Investigation of Bulgarian Ex President Pardons Ruled Unconstitutional

Domestic | April 11, 2012, Wednesday // 18:38|  views

The former Bulgarian presidential tandem Georgi Parvanov (L) and Angel Marin (R) at a press conference in February after the end of their second term. BGNES

Bulgaria's Constitutional Court has issued a decision declaring unconstitutional a parliamentary enquiry into the pardons of felons granted by former Vice President Angel Marin during the two terms of President Georgi Parvanov (2002-2012).

The decision, announced Wednesday, states that according to the Bulgarian Constitution the right to pardon is a discretion of Bulgaria's President and is not liable to censure from other institutions.

In particular, the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional the creation of an ad hoc committee that the Bulgarian Parliament formed in mid-February to investigate the nature and procedures of granting pardons used by Marin.

Soon after the presidential tandem of Georgi Parvanov and Angel Marin quit office end of January, a controversial scandal broke out due to what some alleged was the excessive amount of pardons granted by Marin, predominantly to people convicted of grave felonies.

During his two 5-year terms in office (2002-12), Parvanov had transferred his right to pardon to Marin, a procedure allowed by the Bulgarian Constitution, and also used by Parvanov's predecessors Petar Stoyanov and Zhelyu Zhelev.

According to the Constitutional Court's Wednesday decision, "granting pardon in Bulgaria is not legally bound by any specific grounds that the President can or must have for this act, and can be exercized by the President in every case in which he decides to show grant to a convicted person."

In addition, the Court specifies that there the Bulgarian Constitution and legislation mandate no crimes that cannot be pardon, nor do constrain the President to follow a specific procedure when granting pardons, nor require that he make public his reasons for pardoning criminals.

In particular, the Constitutional Court also explains that the president or VP is amenable to no other state institution for his or her decision, save to the Constitutional Court itself, in view of the constitutionality of the action.

The Court however states that there are no constitutional impediments for future legislation to mandate specific procedures to be followed by the president when granting pardons.

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Tags: VP, president, Angel Marin, Georgi Parvanov, pardons, pardon, Constitutional Court, Bulgarian Constitution, Bulgarian Parliament, Zhelyu Zhelev, Petar Stoyanov


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