Bulgarian Courts to Declassify Cases Using Data from Surveillance DevicesSociety | March 31, 2011, Thursday // 11:29| views
Hearings that include evidence acquired through special surveillance devices will not be held behind closed doors in Bulgarian courts, if amendments to the legislation are adopted at second reading. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency
Bulgarian courts will not be required to hear the criminal cases behind closed doors if they have used evidence acquired through special surveillance devices.
This amendment to the Classified Information Protection Act have been proposed by the Bulgarian rightist Blue Coalition and have been adopted at first reading in the parliament.
However, the new rules will be applied only to cases that do not include state secrets.
Under the current law, when criminal cases provide evidence acquired through special surveillance devices, the hearings are behind closed doors.
This practice, however, was negatively perceived by the society because it violates a fundamental principle of the criminal process such as publicity.
The MPs from the Blue Coalition, Yordan Bakalov and Veselin Metodiev, who proposed the amendments, have stated that the data acquired through special surveillance devices is just like any other evidence used in criminal proceedings and there is no need for it to be a secret.
Last year, judges in Sofia issued a joint statement saying that they will declassify hearings, which include data acquired through special surveillance devices, as long as they do not include classified information.
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