EC: Growing Doubts of Wrongful Influence in SJC, Politically Engaged Prosecutor GeneralBulgaria in EU | January 25, 2017, Wednesday // 18:04| views
Growing doubts of wrongful influence in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), the key importance of the upcoming selection of a new SJC, limited progress in combating corruption, the need for a new anti-corruption law and a new effective body for combating corruption – these are merely some of the conclusions in the report of the European Commission on Bulgaria’s progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) published on Wednesday.
The report covers the period from 2007 to the present and is mostly critical. The areas where progress has been registered are few and the recommendations from previous reports are mentioned again.
It calls on Bulgarian authorities to "establish a roadmap for the implementation of the recommendations of the SRSS report concerning the reform of the Prosecutor's Office and its interactions with other institutions," in an apparent reference to possible political interference.
In general the main criticisms are directed again against the Supreme Judicial Council like the holding of the upcoming elections for its composition in a transparent manner by implementing the practice of appointing senior judicial employees in a transparent manner and on the basis of the qualities of the candidates.
This approach should be enforced in the upcoming selection of a new SJC chairman. The EC notes that these two elections will be followed closely and are some of the steps in order for monitoring to be dropped.
The EC also points out growing doubts among judges about the politicisation of SJC decisions.
The Prosecutor’s Office is criticised extensively again in the report and it is referred on several occasions to the expert analysis of European prosecutors published in December.
The analysis outlines a package of measures recommended to a number of institutions including the State Prosecutor’s Office, such as greater accountability of the Prosecutor General and the creation of a mechanism under which the Prosecutor General may be investigated.
The analysis has not been discussed by the SJC yet.