Constitutional Court will Initiate a Case in Relation to the Istanbul Convention
The Constitutional Court announced on 20th of March that it decided unanimously to initiate a case for considering whether the Istanbul Convention is in line with the Basic Law of the Republic of Bulgaria, Bulgarian National Radio reported.
At the beginning of February, GERB, the majority partner in the ruling coalition filed a petition to the Constitutional Court to seek a ruling on whether the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (known as the Istanbul Convention) is consistent with the Constitution or not. The petition was signed by 75 MPs and was accompanied by the positive and negative opinions received in Parliament on the document.
The court appointed judge Anastas Anastassov as the rapporteur on the case,
Constitutional judges have obliged the Council of Ministers to provide them with the Cabinet's decision to withdraw the draft for the ratification of the Convention as well as the translation of the document available to ministers.
After receiving the views of state institutions, representatives of the judiciary, university lecturers, and non-governmental organizations, the constitutional judges will then judge whether the document is in conformity with the Constitution or not. The ruling may be ready before the start of the summer vacation.
Because of the clash of polarised opinions on the document, including among mebers of the ruling coalition, GERB considered that only the Constitutional Court could give the most objective ruling on whetehr the convention is in conflict with the Basic Law. Together with the petition, the MPs also attached the file on the ratification and eight reports, written during the past four years, including analysis and assessment of the possibilities for the application of the Convention in the Bulgarian law.
Meanwhile, however, the Council of Ministers withdrew the draft for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention to give way to a calm public discussion. It is this move that puts the Constitutional Court in a delicate situation to consider whether this withdrawal may be a reason not to initiate a case or not.
Lawyers believe that while ratification is temporarily postponed, Bulgaria's signature under the Convention remains.
Source: The Bulgarian National Television
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