Bulgarian MPs pass bill to ease investigation, dismissal of Prosecutor-General

Bulgaria’s National Assembly approved at second reading on May 26 amendments to the country’s Judiciary Act that set the procedure for investigating the prosecutor-general and reduced the threshold needed in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to dismiss the prosecutor-general.

The changes were included as a rider to the bill amending the Penal Procedure Code – Bulgarian laws can be amended directly or through transitional and final provisions of other laws.

Under the bill’s provisions, to investigate the prosecutor-general, the prosecutor’s college of the SJC can appoint a judge to a position in the Supreme Prosecution of Cassation office.

To supervise the investigation, a judge from the criminal bench of the Supreme Court of Cassation is appointed as deputy prosecutor-general. This deputy prosecutor-general can oversee only the investigation into the prosecutor-general, according to the bill.

To dismiss the prosecutor-general, the SJC only needs a simple majority of 13 out of 25 members, replacing the previous two-thirds qualified majority of 17 out of 25 members.

Initially, the bill envisioned the lower threshold to apply to all three members of the SJC that are part of the council ex officio – in addition to the prosecutor-general, that includes the heads of the country’s two high courts, the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court.

That provision prompted criticism that it may influence the independence of the two high courts and during the second-reading debate of the bill, it was changed back so that the heads of the two courts can only be dismissed by a two-thirds majority vote of the SJC.

(Photo: parliament.bg)

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