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(DF) Justice Minister for BTA: Planned Judicial System Act Amendments to Be Put Up for Discussion in Matter of Days

January 27 (BTA correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) – Draft amendments to Bulgaria’s Judicial System Act will be presented in the coming days, Justice Minister Nadezhda Yordanova said in a BTA interview on Thursday. Yordanova took part in a hearing at the European Parliament which looked at the rule-of-law situation in Bulgaria and also involved Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev. The Justice Minister said the hearing demonstrated support for the new Bulgarian government. She said: “The fact that we are holding an open debate is good for the country. It encourages our institutions to work properly, gains trust from our European partners and promotes dialogue. This is very important for our advancement.” Yordanova described as a cause for concern Wednesday’s cancellation of the procedure for electing European delegated prosecutors from Bulgaria. The procedure was suspended by the Prosecutors Chamber of the country’s Supreme Judicial Council after the European Public Prosecutor’s Office rejected yet another Bulgarian candidate and no other candidate was found to qualify by the Prosecutors’ Chamber. Yordanova commented: “At the time of the first unsuccessful attempts we could hear arguments that it was a new procedure, there was a lack of experience and it was necessary to become familiar with the rules and the standards in greater depth. Now, a few procedures later, such arguments are irrelevant. The criteria which have to be met by our nominees for European delegated prosecutors are very clear. The measures which should be taken require some very serious thought.” The Justice Minister believes that the problem with the status of the Bulgarian prosecutor general is not confined to the concrete holder of the post. “It is an institutional problem: we have no efficient mechanism to check the prosecutor general’s actions. It should be solved by amending current legislation.” “On the other hand, the potential resignation of Prosecutor General Geshev is important because we have witnessed a series of actions on his part which have undermined compliance with the ethical rules and the law. Another big problem lies in his consistent efforts to shift the focus of the debate off the real problems. Just a few days ago his deputies said at a news conference that the need for efficient control over the work of the prosecutor general was invented by the caretaker government, while the European Commission has never raised such an issue – which is not true,” the Minister told BTA. DS/VE