Supreme Court Refuses Interpretative Ruling on Disclosure of Communist-Era State Security Agents

Domestic | March 10, 2015, Tuesday // 15:51|  views

Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) has refused to issue an interpretative ruling on whether the so-called Files’ Commission (examining the Communist era secret services' files – editor's note) is authorized to disclose collaborators of the communist-era State Security (DS) on the basis of “cards” only.

In 2013, the Constitutional Court (KS) upheld the legality of legal provision stating that DS agents could be disclosed only on the basis of the presence of their names on cards certifying their connection to the entity amid a lack of documents in the archives.

The Constitutional Court thereby revoked the claim of a three-judge panel of VAS to declare these provisions to unconstitutional.

The latest move of VAS is a major obstruction to the activity of the Files’ Commission that will be left to function in a situation of legal uncertainty, according to reports of

The problem surfaced after it turned out that VAS had changed its course on cases of that type.

After 93 cases in which VAS ruled that DS collaborators listed only on cards could be exposed as such, in 2 cases the court ruled that the disclosure of such people was unlawful.

This caused Bulgaria’s National Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev to ask VAS to issue an interpretative ruling on the matter, thereby putting an end to the contradictory practice of the court.

Penchev’s motion was submitted to VAS in March 2014 and one year later the court refused to issue an interpretative ruling.
The decision to overturn Penchev’s motion was not published on the website of VAS and the court provided no explanation for the failure to do so.

A total of 84 judges at VAS took part in the voting, with 41 votes for and 43 votes against, with a minimum of 45 votes in favor necessary for the approval of the motion.

What is left for the Files’ Commission to do is to keep disclosing the names of DS agents only on the basis of their presence on cards, thereby risking a penal ruling by VAS over the practice.

The problem can be solved through legal changes.

According to the Access to Information Program NGO, the divergence of VAS from its established practice in 93 cases over 7 years is unmotivated and it creates legal uncertainty and unpredictability.

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Tags: State Security, state security agents, state security files, DS, secret service, communist-era security service, Files Commission, Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, Konstantin Penchev, Ombudsman, Access to Information Program Foundation


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