ECtHR: Bulgaria violated rights of top judge who criticised government
Bulgaria violated the Article 10 freedom of expression right of a judge who was critical of the government, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled.
The case concerned two sets of disciplinary proceedings against the applicant, Miroslava Todorova, who had been a judge and the president of the Bulgarian Union of Judges at the relevant time.
The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) ordered a reduction of her salary, followed by her dismissal on the grounds of delays in dealing with her cases.
The ECtHR said the disciplinary proceedings against the applicant and the sanctions imposed on her had amounted to an interference with the exercise of her right to freedom of expression which had not been “necessary in a democratic society” in pursuing the legitimate aims set out in Article 10 of the Convention.
It concluded that the main aim of the disciplinary proceedings against the applicant and of the sanctions imposed on her by the SJC had not been to ensure compliance with the time-limits for concluding cases, but to penalise and intimidate her on account of her criticism of the SJC and the executive.