Senior European Commission officials will be among those watching live online streaming and public television broadcasts of the process of selection of members of Bulgaria’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) by Parliament’s legal affairs committee.
Hearings by the committee of candidates for membership of the committee begin on September 11 2012 at 10am.
The SJC, according to Bulgaria’s constitution, is empowered to appoint, promote, transfer and remove from office judges, prosecutors and investigating magistrates. It decides the qualifications of judges, prosecutors and investigating magistrates, and adopts the draft budget of the judiciary.
The SJC has 25 members, of which 11 are elected by Parliament.
In February 2012, the European Commission, in an interim report on Bulgaria’s progress under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism, said that reforms were needed in the election of the members of the SJC with a view to achieve greater transparency and ethical standards.
The September 11 hearings will be streamed online at parliament.bg/en/vss_video with simultaneous translation into English. The hearings also will be broadcast live on public broadcaster BNT2 and public radio.
The deadline for nominations for members of the SJC was July 24. Candidates were required to submit their CVs and their visions for their work on the SJC, with these being made public. The election of the new members of the SJC is to take place on September 26.
On September 4, after meeting members of the Bulgarian Parliament’s legal affairs committee, UK ambassador to Bulgaria Jonathan Allen, French ambassador Philippe Autie and US ambassador James Warlick said that the transparency of the election of new members of the SJC was critical to judicial reform inBulgaria.