Bulgaria’s Parliament finished adopting amendments to the Judiciary Act on July 27, including a provision that ruled out anonymous complaints against magistrates.
The bill, which is a second package of amendments to the Judiciary Act and part of the judiciary reform process that started after the constitutional amendments passed last year, stipulates that any complaints about a magistrate have to provide complete identification of the person making the complaint, including the full name, unique personal identification number, address, phone number and email.
This provision was passed with no discussion on the House floor, specialised judiciary news Legalworld.bg reported. Similarly, the provisions granting additional powers to the Supreme Judicial Council inspectorate, the body that can investigate and sanction magistrates, were also passed without debate, the report said.
Instead, the bulk of the debate focused on the provisions that required magistrates to disclose membership in any formal organisation – including civic and professional associations – or informal ones, such as secret societies. Specifically, the debate focused on membership in Masonic societies, while some MPs used the opportunity to lash out at the judges union, which has been critical of the judiciary reform efforts, describing them as not going far enough.
The amendments do not ban membership in secret societies, nor was it clear what the penalty would be if should a magistrate fail to declare such membership. A magistrate could be investigated for potential conflict of interest based on membership in an outside society, but it could likely present too high a burden of proof, Legalworld.bg said.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)