Text translated from Bulgarian to English, published on the website of the High Court of Cassation by the Head Judge, original text can be found here:
News and official announcements by the Supreme Court of Cassation in Bulgaria
Statement by the President of the Supreme Court of Cassation in regard to the case “Jock Palfreeman”
Bulgaria has crossed the line beyond which law and legitimacy fall prey to political expediency and arbitrariness. Cleverly manipulated by media that serves behind-the-scenes interests, the Bulgarian citizens seem ready to forfeit their rights and freedoms in the name of revenge for “shedding Bulgarian blood.”
In the recent weeks, cynical players have been using one human tragedy in order to skillfully stir up public opinion against judges and to provoke regular citizens and politicians to decide cases. Let us hope that there will not come a day when the proponents of “street justice” have to feel on their own backs the execution of the law by a “legitimate Trial Chamber”, selected at someone’s discretion.
Unfortunately, the democratization process in our country has not been conducted with sufficient debate or mass education campaign. It is not demonstrated to citizens what law constitutes, how it works and why it should be respected.
Today, it is the very same renters of the prevailing benightedness who use the case of the Australian citizen Jock Palfreeman for corrupt purposes. It is a fruitless illusion that a sentence – any sentence – could fill the gap in the hearts of parents who have lost their child.
For this reason, one of the most remarkable achievements of modern civilization is that sentences are determined by judges and not by the victims of the crime.
The mediocre leaders who are toying with people’s basic emotions are not a phenomenon in Bulgaria. However, the worst could happen if those leaders were backed up by magistrates for whom the “law” stands for what the said leaders want. That’s why they are looking for the right person to break those who are still abiding strictly by the law… or maybe they have already found that person. I think we are about to find out very soon…
I implore the writers of the hysterical campaign surrounding the conditional release of Jock Palfreeman not to set fire to Rome just because at this moment they feel the need to blame the Christians.
In connection to the speculations that the Australian citizen is deprived of the right to move freely because of a pending decision by the Supreme Court of Cassation, I call on the Trial Chamber which consists of chairman and rapporteur Zhanina Nacheva, and members Biser Troyanov and Nadezhda Trifonova. I call on them to reduce to the minimum the deadline for ruling on this case, which is the simplest case in terms of law and which will end the lawlessness and iniquity that have already delivered a heavy blow to our country’s image. Because of that and with the Trial Chamber’s consent, the date of the hearing was rescheduled because the Supreme Court of Justice should not participate in creating prerequisites to a conviction in the European Court of Human Rights. I appeal to you, esteemed judges, to take on your responsibility because the shame, which will be caused by the crude suppression of the Bulgarian laws, will not only be yours but of the whole institution.
I also believe that the presiding judge of the supreme court should not remain silent when the execution of a judicial act has become a political issue par excellence. I call on the interior minister to comply immediately with the ruling of the Sofia Court of Appeal because, up to this moment, he crudely violates the right of an Australian citizen to move freely.
A while ago, I expressed my concerns that we were facing a system that had recruited large human and material resources to build a well-functioning machine that skillfully uses the services, the media, the economy, the politics and, above all, the judiciary. Its actions are not transparent and public but secretive and shady. Its mistakes are not announced to the society but held back and deeply hidden; its opponents are being persecuted to the end and its secrets are carefully guarded and could not be revealed. I called on my colleagues to face and fight against this machine together and with no fear. Today, with great pain, I repeat my request. Because this machine has managed to take over our entire institutional infrastructure. It can crown or destroy anyone and everyone who dare stand in its way towards complete control over the state.
And yet, there should be no room for despair because the court is the guardian of democracy and а desperate democrat is an oxymoron. Stand for legitimacy, my colleagues, because the meaning of our life on Еarth is much more than satisfying our primary desires. Do not yield to those who seem powerful today, because protecting the rights of the individual is not a matter of choice for us, but a professional duty. Be strong and keep the dignity of your court dress even in those moments when the lack of support in the network of connections of the former State Security will make you feel like a tree without roots!
I know that for the truly independent of you who follow the law and are impartial, the “support” of the Supreme Judicial Council will be expressed in the form of disciplinary proceedings. Nevertheless, do not betray your conscience! You will also be attacked on an institutional level and the media lynch of the propaganda machine will be inhumane, but please remember that true faith can never be broken! We are destined to succeed because by standing on the side of the law, we stand on the side of the truth and the truth is guarded from above!
Lozan Panov – President of the Supreme Court of Cassation in Bulgaria