Bulgarian Judges Accuse Interior Minister of Attempting to Intimidate MagistratesDomestic | January 18, 2013, Friday // 20:15| views
The Bulgarian Judges Association (BJA) have yet again accused Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov of inadmissible intervention in the work of the judiciary. Photo by BGNES
The Bulgarian Judges Association (BJA) have yet again accused Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov of inadmissible intervention in the work of the judiciary.
The BJA came up with a statement Friday, commenting on a specialized police operation titled M.I.L.E.V which resulted in the arrest of 25-year-old Zvezdelin Mitev, an alleged car thief.
Milev turned out to be the name of one of the judges who had released Metodiev from custody and placed him under house arrest on January 10, according to reports of dnevnik.bg.
Tsvetanov argued that the name of operation actually stood for Large-Scale Fraudster and Hypocrite Who Is Harmful.
"This attempt to intimidate judges who fail to take into account the expectations of the Minister constitutes an even graver breach of constitutional requirements for non-intervention of the executive branch into the work of the judiciary because it is a repeat violation," the BJA states.
"It does not take much effort to interpret the names of the two special operations, R.A.L.I.T.S.A and M.I.L.E.V as a fulfillment of the threat of Minister Tsvetanov, who declared on July 2, 2011 that he would name operations for detaining defendants released by court after judges," the BJA notes.
In end-January 2012, a special police operation codenamed R.A.L.I.T.S.A resulted in the arrest of a group of extortion suspects.
The Interior Ministry argued that the name of the operation stood for Racketeering, Greed, Hypocrisy, Extortion, Cynicism and Anarchy.
Sofia City Court judge Ralitsa Manolova turned out to have presided the judge panel who had released the main suspect, Valentin Yanev, under house arrest.
"The so-called RALITSA operation gives a clear signal to Bulgarian judges that they will be subjected to a personalized aggressive and manipulative attack if they make a decision which the Interior Ministry does not like," the BJA commented in February 2012.
"Such an approach constitutes a gross violation of the independence of Bulgarian courts and judges and casts doubts over the right to fair trial of each citizen," the BJA claimed.
In their February statement, the BJA voiced hopes that the alarms it had sounded would be heard and the attempts to resolve trials outside courts would be stopped.
In their Friday statement, the BJA noted that judge Teodor Milev from the Veliko Tarnovo District Court had never been a BJA member and the statement was not a personalized defense but yet another reminder of the inadmissibility of attempts to violate the principles of the rule of law.
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