Prosecutors staged a silent protest against proposed closure of specialised courts and specialised Prosecutor’s offices
Prosecutors across the country on April 29 staged a protest against proposed amendments to the Judiciary System Act, which provide for the closure of specialised courts and specialised prosecutor's offices.
The amendments were tabled by “Democratic Bulgaria” and were approved at first reading by the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee on Wednesday, April 28. “There Is Such a People”, “Rise Up! Thugs Out!” and BSP backed them. GERB-UDFabstained.
Prosecutors saw lobbying in the amendments, which if adopted conclusively, would lead to the closure of specialised courts and prosecutor`s offices. According to the representatives of the state public prosecution, the proposed changes aim to destroy working structures, because of the interests of foreign countries, as well as to ensure the personal interest of the investigated and defendants.
“Certain defendants, who have significant amounts of funds, to avoid criminal liability," said Prosecutor General's spokeswoman Siika Mileva.
The head of the Specialised Prosecutor's Office stressed that thanks to the work of her colleagues, the monitoring of the country regarding "organized crime" has been removed by the European Commission. According to Madzharova, in recent years the work of specialised courts and Prosecutors' offices has yielded good results.
We are here at the protest because, in our opinion, the rule of law is in danger again. We are here because of ordinary Bulgarian citizens, because civil society should be informed," Valentina Madzharova said.
The leadership of the Prosecutor's office supports the protest of prosecutors, investigators and court employees.
The protest was also supported by the Chief Prosecutor, Ivan Geshev. He stressed that he is with his colleagues not in his capacity of Chief Prosecutor, but as a regular magistrate.
"I am here to support my colleagues who are here to demonstrate that they want to protect the interests of the Bulgarian public. I am here only for this reason," he explained.
Hours after the protest, the Prosecutors' College of the Supreme Judicial Council held an extraordinary meeting. According to the staff, the amendments to the Judiciary Act and the Criminal Procedure Code adopted by the MPs violate the principles of legality, separation of powers and independence of the judiciary. According to the SJC Prosecutors` College, the closure of specialized courts and specialised Prosecutor`s offices will hamper the completion of cases and investigations that have already begun.
"We strongly disagree with the changes adopted in these two laws. Considering that they affect the principles of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary," said Kalina Chapkanova, a member of the SJC's Prosecutors` College.
The statement of the Prosecutors`College was sent to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the ambassadors of the EU member states, of the United States and of the United Kingdom.
images by BGNES