By Georgi Gotev
A Bulgarian top court has accepted as proof Valia Ahchieva’s investigative report published yesterday (22 April) which raises serious doubts over the legality of the appointment of the head of Bulgaria’s largest court.
Famous investigative journalist Valia Ahchieva started contributing pro bono to this website since 11 February. Her weekly investigative program with the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) was suspended last January without any legal grounds, in what appears to be another attempt to silence journalism that disturbs those on power in Bulgaria.
In the meantime her publications in English language on the Brussels-based platform have started producing results, which is amazing given that disturbing journalistic publications in Bulgaria are disregarded by the authorities by default.
Yesterday Ahchieva revealed that the Bulgarian citizenship of the chairman of Sofia City Court Alexey Trifonov is highly doubtful, and that he may be vulnerable from Russia influence.
Today, a 3-member panel of the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS), headed by Natalia Marcheva, in the case contesting the election of the President of the Sofia City Court, ordered the Ministry of Justice to request documents proving the legal grounds for the Bulgarian citizenship of the elected Chairman of Sofia City Court Alexey Trifonov. Thus, the Supreme Administrative Court accepted the evidence from the information provided in the journalistic investigation of Valia Ahchieva, published yesterday with our website euelectionsbulgaria.com.
At the end of last year a concours was held by VAS to elect a Chairman of the Sofia City Court. The General Assembly of Judges in the Sofia City Court put forward its candidate-judge Evgeni Georgiev. But most surprisingly, the Supreme Judicial Council elected another participant in the competition – Alexey Trifonov.
And he took office, as chairman of the largest court in Bulgaria.
In protest, the deputy presidents of the Court resigned.
Judge Evgeni Georgiev, second in rank in the concours, filed a lawsuit against the election of Alexey Trifonov.
This case is being led by VAS and should have ended today.
But it did not come to an end because of the investigation of Valya Ahchieva.
Ahchieva revealed facts that cast doubt on the Bulgarian citizenship of Judge Alexey Trifonov, who was born in the town of Kursk, USSR in 1972, obtained only at the age of 16 a Bulgarian Birth Certificate and was entered in the Register of Bulgarian Citizens .
The defense of the defendants in the case – the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and the lawyer of Judge Alexey Trifonov strongly opposed this – to prove whether he was legally granted Bulgarian citizenship Alexey because that was not the subject of the case.
However, the court upheld the request of lawyer Alexander Kashumov, who represented the applicant in the case – Judge Evgeni Georgiev, who was ranked second in the competition and was elected by the General Assembly of the Judges in Sofia City Court.
The SJC has in fact accepted that the question of the nationality of the winner of the competition is important for the fair resolution of the case.
The Judiciary Act requires all magistrates to have only Bulgarian citizenship.
And this, along with the moral qualities of each magistrate, is a guarantee of an independent judiciary.
The next SAC meeting is scheduled for 21 May.
Until then, the Ministry of Justice must submit all the documents under the case of Alexey Trifonov.