7 May 2021

The leadership of the Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Bulgaria referred to European institutions in connection with the unprecedented political pressure, aimed to close the specialized justice bodies

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The leadership of the Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Bulgaria (PORP) sent letters to the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Parliament, the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) notifying them about the unprecedented political pressure from parliamentary parties in the 45th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, concerning the proposed legislative amendments aimed to close the specialized justice bodies and in particular - the Specialized Prosecutor's Office and the Appellate Specialized Prosecutor's Office.

"Their adoption will block the fight against crime and the work of the independent judiciary, will affect the rights of many people and erase the progress made by the state under the EC Cooperation and Verification Mechanism and its contribution to the rule of law in the European Union," the letter reads.

PORB informed the European institutions in detail about its opinion on the four draft laws amending the Judiciary Act and the Penal Procedure Code (PPC), which was not even considered by the Committee on Legal Affairs of the National Assembly at a sitting on 28.04.2021. The Bulgarian legislative body has not taken action to discuss the sent in October 2020 expert proposal of the Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Bulgaria for amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code in accordance with the standards of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

By another letter sent to the President of the 45th National Assembly Iva Miteva and to the Chairperson of the Committee on Legal Affairs Radostin Vassilev, the leadership of the PORB informed them about the previously submitted opinion against the four bills submitted to the 45th National Assembly relating to the specialized justice bodies.

"The amendments provided for in the JSA and the PPC are neither legally substantiated nor in the interest of Bulgarian citizens. They do not take into account the inevitable negative consequences of the closure of the Specialised Court and Specialised Prosecutor's Office, "the letter reads.

The PORB points out that the consideration of proposals for legislative changes is carried out entirely in   contradiction with the regulatory requirements to the legislative process.  Тhere was an infringement of  Art. 18a of the Law on Normative Acts (LNA) and the principles of elaboration of drafts of normative acts under Art. 26of LNA, namely the principles of necessity, justification, predictability, openness, coherence, subsidiarity, proportionality and stability were not respected. It is being worked in conditions of inexplicable "suddenness", without due public consultation with citizens and legal entities, without any discussion with the professional guild and the scientific community.”

The opinion expressed in the letters to the European institutions and the Bulgarian Parliament represents the position of the entire professional community - such opinions have been adopted by prosecutors from all appellate districts, by the Association of Prosecutors in Bulgaria, the Chamber of Investigators in Bulgaria and the Prosecutors’ College of the Supreme Judicial Council. Council, emphasize the leadership of the Prosecution.