23 November, 2007
Plenary Session of the Supreme Court on November 23 repeatedly elected Ivars Bičkovičs the Chairman of the Chamber of Criminal Cases. This will be already the third term for Bičkovičs in the position of the Chairman of the Chamber, for the first term he vas elected in 1996, repeatedly – in 2002.
Reporting on the accomplished during the previous term, I. Bičkovičs noted that the amount of work of the Chamber of Criminal Cases has considerably increased: every year the Chamber received about 400 cases for hearing, but in average 200 remain from the previous year. Statistics show that in only half of the cases reviewed under the procedure of appeal, rulings of the regional courts remain unchanged. In its turn, rulings of the Chamber of Criminal Cases when the cases are reviewed under the procedure of cassation, in 80 – 90% remain unchanged. I. Bičkovičs mentioned suspension of cases and intensity of work of the judges among the most significant problems in the work of the Chamber of Criminal Cases. About 40% of the appointed cases are not heard in due time and are suspended what causes great number of suspended cases and additional work load. The reasons for the big number of suspended cases, as I. Bičkovičs noted, are frequent absence of attorneys, problems of convoying the accused persons, frequent illnesses of the persons involved in reviewing of the cases, as well as additional duties assigned to the appellate instance court under the new Criminal Law.
Settlement of these problems was mentioned by I. Bičkovičs as the most important task for the future. When asked regarding the attitude towards the Law on Judiciary which is now being worked out, I. Bičkovičs admitted that he is against such changes as in fifteen years the existing system has not shown any essential drawbacks and necessity to change the existing order. Besides, as I. Bičkovičs considers, “as playing coaches, judges of the chamber can contribute more than just the Senate where comparatively small number of cases is filed.”
Plenary Session of the Supreme Court gave positive evaluation of the work of the Chairman of the Chamber of Criminal Cases during the previous term, and the Chairman of the Department of Criminal Cases Pāvels Gruziņš nominated Ivars Bičkovičs for the next term in the position. P. Gruziņš notes that I. Bičkovičs is authority not only for judges of the Chamber of Criminal Cases, but also for judges of the courts of other levels and the senators, as well. This authority is based on good knowledge of law, experience in practical work and ability to organize the work in the court chamber. I. Bičkovičs himself also participates in hearings of separate criminal cases, he is competent in standards of substantive law and procedural law, knows how to apply them and convince of his opinion.
Judges of the Chamber of Criminal Cases Pēteris Opicāns and Leontīne Plūksna also proposed to support the nomination of Bičkovičs, noting managing experience, professionalism, working ability, human qualities and ability to unite the staff.
Beside the duties of a judge, I. Bičkovičs is a lecturer and conducts seminars in the Judicial Training Center, participates in the meetings of the Commission of Defense, interior affairs and corruption combating and the Legal Commission of the Saeima working out draft laws. I. Bičkovičs holds the position of the President of the Latvian Judicial Association, and a member of the judicial self-management institution – the Judicial qualification panel.
In a secret ballot, the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court elected repeatedly Ivars Bičkovičs the Chairman of the Chamber of Criminal Cases.
Under Article 44, part 2, of the Law on Judiciary, chairmen of the departments and the chambers of the Senate are elected by the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court. Article 44. part 3, states that the term of office of the chairmen of the departments and the chambers is five years.
Information prepared by Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
Author: Rasma Zvejniece, Manager of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
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