagrant breach of the national Constitution. The intolerable interference on the part of the Minister of Justice in the established procedure, which purportedly intended to allow all three nominations for Prosecutor General to be put to the vote, came immediately after the publication of the Draft Resolution of the rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to be adopted at the winter plenary session, which will take place in Strasbourg between 21 and 25 January 2013 (see http://www.assembly.coe.int/Communication/14122012_BulgariaDraftRes_EN.pdf). 
 
The draft resolution provides for continuation of the existing post-monitoring arrangements to ensure Bulgaria honours its obligations and commitments as a Member State of the Council of Europe and achieves compliance with democratic standards, pluralism, rule of law and respect for human rights. It lays an emphasis on the objective necessity to ensure and safeguard the independence of the judiciary, including through refraining from any pressure on it (paragraph 17.1). A recommendation is also made to review the role of the Minister of Justice in the Supreme Judicial Council (paragraph 17.2). 
 
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