Council of Europe expects Urgent Reduction in the Influence of the Bulgarian Prosec. Gen. on the SJC
Urgent measures are needed to reduce the Prosecutor General's influence on the next Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) in Bulgaria. This is stated in the assessment of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on our implementation of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The ministers discussed the implementation of the decisions in the group of cases S.Z. and Kolevi v. Bulgaria. These cases mainly concern the persistent problem of ineffective investigations into murders, violence and rape, and the lack of independence in criminal investigations involving the Prosecutor General, the ministers' assessment said. The Committee welcomes the readiness of the Bulgarian authorities to work with the Council of Europe on changes in criminal justice by the end of next year.
The Committee reiterates its call on the Bulgarian authorities to introduce judicial oversight of prosecutors' refusals to initiate pre-trial proceedings. The Bulgarian authorities are expected to provide timely data on the results of discussions on other measures to improve the effectiveness of investigations, paying particular attention to investigations into rape or sexual abuse of children.
On the issue of investigations against the Prosecutor General and his deputies, the Committee notes that recent proposals, although positive, have not been developed in detail and cannot be fully assessed. According to the ministers, the proposals for legal amendments do not fully meet the recommendations related to the possibility of suspension of the Prosecutor General and independent investigation against him. These proposals can only be considered as an interim solution, the assessment adds.
The Committee reiterated its call on the authorities to adopt legislative or constitutional amendments in order to fully meet the expectations of the participants in the investigation against the Prosecutor General. It is expected that the authorities in our country will urgently adopt measures to reduce the influence of the Prosecutor General on the new SJC and the Prosecutorial College, which will be elected next year to allow the introduction of an effective procedure for temporary suspension of the Prosecutor General and reduction of the the "freezing effect" that his influence may have on those charged with his investigation.
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