The President of the SAC and the members of the SJC owe their resignations

The Bulgarian society was shocked by the reported data that on Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26, 2022, in the elections for members of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) from the judicial quota, 200 votes were cast through the system in which judges have to vote. The figure ignites blatant outrage as only 28 judges entered the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) building where the voting took place.

Moral judgments and outrage are the little problem. The significant problem is that the facts presented unequivocally indicate serious violations. Violations committed by people who are empowered and obliged to oversee the rule of law and ensure justice.

The story portrayed by the media and NGOs reveals the deep corruption of the judicial system, whose reform has been resisted by the puppeteers of corruption in Bulgaria and their minions for decades.

The falsification of the judicial vote is a failure of both the leadership of the SAC and the SJC in their duty to organize and conduct transparent and fair elections for the judicial quota in the highest personnel body of the judiciary. It is also an assault on judicial independence and self-governance.

The complicity of a number of judges in corrupting the system is also worrying, as they are kept in obedience and subordination by the administrative heads of the courts. Even before the "election" itself, Atanaska Disheva, a member of the SJC, warned, "It is being commented in public that administrative heads of courts are collecting voting cards of judges or are planning to do so."

The executive is also joining in this celebration of shamelessness. The figures released yesterday were only provided by the Ministry of Justice when journalists asked for a second time. The information was available at the Ministry of Justice's General Directorate of Security, then headed by Maria Pavlova, who is now deputy to acting Chief Prosecutor Sarafov. Then-minister of Justice Krum Zarkov and Pavlova are the persons responsible for not providing the information in February this year and should also be held accountable for this.

This is particularly important as the Prosecutor's Office has been contacted by the Anti-Corruption Fund with allegations of possible crimes committed during the election of members of the SJC in 2022 and there is still no information on the progress of the investigation.

This shameless act of people robbing us of our right to justice comes after many boundaries of decency and law have been crossed. However, the boundless treachery has finally brought down the scenery of theatrical, imitative justice and shown that behind it are people either without the ability to counter such crimes or who are complicit in them.

Allowing this aggression against the rule of law requires those responsible to leave the judiciary. They cannot purge it of evildoers, but they can purge it of themselves – the little good achievable in the face of this disgrace.

That is why we call on the President of the SAC, Georgi Cholakov, and the members of the SJC to immediately resign and the National Assembly to urgently organize the obscenely delayed procedure for the election of new members of the SJC from the parliamentary quota.