The Oldest BG Human Rights Organization Pushes to Oust Geshev
Removal of Ivan Geshev from the post of Chief Prosecutor, resignation of the members of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) who voted for him, the resignation of the chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Sotir Tsatsarov, closure of the specialized courts and prosecutor's offices, resignation of the government and amendments to the Constitution in the part on the judiciary. These are the demands of the oldest human rights organization - Bulgarian Human Rights Advocates (BHRA).
On Tuesday, the BHRA's Board of Directors issued a position stating that the protests of Bulgarian citizens in the last month were provoked by corruption in Bulgaria, the feeling of lack of justice and the rule of law. According to BHRA, the functioning of the Bulgarian state as a legal one is impossible without establishing sufficient guarantees for the administration of independent justice and for effective control over the activities of the prosecution, investigative bodies and the police.
Here is what the BHRA position says:
1. We insist on the immediate convening of a meeting of the Supreme Judicial Council to begin the procedure for the dismissal of Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev. Since taking office, the Prosecutor General has repeatedly committed acts that have damaged the prestige of the judiciary, including by carrying out, under his control, illegal disclosures of data collected through special intelligence means. According to Art. 129, para.3, item 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, this is a ground for his dismissal.
2. Following Ivan Geshev’s vacating of office, we demand the immediate resignation of all members of the Supreme Judicial Council who had voted for the election of Ivan Geshev as Prosecutor General. Despite repeated warnings from political parties, state bodies and non-governmental organizations about the lack of professional competence, moral qualities and sufficient guarantees for Ivan Geshev’s integrity, the Supreme Judicial Council elected him to the post of Chief Prosecutor, for which it must be held accountable.
3. The state of the Bulgarian prosecutor's office is a direct consequence of former Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov’s work, who has so far failed to provide Bulgarian citizens with a satisfactory explanation for his participation in CUM-gate and the facts announced in the prime minister's recordings. As chairman of the Anti-corruption commission, Sotir Tsatsarov has not yet provided an explanation for the waiver of a claim of more than 350 million in the Sofia City Court case against Tsvetan Vassilev and related companies. The public should also be informed whether ACC has paid the statutory fee on the renounced part of the claim (over BGN 14 million). We insist on the immediate informing of the Bulgarian citizens on these issues and on the immediate resignation of Sotir Tsatsarov in his capacity as chairman of ACC.
4. We insist on immediate actions by the National Assembly to repeal the provisions in the Bulgarian legislation, which established the specialized criminal courts and the prosecutor's office. Throughout their functioning all concerns expressed during their establishment were confirmed, i.e. part of their activity is directed against the legal order in the Republic of Bulgaria. We remind you that the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act from February 2020, granted powers to these bodies to request and impose of precautionary measures under the Civil Procedure Code, which violates Art. 119, para.3 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, prohibiting the establishment of emergency courts.
5. Police violence in Bulgaria remains an unresolved issue, despite more than 50 decisions of the European Court of Human Rights against Bulgaria, which establish a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to police violence. Due to the non-implementation of these decisions by the Bulgarian state, we demand the immediate resignation of the government.
6. We urge the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to immediately initiate a procedure for amending the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria in the part of the judiciary, in order to overcome the identified systemic problems and to create a suitable constitutional basis for the establishment of legal order in the Republic of Bulgaria.