Venice Commission Insists on Limiting Authorities of Bulgaria’s Prosecutor General
Bulgaria’s ruling GERB party was called upon by the Venice Commission to remove the untouchability of the prosecutor general after its members carried out a quick review of the draft "new constitution" of the government. This is the fourth consecutive analysis of the Bulgarian law carried out by the authoritative international commission, which leads up to such a call.
"It would be a missed opportunity if the current constitutional reform did not address the issue" of removing the "prosecutor's monopoly" and the possibility of bringing the attorney general under criminal liability, the Venice Commission explains.
It seems completely impossible for the government to comply with the committee's conclusions because of the little time left until the elections and the traditional lack of political will to reform the prosecutor's office. BSP and DPS have already announced that they will not support the draft new constitution.
According to the experts in Strasbourg, the Bulgarian basic law must authorize the removal of the prosecutor general in case of a potential conflict of interest or suspicion of a crime.
The Venice Commission explicitly emphasizes that another prosecutor cannot investigate the prosecutor general. The public prosecution should be subject to a completely "independent investigative mechanism."
The Commission also insists that the powers of the public prosecutor's office outside the area of criminal law be reduced to the necessary minimum.
In is stand the institution insists that at least half of the seats in the future Judicial Council be held by judges chosen by their colleagues from all levels of the judiciary. Non-professional members of the Prosecutor's Council must not have current or future hierarchical links with the prosecutor general and represent other legal professions.
The Body of the Council of Europe wants the introduction of a mechanism to avoid the situation when the National Assembly cannot reach 2/3 votes for the election of non-professional council members.
In its stand, the Venice Commission regrets that the initiation of constitutional reform was not preceded by a broad public debate, and the draft was drawn up within the parliamentary majority without any external contribution. It is noted that the reasons for some constitutional amendments are not well explained.
"The Bulgarian authorities must clarify the reasons behind each proposal and ensure significant participation of the public, experts and all political forces in this process," the statement said.
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