The ethics committee of Bulgaria’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) decided on October 22 to begin an investigation as to whether the head of the country’s specialised prosecution, Svetlozar Kostov, breached the ethical code of magistrates.
The specialised prosecution is part of the specialised criminal court set up in 2012 to deal with high-profile cases. Kostov himself is the lead prosecutor in the lawsuit against Alexey Petrov, arrested in February 2010 and charged with racketeering and extortion – the case has become one of the signature trials that started under Bulgaria’s previous administration, but is yet to be concluded.
Earlier this month, Kostov applied for the vacancy as head of the specialised appellate prosecution, but failed to receive any votes from SJC members. In the wake of the SJC vote, he blamed “changed political conjuncture” and said that the SJC proceedings to fill the vacancy were non-transparent and unfair. He also said that SJC member Yassen Todorov, who is the head of the ethics committee, was biased during the proceedings.
After that statement, nine of 14 prosecutors in his department sent an open letter to the SJC, asking the council to “take measures”, according to reports in Bulgarian media. The prosecutors also asked to be transferred to another department if the SJC decided not to sanction Kostov.
Speaking on October 22, Todorov said that he expected the investigation into whether Kostov breached the magistrate code of ethics to take a couple of weeks, adding that he personally believed that the committee will find sufficient evidence to begin disciplinary proceedings against Kostov.
(Photo: Jason Morisson/sxc.hu)