US Ambassador Reiterates Flaws of Bulgaria's Judiciary

Diplomacy | October 11, 2011, Tuesday // 12:35|  views

US Ambassador to Bulgaria, James Warlick, calls on the Bulgarian Parliament to pass the Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Assets Act. Photo by BGNES

The case in the Bulgarian village of Katunitsa is a demonstration that Bulgaria's justice system must become more effective, according to US Ambassador in Sofia, James Warlick.

Warlick spoke Tuesday in an interview for the TV channel bTV.

The diplomat reiterated the need for Bulgaria to have a law for the confiscation of illegally acquired assets, pointing out once again the example of the US where in order to have such confiscation there is no need of an effective court verdict, just reasonable doubt the wealth of a certain individual has been amassed through illegal means. He explained that Israel, the UK, and many other European countries have such legislation in place and voiced hope it would be passed in Bulgaria's Parliament.

According to the Ambassador, Bulgaria has been, throughout history, a symbol of ethnic and religious tolerance thus the incident in Katunitsa was not ethnically motivated but rather a matter of the rule of law.

"What angered Bulgarians, I think, is the fact that Roma boss, Kiril Rashkov, and his clan lived above the law for years. This, however, is not at all an excuse for anyone to take justice in their own hands," Warlick said.

When asked what is being said during his meetings with the candidates for president and vice-president from different Bulgarian political parties in the last days, the diplomat explained these meetings gave him the opportunity to hear their ideas first hand. He also stressed that discussions about relations between Bulgaria and the US have been part of all talks and all candidates have stated willingness to continue supporting and strengthening partnership between the two countries.

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Tags: US Ambassador, James Warlick, parliament, confiscation of illegally acquired assets, Katunitsa, rule of law, candidates, president, Vice-President


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