French Ambassador to Bulgaria Warns of 'Centralized' Prosecution

Diplomatic Channel | January 30, 2016, Saturday // 12:54|  views

France's Ambassador to Bulgaria Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes. File photo, BGNES

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Bulgaria is "very centralized and hierarchic", French Ambassador to Bulgaria Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes argued on Saturday.

In an interview with private bTV station's mornign program he said that everyone working for the institution depended "on a single person": "there is no Chief Prosecutor's Office in Bulgaria, there is a Chief Prosecutor".

He opined such a structure of the prosecuting authority could be "dangerous".

The ambassador has been over the past years one of the most vocal critics of the judiciary, questioning the sysem for random allocation of cases and urging deeper reform. His supporters within Parliament have welcomed his calls, while other have described them as interference in the domestic affairs of a state.

On Saturday he was invited to comment on the latest EU Commission's report, which welcomes some of the government's plans for reform but insists it is time for implementation to deal with long-standing issues of both courts and the prosecuting authority.

Speaking of the demand by ruling parties that that the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), the top decisionmaking body of the judiciary, resign, he stopped short of taking a side but warned the reputation of the VSS was "very low" at the moment.

He cited the developments of the past week when the council voted to replace its Representative, Sonya Naydenova, with VSS member Dimitar Uzunov, without stating clear motives.

De Cabanes explained that Naydenova enjoyed good reputation among foreign embassies to Sofia.

He said he welcomed the idea of EU experts providing assistance to Bulgarian authorities in putting the judicial reform strategy into practice.

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Tags: Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes, Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, Sonya Naydenova, Dimitar Uzunov


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