Bulgarian President Appeals Amendments to CPC and the Figure of "Special Prosecutor" to the Constitutional Court
Just a day after the State Gazette published a Law supplementing the Criminal Procedure Code, which created a figure of a special prosecutor entitled to investigate the Prosecutor General or his deputy, President Rumen Radev referred the matter to the Constitutional Court asking for basic texts of the law to be declared unconstitutional, the press secretary of the head of state announced.
The president presented his motives for the unconstitutionality of the controversial provisions, as the same arguments were also put forward by him on February 10 this year, when he vetoed the CPC Supplemental Bill.
Despite the negative opinions of the Supreme Judicial Council, the prosecutor's office, experts and lawyers in both Bulgaria and European institutions, as well as the veto of President Rumen Radev, the majority MPs in parliament voted and re-adopted the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code.
During the referral to the Constitutional Court, the head of state Rumen Radev identified several main problems, which he sees in the changes in the Criminal Procedure Code.
In his statement to the Constitutional Court, the head of state called the new figure of a prosecutor a "special prosecutor". He points out that the texts do not indicate his exact place in the prosecution system.
"It is worth noting that he is explicitly placed outside the hierarchical system of leadership and control established in the prosecutor's office," the president said.
In the opinion of the President, the creation of the figure of a special prosecutor for the investigation against the Prosecutor General or his deputy and the transfer of jurisdiction in these cases entirely to the Specialized Criminal Court undermine fundamental constitutional values such as the independence of prosecutors within the judiciary, equality of citizens before the law and the ban of extraordinary courts.
According to the president, there is a violation of the principle of independence of the judiciary. "A long-standing understanding in European legal doctrine is that the independence of prosecutors is different in scope and content from the independence of judges. The independence of prosecutors is expressed in decision-making autonomy - they must be able to make their decisions without them.
The autonomy of the prosecutors is guaranteed in a certain order even in countries where the prosecution is part of or subordinate to the executive authority, which applies to ordinary prosecutors, but is even more so to the chief prosecutor and his deputies, " the president argued.
The Head of State also sees a violation of the principle of equality of citizens before the law and non-admission of privileges based on personal or social status (Article 6, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria).
According to the President's reasons, the legislator introduced significant differences with regard to the Prosecutor General and his deputies compared to the established procedure for investigating crimes committed by all other citizens. This, on the one hand, is disproportionate to the goal pursued by the legislator, and on the other hand - an unjustified deviation from the principle of equality of citizens before the law is allowed.
"It is not fair for the legislator to introduce such significant differences in the legal status of victims of crime just in view of the fact that the investigation is conducted by a certain entity and the perpetrator holds a certain position," the president stressed.
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