EC: Bulgaria Must Guarantee Legality of Wiretapping-ReportBulgaria in EU | February 16, 2011, Wednesday // 11:23| views
The EC headquarters in Brussels. File photo
Bulgaria's government must offer firm guarantees the use of special surveillance devices, SRS, would be legal and information from them would not be abused.
On the other hand-side, possibilities to confiscate someone's property and assets over anonymous signals, as provided in a new Bill, is alarming; key appointments in the judicial system have been carried out without enough transparency; police and Customs Agency reforms have been successful, according to the European Commission's interim report on Bulgaria, which is to be publically announced Friday.
The above information was published Wednesday in the Bulgarian daily Sega (Now), citing their own sources having access to the report's draft.
The report is said to be only 5-pages long and is an expert assessment of the so-called special mechanism for cooperation and control set to help Bulgaria deal with problems with organized crime, corruption and the judicial reform.
The inclusion of the SRS scandal, after the Bulgarian anti-government Galeria weekly distributed leaked recordings of discrediting conversatios, involving top political figures, including Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, shows the EC has suspicions of violations of human rights in Bulgaria, Sega writes.
The interim report does not list any particular cases.
For example, it reads that a "key appointment had been made in the judicial system without enough public information." The last such appointment was of Georgi Kolev as Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) – Kolev was the only nomination and received a large majority of votes at the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS). Kolev, as Chair of the Sofia City Court, is the judge who had issued the warrant for the wiretapping of the Director of the Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov. The leaked SRS from this wiretapping are at the bottom of the spying scandal, shaking Bulgaria since the beginning of the year.
The report points out the recent, almost simultaneous, guilty verdicts in two high-profile court trials. According to Sega, these are, most likely, the ones against the former Director of the National Revenue Agency, Maria Murgina, and the former Director of the now-closed Kremikovzi steel mill and former President of the CSKA Football Club, Alexander Tomov.
The report further notes there have been high-profile trials which have ended with not-guilty rulings, and the Prosecutors 'Office failed to file appeals on them.