Council of Europe Rights Body Approves Bulgarian Confiscation Reform

Domestic | October 16, 2010, Saturday // 14:08|  views

The European Commission for Democracy through Law, aka the Venice Commission, has stated its approval on leglisative drafts in Bulgaria to make easier the seizure of property that is suspected to come from criminal activities. 

This information was announced Saturday by Bulgarian Minister of Justice Margarita Popova to Darik Radio.

The Ministry of Justice has opted to consult the Council of Europe advisory body over the proposal for legislative amendment in order to ensure that it will not be seen as breaching fundamental human rights of suspects.

If the proposals are passed by Parliament, they will allow Bulgarian courts to confiscate property solely based on charges and before an actual verdict is passed.

The other major reform for which the Ministry of Justice has consulted the Venice Commission is the creation of so-called "specialized courts" or "mafia tribunals" to hear high-profile organized crime and corruption cases under special procedures. This has also raised controversy regarding potential breaches of fundamental rights.

Saturday Venice Commission secretary Thomas Markert said to Darik Radio that the plans of the Body are to come up with a position on the new courts by December, stating that it needs more time to consider this complicated issue.

Markert confirmed that the Commission has approved proposed amendments to the the so-called "Law on seizing inexplicable property," saying it had all safeguards needed to protect rights.

The opinions of the Venice Commission are consultative and non-binding.

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Tags: confiscate, specialized courts, Ministry of Justice, Margarita Popova, Venice, Council of Europe, human rights, organized crime, corruption


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