The changes in the Criminal Procedure Code and the Judiciary Act, which introduce a mechanism for the supervision of the Prosecutor General, are published in the “State Gazette”. By law, they must enter into force three days after their promulgation.
The new texts were adopted by the parliament last week. They are part of the commitments undertaken by Bulgaria in connection with the funds under the Recovery Plan. Our country has been criticized for decades for the lack of control over the figure of the Attorney General. So far, however, no steps have been taken to address this issue.
According to the changes, crimes committed by the Prosecutor General will be investigated by a specially appointed judge from the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court of Cassation. The evidence will be collected by investigating police officers appointed by the Minister of the Interior. After the investigation is completed, the judge will return to his old position.
Along with the changes in the Code of Criminal Procedure, new texts were also adopted in the Law on the Judiciary. With them, the required majority for the appointment and removal from office of the chief prosecutor was reduced from 17 to 13 votes.
This new line can be used very soon. Currently, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has two proposals for the removal of Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev. On one of them, the procedure started on Thursday and the council decided to start collecting evidence.
This change makes it possible to reduce the influence of the head of public prosecution in the council. During the voting on the changes on the proposal of GERB, it was accepted that the presidents of the supreme courts should also be appointed and removed by 13 votes. However, after the harsh reaction that followed and before the final vote, the party abandoned these texts.
And now where?
The changes come into force in an extremely tense situation between the prosecutor’s office and the parliament. GERB demands that Geshev be removed from his post due to suspicions that he interfered in an unacceptable manner in the investigation of the so-called an assassination attempt against him – an explosion near his car on May 1 on the Sofia-Samokov road. These accusations were made by Geshev’s deputy and head of the investigation Borislav Sarafov.
The Attorney General started talking about treason and brought the Barcelonagate investigation out of oblivion. A few days ago it became clear that Geshev could request the immunity of GERB leader Boyko Borisov due to suspicions of money laundering related to this scandal.
It is likely that the law published on Friday will be attacked by Geshev before the Constitutional Court. The Attorney General is also trying to delay his removal by asking whether the SJC, with an expired mandate, can decide this matter.