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(DF) President Radev Vetoes Provision Amending Judicial System Act

September 15 (BTA) - Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has imposed a suspensory veto on a provision of a law amending the Judicial System Act passed on September 3, 2020, the Presidential Press Secretariat said on Tuesday. The provision concerned makes it possible for a member of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), once his or her term in office has expired, to be appointed to a higher position in the judicial system than the one occupied before his or her election to the Council, subject to certain eligibility conditions. Radev argues that magistrates' appointments and promotions should be based solely on objective criteria, such as qualifications, skills, integrity and a sense of independence, which is the principal guarantee of judicial independence, and that magistrates' membership in the SJC cannot qualify them to acquire the accomplishments needed to occupy a higher position in the judicial system nor can be assimilated to the achievements required for a promotion. "Where the law creates prerequisites for particular individuals to be appointed to higher-level judicial authorities on the basis of criteria other than the objective ones, there is a risk that considerations of political nature may prevail and, hence, a risk to magistrates' independence," the head of State points out. In his opinion, the amended version of the provision violates yet another important constitutional principle: equality and inadmissibility of privileges based on personal or social status. Radev insists that limiting the eligibility for promotion to SJC members who are magistrates and have not yet reached the highest levels of the judicial system discriminates against the rest of the SJC members. The President fears that if the amended version is enacted, it would encourage a tendency of the National Assembly electing ever fewer lawyers and scholars to the SJC, which erodes the quality of the Council's performance and its independence. Besides this, there is a limited number of positions at the top of the judiciary and competitions for them are announced rarely. In Radev's words, Parliament is turning the SJC members even before the end of their term into competitors of the magistrates seeking a promotion and thus gives rise of the Council denying them equal treatment. In May 2020, these so-called "career bonuses" were attacked by the Supreme Court of Cassation before the Constitutional Court as violating the principles of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary. NV/LG // 16 Septembre 2020, 08:00

Source: BTA Free News

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