Supreme Judicial Council Adopts Declaration against Closure of Specialized Courts

The Plenum of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) Thursday voted, 18-3, to adopt a declaration against the closure of the specialized criminal courts and prosecution offices as proposed by legislative revisions which did not reach a plenary debate before President Rumen Radev dissolved Parliament on Wednesday. The discussion on the declaration lasted two hours.

The declaration expresses the Plenum's full support for the magistrates and staff who oppose the closure of the specialized jurisdictions.

It will block the justice system and create tension among the magistrates and the public at a time of political instability and economic uncertainty, the declaration says.The amendments in question, moved by Democratic Bulgaria, were approved on first reading by the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee on April 28.

"There Is Such a People" and "Rise Up! Mutri Out!" and "BSP for Bulgaria" backed the bills amending and supplementing the Judicial System Act and the Criminal Procedure Code, whereas GERB-UDF abstained.

The document defending of the specialized criminal courts was proposed by Boyan Magdalinchev, Tsvetinka Pashkunova and KalinaChapkanova. Pashkunova described it as an act of solidarity.

She argued that the revisions were submitted in a way that indicated disregard for the separation of powers and that they had not been put up for public discussion - all of which was a demonstration of disrespect for the institutions and an act of revanchism.

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