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Statement on the integrity checks of magistrates

I present this Statement to the attention of the members of the SJC Prosecutor’s College and the Minister of Justice, who can exercise their powers under Art. 175, para. 5 in conjunction with Art. 173 JSA in conj. with Art. 129, para. 3, item 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Apart from the specific case, addressing the issue of the acceptable conduct of magistrates, including senior representatives of the judiciary, aims at conducting a professional and public discussion and establishing ethical standards. Complying with transparent and fair procedures for integrity vetting of magistrates, provided there is a reasonable doubt, is a guarantee for maintaining confidence in justice. In this regard, debates on ethical rules and standards for factual and legal assessment in their application are indispensable in all institutions. Therefore, I present the proposal to the attention of the Inspectorate under the SJC and the EC in view of the powers of each institution and with the conviction that it could be of use in conducting a professional and public discussion on the principle questions raised.

I publish the statement:

Dear members of the Supreme Judicial Council,

The constitutional status of the judiciary determines its independence by upholding that judges, prosecutors and investigating magistrates abide only by the law in their activities. Therefore, independence is upraised to a basic and essential value applicable to each magistrate, and according to Art. 170, para. 5 of the Judicial System Act (JSA), the highest requirements are applied to the Prosecutor General and the Chairpersons of the Supreme Courts – they must have the capacity to follow and enforce a high ethical standard, manifested independence and will to enforce the law.

The notion that independence and impartiality are pivotal for justice, and that their violation does not allow the judiciary to fulfill its basic public role to maintain and restore the power of the state legal order, as well as the confidence of citizens in the state, is sustainably endorsed and our entire legal system is built upon it.[1]

According to the so-called Bangalore Principles – generally acknowledged judicial ethical standards for the UN member states, also applicable to representatives of other magistrates’ professions in the judiciary – each magistrate is required to ensure that her/his behavior is impeccable in the eyes of the reasonable observer and contributes to the conviction of people in the moral integrity of the judiciary. These requirements aim at establishing as a fundamental guarantee of fair justice the rule that justice must not only be implemented but this must also be visible to people because the persuasiveness of justice is the basis of trust in the judiciary without which the implementation of the acts of the judiciary are unachievable, hence – law, prosperity and social peace are unachievable either.

By virtue of the Bangalore Principles, the magistrate must not only remain unaffected by inappropriate relations with the executive, the legislature, the economic circles, and their influence, but also to establish a sense of certainty in the reasonable observer that s/he is not indeed affected by such opaque dependencies.

I quote the established international standards related to judicial independence because they, as well as the practice of the SJC and case-law of the court in such cases, should be the starting point for objective assessment of the publicly-known meeting between the Prosecutor General and the member of a political party’s managing body and businessman Georgi Gergov and the publisher of the Sega newspaper and businessman Sasho Donchev. Due to its core function to guarantee the independence of the judiciary, including by exercising its disciplinary functions, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) must protect the rule of law as a foundation of the State, by convincing citizens that the law applies to all, and that judiciary’s senior administrative positions do not allow even the least suspicion of corruption or abuse of power.

By Decision of April 27th, 2017, the Supreme Judicial Council’s Plenum refused to carry out an examination of the case’s facts. Nevertheless, according to the publicly known facts and statements which allow the drawing of a comparison between them and other authentication facts, we understand the following:

  1. Currently established factual situations according to the widespread statements of the three participants in the meeting

 Sasho Donchev’s Statements

On April 19th, 2017, a video was published in the Media, in which Sasho Dontchev gave statements regarding a meeting he had with the Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov, which was also attended by the businessman and a member of BSP’s management Georgi Gergov. The narrative contains the following statements of facts by Sasho Dontchev.

I was invited to a meeting with the Prosecutor General so that he could tell me that my behaviour is becoming unacceptable and intolerable for him. What is it that I support “Yes, Bulgaria”, what is it that my television BiT, where my friend Sasho Dikov has placed him as a central image, and, of course, the newspaper Sega and Komarnitsky. And I look at him and ask, “What is it that you want to tell me?” “I am telling you that even Mr. Filchev told me that I have very soft reactions.”; “And I’m saying: the same Mr. Filchev who sent berets and what happened next, what followed? I need to inform you that I have nothing to do with “Yes Bulgaria”, except that I know Hristo Ivanov. I have nothing to do with BiT, except that Sasho Dikov and I have skied and we went on dating with girls.”

On April 21st, 2017, in an interview for the “eMission Bulgaria” broadcast on BIT, Sasho Donchev stated that the meeting with the Prosecutor General was held at the office of the businessman Georgi Gergov. In the interview Mr. Donchev stated, “…And I said, “Would you like me to give you my mobile phone’s number, so that we do not use intermediaries in the communication?”. Then the Prosecutor General told me, “You have no doubt that your correspondence and your phone are being controlled, right? I was surprised and said, “On what grounds?”, but he told me that this is not under the competence of the Prosecutor’s Office and these are not his people, there are other specialized units in the state dealing with these things.”

On April 22nd, 2017 in an interview for Nova TV Sasho Donchev stated, “… And he (the Prosecutor General) at one point says: “And all this, when you have such a nice life, why do you have to deal with … to fund Hristo Ivanov’s political party. Then came the question about my television BIT and my friend Dikov, who turned him into a protagonist. At that point I interrupted him and told him: “But you have indeed been disinformed or misinformed. He said to me, “You know that I don’t get my information from random people. It became clear that the intelligence informs him.” In the same interview, Sasho Donchev added: “When I told the story to Sasho Dikov two days later, on the following day, I received a message with the following short text: “You talk a lot on the phone” by Georgi Gergov.”

On April 28th, 2017, in an interview for the Capital newspaper Sasho Donchev claimed: “Everything is nonsense, the way it was made up – why the hell did they have to call for me? You may not agree and dislike it, and when you meet me somewhere, you can share it not as a prosecutor but as a person. However, you cannot tell me, “You have such a nice business, why would you risk it”. What is this? How so?”

1.2. Sotir Tsatsarov’s Statements

During a session of the SJC held on April 27th, 2017, the Prosecutor General stated:

There have been no pressure exerted on nor threats addressed to anyone by me. I have not wield any influence on the supervising prosecutor during an investigation – now a pre-trial proceeding (with regard to EWRC (Energy and Water Regulatory Commission) and the prices which are being formed, according to the reported costs by Overgas), on the contrary: I have refused to do so. The persons I have met with are not accused, they are not defendants, they do not have criminal records. The thesis that the individuals are being investigated is either malicious or, at least, uninformed. And one more thing – these people are not lawyers, they are not parties to lawsuits. I did not go to a secret meeting whatsoever. In my view, there is nothing secret about this meeting.

I have nothing to be ashamed of. I would have been ashamed, if certain investigations would not develop in the direction in which some people obviously do not want to develop. I have not violated the law, I have not breached my duties. Therefore, I’m not ashamed.

I do not wish to comment other people’s scenarios and their permanent scriptwriters. I will only say that there are no scriptwriters on this table. There are only people who are assigned to execute certain scenarios. However, they change – while writers remain the same.

  • Georgi Gergov’s Statements

On May 2nd, 2017, in an interview for “This Morning” broadcast, Georgi Gergov claimed the following:

“Sasho Dontchev and I met in my office in the Central Universal Store (TZUM) and he asked if I could organize a meeting with Sotir Tsatsarov. I called him right away and the next day all three of us met. Sasho Donchev had a folder containing three sheets of paper which Tsatsarov looked at and told him that he could not help him with the investigations. The Prosecutor General took these pieces of paper with him. I emphasize that Sasho Donchev was the one who had interest in and desire for this meeting”; “Tsatsarov replied that this was a particular case and that he could not help in that regard. That was it. The conversation was quite normal, human. I do not understand Sasho Donchev’s move”; “I did not see the files in the folder, there were three sheets of paper. Tsatsarov took them, looked at them, said it was a particular case and placed them in his pocket”

In his interview, Gergov talks about his relationship with Sotir Tsatsarov, assesses his personality, mentions that they have known each other for many years, since before Tsatsarov became a district judge. Gergov assesses the meeting between the three: “Human conversation, 15-20 minutes, regarding families, business. Very human, very normal”.

  • Data relevant to the assessment of the meeting’s importance:

Оn April 28th , 2017 in an interview for the Capital newspaper Sasho Donchev stated that in 2011 he filed a complaint to the European Commission on behalf of Overgas with regard to a dominant position of the Bulgarian Energy Holding, Bulgargas and Bulgartransgas on the gas market in Bulgaria.

During the interview held on April 20th, 2017 on BIT, Sasho Donchev showed a letter from the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office which indicates that a complaint has been filed against him with the Prosecutor’s Office by members of the management of Bulgargas EAD. The investigation of the Prosecutor’s Office is in regard to a complaint filed by Sasho Dontchev in his capacity as CEO of Overgas Inc to the European Commission against Bulgargas EAD, Bulgartransgas EAD and Gas Export concerning abuse of dominant position and denied access to the capacity of the entrance points of the Chiren storage.

On April 24th, 2017, the press-office of the Prosecutor’s Office officially informed the Media that on the same date the Specialized Anticorruption Unit under the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office instituted criminal proceedings against EWRC’s officials for malfeasances. It is indicated that the pre-trial proceedings were instituted following a complained to the Prosecutor General dated January 16th, 2017 which he forwarded to the SCPO as the competent authority. At the same time, it is specified that the merger of companies in Sofiagas (subsequently Overgas Networks AD) carried out in March 2015 will also be a subject to investigation, and in particular whether the EWRC’s actions in that regard have not led to the retention of unjustifiably high selling prices of gas. Another direction of the investigation was added – it is related to the complaint filed on January 20th, 2011 by Overgas Inc. AD to SEWRC to the European Commission against Bulgartransgas EAD for non-provision of access to the gas transmission system and to Chiren’s underground gas storage.

This is not the first pre-trial criminal proceeding in the field of energy. Between February and April 2013, the Prosecutor’s Office announced[2] that new pre-trial proceedings have been resumed and initiated in connection with the activities of state bodies and trade companies working in the energy sector with regard to violations or crimes committed.

The press release dated 03.04.2013 provides official information on five pre-trial proceedings instituted against officials of National Electric Company (NEC), Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism, SEWRC and CEZ Distributions Bulgaria AD. Thus far, there is no publicly disclosed information whether these pre-trial proceedings have ended and what the outcome thereof is.

On March 29th, 2017 it was established by a publication on the website “Plovdiv Online” that on February 21st, 2017, the municipal councilor Spas Gurnevski had reported an abuse with regard to the privatization of the International Plovdiv Fair AD. Following the expiration of the one-month reply term, Spas Gurnevski did not receive a response from the Prosecutor’s Office.

This is not the first complaint that required the conducting of a check concerning Georgi Gergov. The District Prosecutor’s Office in Varna instituted criminal proceedings under Art. 123, para. 1 of the Criminal Code in order to explicate the reasons and circumstances which led to the death of four persons following the collapse of the Veronica Hotel in Sunny Day Resort[3], operated by the joint-stock company, the majority owners of which are Georgi Gergov and his two sons. As of the current moment, there is no data whether the proceedings have ended.

  1. The statements made by the three participants and the publicly known facts allow the drawing of some unquestionable factual findings in so far as there are concurrent and non-contradictory situations:
  • Sasho Donchev is the managing director of Overgas, the publisher of the Sega newspaper, which publishes the caricatures of the artist Hristo Komarnitski;
  • Overgas is a private gas company whose main goal is to build and operate gas distribution networks and natural gas to end users. The Overgas group consists of companies specializing in the development, construction and provision of infrastructure services in the field of gasification. Overgas Network AD owns 10 licenses for distribution of and supply with natural gas in 51 municipalities. Sasho Donchev is the Executive Director of Overgas Inc. AD and Overgas Holding AD, Deputy Chairman of Overgas Inc. AD Board of Directors, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Overgas Holding AD
  • Georgi Gergov is a member of the Executive Bureau of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and owner and manager of a number of companies;
  • Sotir Tsatsarov is Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria and a ex officio member of the Supreme Judicial Council;
  • Sotir Tsatsarov and Georgi Gergov have long known each other and are good acquaintances;
  • In March 2017, a meeting between Sasho Donchev and the Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov took place in the office of Georgi Gergov, located in the TZUM building:
  • The meeting between the Prosecutor General and Sasho Donchev was arranged through the intermediation of Georgi Gergov;
  • During the meeting which lasted about 30 minutes, Donchev and Tsatsarov talked about business and families;
  • At the time of the meeting, companies related to the businesses of Georgi Gergov and Sasho Dontchev were subject to prosecutorial checks. The information circulated by the Prosecutor’s Office on 24.04.2017 did not indicate when the preliminary investigation had begun, but according to the reported facts it is clear that by the date of the meeting, the Prosecutor General at least knew about the complaint dated 16.01.2017 and subject thereof;
  • The meeting was held during a political campaign for parliamentary elections in March 2017;
  • The subject of the conversation was a prosecutorial check, which was carried out in connection with a complaint dated 16.01.2017. It is related to the activity of the gas distribution companies managed by Sasho Dontchev, as well as to a complaint submitted to the European Commission for a dominant position of  Bulgarian Energy Holding, Bulgargas and Bulgartransgas in the gas market in Bulgaria (all three claim that, although they give it a different interpretation);
  • Following the meeting, the newspaper publisher complained about an undue pressure from the Prosecutor General who admitted he feels affected by the caricatures of the newspaper Donchev is funding;
  • It is notorious that one of the objects of the caricatures published by the Sega newspaper is the Prosecutor General Tsatsarov.
  1. Legal standard for assessing the Prosecutor General’s conduct during his meeting with Sasho Donchev and Georgi Gergov and legal implications

3.1. Established National and International Standards

 As previously noted, there are higher standards of conduct in and outside the office judges, prosecutors and investigators have to abide by. Special requirements for following and enforcing high ethical standards and manifested independence have been introduced with regard to the Prosecutor General and the Chairpersons of Supreme Courts.

The ethical rules valid for Bulgarian magistrates stipulated in the Code of Ethical Conduct, adopted by the SJC, can be inferred from the so-called Bangalore principles – the generally acknowledged ethical judicial standards of the UN member states, which are also applicable to representatives of other magistrate professions in the judiciary.

Judges and prosecutors must uphold their independence and give an example of independence both in individual and institutional terms; they must demonstrate and affirm high standards of conduct in order to enhance public confidence in the judiciary, which is essential for maintaining the independence of magistrates.

Rules of professional conduct require all magistrates to maintain the public confidence, to avoid any actions that damage the dignity of their profession and to minimize the risk of a conflict of interest or any activity that would endanger their reputation and independence. Their conduct should not only be strictly in compliance with the criteria of impartiality and independence, but should also prevent the possible conflict or suspicion in their integrity and decorum. On a daily basis, magistrates exercise authority that has a significant effect on the fate of citizens. Society would not resign to grant this power to individuals with controversial integrity, competence or dubious personal standards. Therefore, the conduct of magistrates, both in office and outside their direct professional activities, must be fully consistent with the society’s confidence and its expectations.

According to the Constitution and the Judicial System Act, the Prosecutor General has exclusive legal powers in the area of prosecution and oversight over legality, which places him at the highest place in the judicial hierarchy. By virtue of Art. 126, para. 2 of the Constitution, the Prosecutor General conducts oversight over legality and methodological guidance with regard to the activities of all prosecutors. The system of the Prosecutor’s Office in Bulgaria is centralized. All administrative heads in the Prosecutor’s Office are subordinate to and accountable to the Prosecutor General (Article 136, para.4 of the JSA). The Prosecutor General, as the prosecutor with the highest hierarchical position, has the right to issue binding instructions relating to the work of every single prosecutor, including the work on specific cases (Articles 139 and 143 of the JSA). The Prosecutor General has the right to submit to the Supreme Judicial Council proposals for promotion or disciplining sanction of prosecutors (Articles 38 and 312 of the JSA). According to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria oversees the legality and provides methodological guidance on the activity of all prosecutors (Article 46, para. 5 of the CPC).

The legal powers of the Prosecutor General also determine the enhanced requirements and ethical standards related to his conduct, insofar as he can influence the work of all prosecutors and shape the overall image of the Prosecutor’s Office. The content of the ethical standards the Prosecutor General has to conform to, should inevitably take into consideration the current context and the impact on public opinion of the remaining unresolved issues and crises in the legitimacy of the judiciary and in particular the Prosecutor’s Office. This affects the general level of mistrust that Bulgarian citizens experience with regard to the judiciary’s ability to guarantee the rule of the law. On the one hand, it is sufficient to recall that for more than 7 years following the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment on the Kolevi v. Bulgaria case, no institutional and procedural mechanism has been put in place so as to establish effective safeguards for the impartiality and objectivity of any criminal prosecution against the Prosecutor General provided data about a committed crime is available. On the other hand, no thorough examination was carried out, although the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office head Nikolay Kokinov was dismissed  for a disciplinary violation that undermines the prestige of the judiciary, which was committed precisely in relation to an unauthorized meeting with a former prime minister and chairman of a political party during which his reply “You chose him yourself” raises doubts about the political and economic independence of the process of nominating and selecting senior prosecutors. The transparency of the decision-making concerning senior administrative positions was also not enhanced.

The conflict between the high regulatory requirements applicable to the Prosecutor General’s personality and the high distrust in the independence from corrupt influences of senior administrative positions in the judiciary, including the Prosecutor General requires the SJC to exert extraordinary activity to stop the dangerous processes which erode the overall idea of Statehood and have serious consequences for the citizens’ legal conscientiousness.

3.2. Stemming from this necessity, in order to avoid the suspicion that the SJC not only fails to fulfill its constitutional function but it becomes a separate factor undermining the rule of law by privileging the Prosecutor General due to his power resources, I put forward my legal assessment of his conduct:

Unauthorized contacts with a businessman and a newspaper publisher, especially at a time when his companies’ activities were being under prosecutorial check and during an election campaign, the use of intermediation of another businessman to arrange the meeting (whose business is also a subject to such a check) indeed undermines public confidence in the independence of the judiciary as it raises a number of legitimate doubts.

At the outset, the Prosecutor General should not place himself in a situation where there is a risk of discrediting the institution he governs. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that the SJC’s adequate reaction is the fair and impartial evaluation of the impression the objective observer was left with by the meeting as well the procedural means for establishing the truth. One of the attending businessmen reported that he has been subject to pressure by the Prosecutor General through sophisticated but unambiguous expressions – not to sponsor a political party (during an election campaign) and to review the direction the Media he finances is following. In the specific context of the meeting’s circumstances – in a private office and in the presence of only the intermediary who according to the facts put forward, appears to be a good acquaintance of the Prosecutor General for a long period of time – these statements made by the businessman-publisher cannot be ignored on the “word for word” principle. Finding oneself in such a situation is in itself highly problematic and unacceptable in view of the high professional requirements relevant to the Prosecutor General’s conduct.

It is untenable that a businessman who claims abuse of power by the Prosecutor General cannot prove the truth of his claims, hence no action should be taken by the judiciary authorities. The European Court of Human Rights has upheld in a series of judgments against Bulgaria (the cases of Marinova and Others[4], Boikanov[5]) that the citizen complaining about corrupt conduct or unlawful acts of state bodies cannot be placed in an objectively impossible position to prove state corruption, so as not to be accused of libel or defamation. It is precisely in order not to create and maintain public suspicion pertaining to the existence of a danger that the abused citizen could be subjected to repressive revanchism, all magistrates must observe a conduct which excludes the risk of being involved in or participate in such situations. To a greater extent this is true for the Prosecutor General who is in charge of the institution competent to investigate the alleged unlawful conduct and all prosecutors are subordinate to him.

Therefore, the mere fact that in this particular case the Prosecutor General, knowing in advance the form and the participants in the meeting, had gone to it, compromises him. Moreover, it puts at risk the public’s confidence in the impartiality of the actions undertaken by the Prosecutor’s Office immediately after the shedding of light on the meeting in the economic area in which the businessman who complained from undue influence is doing business.

At the same time, the circumstance that the whistle-blower who claims state corruption or abuse of power does not have the tools and power resources to verify the truth of his allegations does not mean that it is acceptable for the competent authorities, including the SJC, to not act. The United Nations Convention against Corruption, ratified by Bulgaria, establishes the obligation for the States, taking into account the principle of judicial independence, to initiate measures to enhance honesty and prevent corruption among magistrates, including through the introduction of appropriate rules of conduct for the members of the judiciary. The specific application of this requirement to administrative positions in the judiciary preconditions that any suspicion which has led to a real undermining of the authority of the judiciary and the basic functioning of the rule of law requires, if the involved administrator does not resign himself, actions for her/his dismissal from office. This is so because undermining the confidence in the office of senior administrative positions leads to distrust in the entire institutional system. To the greatest extent this is relevant to the Prosecutor General due to citizens’ awareness of his great potential to influence and impact the work of the Prosecutor’s Office and on rank-and-file magistrates. Some of these options are not public and transparent, thus their public control is impeded. Therefore, the reputation of the Prosecutor General must be flawless, and any involvement in a situation that gives rise to reasonable doubt related to a corruption pressure or influence should have as an inevitable legal effect a dismissal from office.

In view of the case’s particularity, the Prosecutor’s Office is the competent authority to establish the truth about the conversation between the three participants because the information provided by one of them contains data on a crime. However, the objective visibility of what happened and how it affects the credibility of the prosecution’s independence and the legitimacy of its actions is significant for the SJC’s powers.

The unauthorized contacts of a Prosecutor General with businessmen who are subjected to prosecutorial checks and who have political positions not only jeopardize the authority of the judiciary, but actually undermine it as it creates a sense of rule of law deficit.

The societal attitude towards such events is unambiguous and irreconcilable. Public opinion links the situation to unacceptable lobbyism, abuse of power and corruption. The unauthorized meeting of the Prosecutor General, who had accepted off-the-record intermediation from a politician and a businessman with a businessman who is being checked by the Prosecutor’s Offices, reinforces the impression that the prosecution’s activity to institute criminal investigations and legality oversight is conditioned not by the grounds provided for in the law, but by personal contacts, opaque influence and corrupt practices.

The Prosecutor General’s refusal to answer questions asked by members of the SJC deepened the crises of confidence in the judicial power due to the actual demonstration of disobedience to the law.

During the same hearing, the Prosecutor General damaged the authority of the judiciary also by claiming that the SJC’s members who insisted on examining the case were „executants“ of unnamed “scriptwriters”. This accusation is particularly reprehensible because, without being substantiated by facts, it discredits the independence of the judicial body and devalues ​​the legal powers of the Prosecutor General who has the sovereign constitutional power to investigate the data about the dependency of the individual members of the SJC and provided he proves them – to institute criminal prosecution against them. When the head of the state prosecution is capable of making accusations without making an effort to duly motivate them and this does not have any consequences, it creates the dangerous impression of the institution’s degradation.

The Supreme Administrative Court’s[6] case-law on the application of Chapter 16 of the JSA consistently upholds that independence and integrity are the qualities of the judiciary that guarantee the effective conduct of its primary function in the State – maintaining and restoring the established legal order. Following these considerations, the legislator has explicitly indicated that magistrates’ actions or inactions which lead to the undermining of the prestige of the judiciary, cast doubt on its independence, impartiality and integrity, are grounds for disciplinary liability. In Ruling on Interpretation No. 3/2007 by the Supreme Administrative Court, on case No 4/2007, when clarifying what constitutes the undermining of the prestige of a given profession the Court upholds that “a constituent element is not the act itself as a violation of moral norms, but a negative moral assessment which is given by the sanctioning authority to the deed as “incompatible with moral” as well as that non-compliance with works ethics may result in decreasing or losing public confidence in the institutions, to lead to a lack of public support with regard to the overall activity of the State. Moreover, the court even upholds that it is not mandatory that the prestige is undermined; it suffices that the conduct was of such nature as to actually threaten to decrease or lose public confidence in the state institutions.

In the present case, the widespread public suspicions of conflict of interest and trade in influence in themselves undermine the prestige of the judiciary, which stems from the Prosecutor General’s personal conduct.

  1. The abovementioned considerations make it possible to conclude that sufficient evidence is available so that the competent institutions are to take action in exercising of their statutory powers:

I present this Statement to the attention of the members of the SJC Prosecutor’s College and the Minister of Justice, who can exercise their powers under Art. 175, para. 5 in conjunction with Art. 173 JSA in conj. with Art. 129, para. 3, item 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Apart from the specific case, addressing the issue of the acceptable conduct of magistrates, including senior representatives of the judiciary, aims at conducting a professional and public discussion and establishing ethical standards. Complying with transparent and fair procedures for integrity vetting of magistrates, provided there is a reasonable doubt, is a guarantee for maintaining confidence in justice. In this regard, debates on ethical rules and standards for factual and legal assessment in their application are indispensable in all institutions. Therefore, I present the proposal to the attention of the Inspectorate under the SJC and the EC in view of the powers of each institution and with the conviction that it could be of use in conducting a professional and public discussion on the principle questions raised.

                   Respectfully: Kalin Kalpakchiev – Member of the Supreme Judicial Council

[1] Stalev, Zh., Bulgarian Civil Procedure Law, S., 2006, p. 123.

[2] http://www.prb.bg/bg/news/aktualno/predprietite-deistviia-ot-strana-na-prokuratu-3318/

http://www.prb.bg/bg/news/aktualno/razshiriavane-obkhvata-na-proverkata-v-oblast-3358/

http://www.prb.bg/bg/news/aktualno/rezultati-ot-proverkata-v-energetikata-3430/

http://www.prb.bg/bg/news/publikacii-i-intervyuta/zam-glavniia-prokuror-borislav-sarafov-razchi-3443/

[3]http://www.prb.bg/bg/news/aktualno/okrzhna-prokuratura-varna-povdigna-obvineniya-za-s/

 [4] http://www.mjs.bg/47/2638/

[5]  http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{“itemid”:[“001-168384”]}

[6] Decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court on admin.case №3889/2010, chamber VІІ, admin.case № 1065/2012, chamber VІ; admin.case № 6715/2010, chamber VІІ; admin.case №3890/2010, chamber VІІ; admin.case №5767/2010, chamber VІІ; admin.case №4003/2010, chamber VІІ; admin.case № 3752/2010, chamber VІІ; admin.case №10 803/2010 in a panel of 5 judges, chamber ІІ; admin.case № 3891/2010, chamber VІІ.

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