Senior Judges Obstruct Replacements at Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council

Domestic | July 5, 2011, Tuesday // 12:13|  views

VKS Chair Lazar Gruev (left), Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchev (middle) and Justice Minister Margarita Popova (right) ahead of June 30`s VSS sitting. Photo by BGNES

Judges from Bulgaria's Supreme Court of Casssation (VKS) obstructed Monday the appointment of two new members of the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS).

The magistrates convened to nominate delegates for the general meeting of all courts which is to elect two new VSS members.

However, most of the judges at VKS, 39, cast blank votes, showing that they do not want to take part in the appointment of successors to Kapka Kostova and Galina Zaharova, who submitted pre-term resignations and freed up two posts at VSS from the judges' quota.

"Two candidates for delegates were nominated. After an hour of discussions and voting, no delegates were elected due to the prevailing number of invalid votes compared to the valid ones", according to a statement of VKS.

Last week, the Sofia Appellate Court and the Blagoevgrad Regional Court similarly refused to nominate delegates.

The boycott is aimed at supporting Kostova and Zaharova, who resigned from "a body pursuing a policy which erodes the independence of judges" and in which "lobbyist influences reign supreme over professionalism".

Kostova and Zaharova stepped down in protest at the appointment of Vladimira Yaneva as Chair of the Sofia City Court. Her controversial appointment, together with the two resignations, triggered a campaign for the dissolution of VSS.

Unlike VKS, however, the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS), headed by Georgi Kolev, known for his close ties to ruling party GERB, last week nominated 7 delegates, including Kolev himself, his deputy, Galina Solakova, Vesela Teneva, Sonya Yankulova, etc.

VSS members are elected by a majority of the attending delegates, meaning that even if only three delegates show up, the election procedure is valid.

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Tags: VKS, Supreme Court of Cassation, VAS, Supreme Administrative Court, Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, Kapka Kostova, Galina Zaharova, Georgi Kolev, Vladimira Yaneva, Sofia City Court, Sofia Appellate Court


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