Council of Europe anti-torture Committee Head Condemns Bulgaria’s Failure to Report Police Brutality Cases
Mykola Gnatovskyy, President of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), has argued that police brutality constitutes a systemic problem in Bulgaria.
In an interview for mediapool.bg, he claims that Bulgaria fails to make progress in the sphere, despite the recommendations from the CPT and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Gnatovskyy, who was in Bulgaria on July 9-10 for a two-day roundtable discussion organized by the Council of Europe, said that the CPT had been unable to obtain information or statistics related to the work of the specialized unit of the prosecuting authority established in 2013 to handle police brutality cases.
He made clear that the CPT had not been provided with information about the number of cases processed by the special unit, stressing that Bulgaria was a huge exception against the backdrop of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe in this respect.
Gnatovskyy declared that the CPT assumed that there was nothing much to report about the operations of the entity, meaning that it was falling short of the task of conducting efficient investigations in its capacity of an independent body.
He underscored the importance of ensuring an independent body that would be capable of conducting investigations without depending on the police, adding that it could be achieved with the help of the prosecutor’s office or some other authority.
Experts of the CPT have visited Bulgaria over 10 times in the past 20 years.
In March 2015 the CPT issued a statement condemning the failure of the Bulgarian authorities to take steps in connection with the recommendations contained in the reports after the visits of the CPT.
Gnatovskyy underscored that Bulgaria had taken no meaningful steps to implement the numerous recommendations of the CPT, causing it to resort to extraordinary measures and make a public statement on police brutality and the deteriorating conditions in Bulgarian prisons.
Stressing Bulgaria’s unsatisfactory performance in the sphere, he explained that the CPT had had no choice but to resort to the procedure stipulated in Article 10, paragraph 2 of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
He said that the official statement on Bulgaria had been issued in March 2015, adding that it had been the seventh of its kind in the 25-year history of the CPT.
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