BILI Director Ms. Gyaurova-Wegertseder: Façade Judicial Reform Is Made in Bulgaria

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Ms. Gyaurova-Wegertseder, Director of BILI, gave an interview for BulgariaOnAir, where she commented on the Civil Council with the Supreme Judicial Council, the expectations towards the “government” of the judiciary, and the judicial reforms in Bulgaria. Here follow abstracts of her interview:

We shall be a corrective of the Supreme Judicial Council work, we will not control it. We will follow the course of fulfillment of SJC’s annual program; whether it acts as transparently and objectively as possible, both in its work with us as members of the Civil Council, and as regards of all magistrates in the country, whose rights it must defend."

Facade judicial reform is made in Bulgaria. On the surface there are some attempts to better the rules, and this is widely publicized – you saw how the members of the SJC from the Parliament quota were elected; but under the surface, unfortunately, the same problems remain. We, our organization in particular, with the project we started – Transparent judicial appointments initiative, try to overjump this façade reform making in the country and to dig a little deeper so that the reforms that are being made be really stable rather that change from government to government. When you dig to the heart of the judiciary, that is the personnel policy and the advancement in the system, and see that the deeper you dig, the more it hurts and more you find, then it becomes clear that the only way to succeed is to be honest and transparent, objective and open to the people you work with.

What has been going on for the last four years is aiming at a systematic debasement of any of the three branches, and mostly of the judiciary. No one ruling through the years has loved the courts or wanted to befriend with the courts; they wanted to subject the courts. However, what has been happening for the last four years is much more exaggerated and brightly visible than before. There is a purposeful degradation of each of the branches; I’m not talking about the judiciary only.

What is being done to the executive, to the legislative branches, aims to debase them so that people lose the sense that there is some authority, that they can rely on justice, that they can rely on independence on behalf of the court and the prosecution office.

I can not say that there is a hundred percent division between the three branches as of this moment and this interweaving, I believe, is purposeful so that the limits blur and people lose their sense of justice. They lose it and we see that.

I do not think that such a debasement works in favor of the democracy in the country. On the contrary, to me it is a step backwards.

The judicial reform may become not façade through the efforts of everyone and here I mean the Supreme Judicial Council together with the ordinary judges and prosecutors, with civil society representatives.
Stable reform is done through on-field work. I mean what is important to people, not only what is happening at the SJC or what happens in Sofia. There needs to be gone on the spot, to be worked on-filed, in particular courts and prosecution offices, for when judges and prosecutors there see that there is positive attitude to them, that their work is valued, and that this is objective, and it could reach out here, figuratively speaking, to the Sublime Porte, this changes them and it changes their consciousness.