Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on November 19 dismissed on disciplinary grounds Sofia City Court (SCC) judge Rumyana Chenalova, and launched disciplinary proceedings against former SCC chairwoman Vladimira Yaneva.
The council merged three disciplinary proceedings against Chenalova in a single one. The first one was launched after the French ambassador to Bulgaria Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes in December 2014 accused Chenalova of participating in a classic theft of a company through a corporate insolvency case. The other two proceedings were launched subsequently following the discovery of other violations.
The disciplinary proceeding against Yaneva follow a request by justice minister Hristo Ivanov from March, in which he claimed that Yaneva had permitted the use of special intelligence means long after the expiration of the legal deadlines.
Meanwhile, investigative journalism website Bivol has spread several tapped conversations between Yaneva and Chenalova that suggest the involvement of several high ranking court officials and even of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in the cases.
Problems in the judiciary that lead to widespread corruption and weak enforcement of the rule of law have long been a major hurdle for a stronger and more inclusive economic growth in Bulgaria, the poorest EU country. The European Commission has been pushing for reforms in the judiciary ever since Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007.