Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council's Annual Report Approved Amid Renewed Criticism

Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council's Annual Report Approved Amid Renewed Criticism

The Bulgarian Parliament approved Wednesday the annual report on the activity of the Supreme Judicial Council VSS and the VSS Inspectorate amid renewed criticism.

Acknowledging the existence of managerial capacity problems within VSS, VSS member Aneliya Mingova warned that its dissolution would only further increase the instability of the judicial system.

"The de-legitimation of VSS would only de-legitimize the judiciary as a whole, which would mean a de-legitimation of the power of the state", Mingova said.

According to her, VSS would back any changes, including constitutional amendments.

In the course of the discussion, not a single representative of ruling party GERB offered an opinion on the report.

Left-wing MP Yanaki Stoilov urged VSS to say why the magistrates with the biggest case delays were making fastest career progress.

He recommended making the judiciary accountable to the parliament as the best way to discuss problems of the system.

Right-wing leader Ivan Kostov said that VSS can not win back the lost public confidence, adding that the situation in the judiciary is the reason for Bulgaria's failed attempt to join Schengen

"Should VSS consist of 25 members? The government has a smaller headcount. Does the government really have less work to do in the country? VSS may be downsized in a bid to make it more transparent, to track down how each of its members votes and acts and to eliminate anonymity", said Ekaterina Mihaylova from the right-wing Blue Coalition.

According to Chetin Kazak from the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the regular and in-depth communication between the judiciary and the executive over the past two years has not led to improvements in the functioning of the judicial system but has had just the opposite effect.

VSS has recently been subjected to a spate of calls for resignations on the part of the Union of Judges in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, etc., due to its questionable staff policy and its vulnerability to outside influences. (Source: Sofia News Agency)

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