Bulgaria’s Former King successfully sued the state for 1.6 Million EurosPolitics | May 2, 2023, Tuesday // 16:28| views
Bulgaria has been ordered to pay the record 1.6 million euro compensation to the former prime minister and leader of the NDSV party Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha because of the moratorium imposed years ago on the disposal and exploitation of his returned properties. The decision is of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The former monarch sued the state in Strasbourg back in September 2021, but the court gave 6 months for the government and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to come to an agreement on the compensation for material damages, which did not happen.
Simeon and his sister, Marie Louise Borisova Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, filed a case at the ECHR because of the 2009 moratorium, which prohibited them from disposing of their properties and lands returned to them after the fall of communism.
During the government of Ivan Kostov, the then Chief Prosecutor Ivan Tatarchev attacked the 1947 Confiscation Law before the Constitutional Court and the CC ruled it unconstitutional. Thus, based on the decision of the CC, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and his sister submitted requests for the restoration of their property and received it, until in December 2009 the parliament imposed a moratorium.
The state also filed lawsuits against Saxe-Coburg-Gotha for the return of the palaces "Vrana", "Tsarska Bistrica", "Sitnyakovo", "Sargyol" and for 16,500 decares of forests in Rila. The former monarch lost 3 of the four palaces, and the dispute over "Tsarska Bistrica" reached the Supreme Court of Cassation, which brought it back to the Constitutional Court.
Constitutional judges ruled that the Confiscation Act has been invalid since 1991 and its act declaring it unconstitutional only applies to the direct consequences, while all other courts rule "in accordance with the Constitution, the principles and rules of the relevant branch law". I.e. there is no need for a special law for the restitution of royal estates, but this never came to be.
In October 2020, the Supreme Court decided that "Tsarska Bistrica" belongs to Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and his sister, and recognized their ownership of the palace in Vrana, pending the case regarding the forests.
At the beginning of August 2021, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha announced in a special announcement that he has no claims for compensation for the non-use of his properties during the communist regime, because he is aware that they will be "paid by the Bulgarian people", who "have no fault" about what happened.
The ECHR accepted that the ban on any commercial exploitation of the royal forests violated the human rights convention. In addition, the right to a fair trial was violated, as the moratorium was not appealable. And the actions of the Bulgarian authorities have placed a disproportionate individual burden on King and his sister.
"It is scandalous that the state did not lift the moratorium even after the 2021 decision of the Strasbourg court, according to which it was contrary to the convention. If the state had not shown such illegal persistence, showing arrogance and disregard for the ECHR decision, this compensation would have been much less, at least because the violation would have been suspended," lawyer Mihail Ekimdzhiev, who represents Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and his sister before the ECHR, commented to "Lex".
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