Bulgarian Interior Minister Strikes Back at Supreme Bar Association

Domestic | July 9, 2011, Saturday // 15:03|  views

Responding to the attacks by the Supreme Bar Council, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has said that attorneys`fees are generated through criminal activity. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov's verbal attacks on the judiciary have found a new target in the face of the attorneys' guild.

"Offenders feel protected by the attorneys who actually receive their fees on the basis of conducted criminal activity", Tsvetanov said in an interview for Darik Radio Saturday.

The Interior Minister's statement comes on the heels of Friday's letter of the Supreme Bar Council accusing Tsvetanov of systematic "violations of the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria" throughout his term in office.

According to the association, Tsvetanov "systematically denigrates Bulgaria's independent judiciary in public, erodes confidence in it, creates an atmosphere of hate towards the institution and exerts pressure for the issuance of rulings convenient to the police".

Tsvetanov remained firm in his demand that "judges must provide a sensible explanation about the offenders released without a substantial motive".

When asked to clarify his requirements towards the Bulgarian judiciary, he said that the system had always been considered an ally as regards the future development of the country.

He pointed out that the assessments of Bulgaria's progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism were focused on the unreformed judiciary.

''In the course of four years, the same people have been arrested and convicted, landing probation sentences or reprimands, which does not help to make these people recognize their guilt and prevent further transgressions, because they commit the same offences within months of their release", the Interior Minister insisted.

Another case in point, Tsvetanov said, was energy tycoon Hristo Kocachki, who was found guilty of VAT draining to the amount of BGN 16 M and received a suspended sentence.

 In Tsvetanov's opinion, such a light punishment distorts people's perceptions of justice.

"If the status quo was good enough for society, I would not be here and I would not be doing politics and the project called GERB would not exist. Do you know how hard it is to change something that has been into place for over 20 years", he asked.

The Interior Minister concluded by stressing the crucial importance of judges, who occupy "very prominent positions" in the country and "embody the rule of law".

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Tags: Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Supreme Bar Council, cooperation and verification mechanism, progress report, judiciary, Hristo Kovachki, VAT draining, probation, reprimand, GERB


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