Bulgaria’s Justice Minister asks SJC to dismiss Geshev as Prosecutor-General

Written by on March 2, 2022 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgaria’s Justice Minister asks SJC to dismiss Geshev as Prosecutor-General

Bulgaria’s Justice Minister Nadezhda Yordanova said on March 2 that she has submitted a formal request for the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to dismiss Ivan Geshev as Prosecutor-General.

Yordanova’s request cited article 129, paragraph 3, sub-paragraph 5 of the Bulgarian constitution, which says that magistrates can be sacked for “serious infringement or systematic neglect of their official duties, as well as actions damaging the prestige of the judiciary.”

In a statement, Yordanova said that she was submitting nine items of evidence for the SJC to consider Geshev’s dismissal, arguing that they presented sufficient proof of “action and inaction by the Prosecutor-General” for his dismissal.

Among those items cited in Yordanova’s request were the instances of police violence during anti-government protests in 2020, the request to remove an MEP’s immunity, Geshev’s statements raising doubts about the random distribution of cases to judges, the “disrespectful, derisive and antagonising attitude towards NGOs, individuals and judiciary communities”, as well as a number of individual investigations.

Yordanova also cited last month’s Constitutional Court decision that said the Justice Minister can ask the SJC for the dismissal of the Prosecutor-General. The ruling also said that any wrongdoing by holders high judiciary office “could seriously damage trust in the judiciary and its reputation.”

Yordanova said that it was on those grounds that she was asking the SJC to examine the evidence she presented. The statement did not clarify if the request also included the evidence presented by caretaker Justice Minister Yanaki Stoilov last year, when the council ruled his request as inadmissible.

It was not clear when the SJC would discuss the Justice Minister’s request. The council normally holds its weekly sittings on Thursdays, but March 3 is a public holiday in Bulgaria.

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