Lozan Panov: The request to remove Andon Mitalov has ambiguities

Lozan Panov

The head of Supreme Court of Cassation Lozan Panov expressed concern over by Justice Minister Danail Kirilo’s request to remove judge Andon Mitalov from the Supreme Judicial Council.

Minister Kirilov moved to propose Mitalov’s removal after the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions against Milanov, banning him from entering the U.S. The Department of State cites involvement in ‘significant’ corruption as reason for the ban. Minister Kirilov argues Mitalov damaged the Supreme Justice Council’s reputation by receiving the ban.

However, the head of the Supreme Court of Cassation is not convinced the request is based on solid arguments. He commented on the subject and targeted Kirilov on an ironic note.

“Not to worry the government’s best lawyer in any way, but I dare claim that his proposal contains many ambiguities and I am sure the subject will be discussed today at the Supreme Judicial Council’s assembly” Panov said.

He went on to say that the question of what are the specific actions Mitalov did to damage the council’s reputation remain unclear in the minister’s request. Nor is it clear in what regard he failed to fulfil his duties.

“When have those things taken place and during which case. It is paramount for evidence to be submitted.”

Panov sent an official letter Tuesday to the Prosecutor General and the Anticorruption Commission with a reminder he is expecting both to provide information regarding the announcement by U.S. Secretary of State last week. Panov sent an official ask to both on February 6 – a day after Pompeo announced the measures – whether the Anticorruption Commission or the Prosecutor’s Office have ever received information about illegal acts by Mitalov or complaints against him. Panov stressed he is still awaiting response to both letters.

The Supreme Judicial Council’s members from the judiciary gave Kirilov one week to provide concrete evidence against Mitalov. Kirilov still maintains, however, that his request goes to the institution’s reputation, which is damaged by the mere existence of the sanction, and he should not be made to provide evidence to the U.S.’s claim for involvement in corruption.

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