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Bulgarian Interior Minister Sides with Murky Head of Court.

Bulgarian Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, has distanced himself from the appointment policy practiced by the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), insisting that the observance of the procedures is of primary concern in the matter.

According to Tsvetanov, the election of Vladimira Yaneva as a Chairperson of the Sofia City Court (SCC) strictly abides by the corresponding rules.

In an interview for bTV, the Bulgarian Interior Minister commented on the controversial appointment of Yaneva, a close family friend of his, who won the job in a 18-to-7 vote despite her mere four years of experience as a judge.

Yaneva's appointment triggered a spate of resignations of senior judges amid widespread calls for the dissolution of VSS.

Dismissing allegations that he had exerted pressure on VSS in Yaneva's case, Tsvetanov further defended her by saying that the violations that she had reportedly carried out were due to the immense work overload at the Criminal Department of the court.

When asked to comment on Justice Minister Margarita Popova's remark that if she were in Yaneva's place she would have resigned, Tsvetanov urged Popova to intensify work on Bulgaria's Trade Registry instead, at the same time criticizing the judicial administration for the delayed public procurement procedures for the so-called specialized court.

At the same time, Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister claimed that Bulgarian right-wing parties were pulling the strings of VSS.

"This Supreme Judicial Council has turned into a political organ. It has become a function of the Blue Coalition. You can see who backs judges' demands- it is Ivan Kostov", Tsvetanov insisted.

The Deputy Prime Minister cited as an example Nelly Kutskova, Spokesperson of the Union of Judges in Bulgaria (UJB), asking "Wasn't Nelly Kutskova Deputy Minister in the political cabinet of the right-wing forces, was she not a party-backed candidate running for Vice President when Petar Stoyanov lost the elections?".

Tsvetanov also recommended that UJB raise professional standards and step up work on stalled trials.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Geographic Code:4EXBU
Date:Jun 27, 2011
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