On 16 May, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Rechters voor Rechters (Judges for Judges) observed an appeal hearing at the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) in a case against the dismissal of Miroslava Todorova, a Judge who had been serving on the Sofia City Court.
Judge Todorova is known for critical commentary on the problems in the judiciary in Bulgaria. In this hearing, the Prosecutor’s Office supported Judge Todorova’s appeal against her dismissal, but the Court has not yet issued its decision.
The ICJ previously raised concerns over Judge Todorova’s dismissal from her position of judge and as Chair of the Bulgarian Judges Association, in July 2012. The ICJ was particularly concerned at the disproportionate sanctions for delay of several reasoned cases, which is a problematic, but usual, practice among judges in Bulgaria.
The ICJ also expressed concern at the fact that the proceedings took place some six years after the limitation period ended. Further questions arose as to the composition of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), the body which both initiated the proceedings and conducted the hearing, and its independence in this case. (See ICJ Statement: http://www.icj.org/bulgaria-icj-raises-concern-at-dismissal-of-judge-todorova/)
The trial observation mission consisted of Professor Doctor Günter Witzsch (Germany), who observed the trial on behalf of the ICJ, and Judge Janneke Bockwinkel (the Netherlands, on behalf of Judges for Judges). The ICJ and Judges for Judges will continue to follow the case of the dismissal of Judge Miroslava Todorova and will issue a detailed report following the issuing of the decision by the SAC.
For further information
- Róisín Pillay, Director of the Europe Programme, roisin.pillay(a)icj.org
- Temur Shakirov, Legal Adviser, Europe Programme, temur.shakirov(a)icj.org