Bulgarians to Supreme Judiciary: Pumpkins with Red SeedsDomestic | June 23, 2011, Thursday // 16:39| views
Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council, shown at one of their sessions. Bulgarian citizens have been invited to press for the resignations of all VSS members via personal e-mails and short text messages. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) has no intentions of dissolving, despite continued civil pressure, statements of its members made it clear Thursday.
The Association of Bulgarian Judges and the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiative are demanding the resignation of the entire Council, following the Monday launch of the campaign of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee titled "Farewell, VSS."
The organizers are asking Bulgarian citizens to send an e-mail to the VSS members with the following text: "Please, resign. You are violating my fundamental right to an independent court". The protest message can be sent through the website of the human rights watchdog.
At the same time, www.bivol.bg, a project for investigative journalism, published the cell phone numbers of all VSS members, urging Bulgarian taxpayers, who pay their salaries, to politely ask them to leave office.
During the Thursday VSS meeting it was revealed that the magistrates continue to receive these emails and short text messages (sms), which they called "undue pressure," "taming attempts," and a "saga that must be stopped immediately."
The Chair of the VSS Ethics Committee, Tsoni Tsonev, informed he had received a message with the following text: "VSS – yellow pumpkin with red seeds," which, he said, was "bad and dangerous."
Tsonev pointed out he not only received disparaging messages, but encouraging calls from prosecutors all over the country. According to him, the entire scandal has been triggered by supporters of Velichka Tsanova, who failed to make it to the post of Chair of the Sofia City Court.
Other VSS members also made statements condemning the campaign and saying they refuse to resign.
The scandal broke at the end of May, when Vladimira Yaneva, who has eight years of experience, four of them on maternity leave, won the appointment at second round against Velichka Tsanova, a judge with extensive experience, Deputy Chair and temporarily in charge of the same court.
Yaneva, who has admitted to be close family friend of Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, stirred a storm of controversy with the admission and with allegedly committing conflict of interests.
The appointment sent shockwaves through the judicial system in Bulgaria, triggering several resignations with accusations the executive power is interfering and chocking the Courts.
Four senior judges – Kapka Kostova and Galina Zaharova from VSS, Dushana Zdravkova from the Varna Regional Court (known as one of the founders of Tsvetanov's ruling GERB, and former GERB MEP), and Tsanova resigned in a bout of outrage by the appointment.
On Wednesday, Bulgaria's Judicial Inspectorate announced they found four violations in Yaneva's work related to the notorious Sofia Properties municipal company, all showing she has purposely delayed a case which implicates her and her father in murky property deals.
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